How to avoid First Time Buyer Traps set by estate agents

The most dangerous aspect of being an unitiated first time buyer is how easily we can be exploited.

First-time buyers are cannon-fodder for feckless estate agents, mortgage brokers and conveyancing call centres.

You think you’ve done your research, but it’s all a carefully-laid trap that only the wisest avoid.

It’s a time-consuming process to avoid these traps, BUT it’s far less time consuming or expensive than falling into them.

Typical (insufficient) First Time Buyer “Preparation”:

– Watch property websites for months
– Read all the media about the housing market
– Reading up on confusing “advice”
– Ask your mate who’s an agent
– First (fatal) Step: Contacting an estate agent about a property you’ve seen online, with an 85% chance (trust me, bro) that it’s with an exploitative agent.

Result: You have been successfully sucked into the referral funnel of a machine that will sign you up to the worst value financial products and pay no attention to what you actually want.

How to avoid the trap and maintain control

What First Time Buyers SHOULD do to, in this order, to maintain control over your buying journey:

1. Establish your financial situation (budget) with an independent, whole of market, mortgage broker, before you start viewing properties.

2. Obtain a Mortgage “Decision in principle” for two reasons: It demonstrates you are better prepared and more serious than other buyers AND it defends you against attempts to sign you up to in-house mortgage brokers that you didn’t choose (and should not necessarily trust).

3. Take your time to select a conveyancing firm (this is not easy). Don’t do it online, call them. Choose local independent firms, but avoid sleepy ones who don’t answer the phone first time or don’t call you back. Never choose them based on fee. Once you have selected a firm you trust, have them “ready to go” so you can tell agents you already have a conveyancer selected.

4. You are now a “highly proceedable buyer” and ready to start viewing homes. This puts you in the top 10% of buyer enquiries, more likely to be offered viewings, more likely to have offers taken more seriously, and less likely to be sucked into someone else’s sales pipeline.

5. When you initially contact an agent to view a property, avoid doing it through the big websites, as you are 40% less likely to get a response than if you contact the agents directly, by email or phone. When you do contact them, include the fact that you have your Mortgage in Principle, Conveyancer selected and are ready to make offers on any suitable homes.

6. Making offers: Try not to give yourself away at the viewing, agents know the signs. Never make an offer on the same day as a viewing. Disregard any sales pressure. Sleep on it. If you wake up unable to think about anything else but that home, and you want to offer, make it by email, (NOT phone or in person). If the agent calls you before you’ve offered (good ones will) tell them you will be emailing your offer. Do NOT get into price discussions with them.

7. Make your offer by email, include your proof of deposit, mortgage in principle, conveyancers details AND the fact that you will purchase the “Property Search Pack” (required by all lenders) immediately if your offer is accepted. Be prepared to wait 7 days for a response, don’t chase before then. Don’t overextend yourself, and don’t be disappointed if it’s rejected. You may have to offer 10 times before you get one accepted.

These guys can help

I always recommend choosing your own independent mortgage broker and conveyancer locally, using recommendations from friends or family, but only choosing because YOU trust the provider, not just because someone else does.

If you can’t find ones you trust (or don’t have the time) below are the guys I have hand picked below because their customer service levels are excellent, and they are people I trust.

Good luck!

Talk to my hand-picked mortgage partners here:

Talk to my conveyancing partners here:

Order your Property Search Pack here:

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