Showing your best poker face
Ignore any frenzy among potential bidders, keep your cool as you propose figures
Karen Mulvaney: “Bid low and keep bidding.” Photograph: Bryan Meade
It’s a simple equation: an increase in mortgage approvals plus a shortage of properties equals a competitive first-time buyer market. “A lot of people were waiting for the golden moment and saw it together,” says Karl Deeter from Irish Mortgage Brokers. “You hear from first-time buyers that by the time they are viewing there are already three offers, particularly in south Dublin but also in the city centre and parts of north Dublin.”
In the capital at least, crowded viewings, multiple bidders and rising prices are resurrecting fears of being excluded from the housing ladder. “A huge number of first-time buyers are being outbid and are panicking,” says Karen Mulvaney, managing director of The Buyer’s Agent. “You need to take the emotion away from it and be practical.”
Buyers are selected on more factors than price alone and Mulvaney suggests asking questions about the vendor: where they are going, if they have already bought, whether they are looking for a quick sale. The more you know about their circumstances, the better you can position yourself as the ideal buyer.
Another plus is to have proof of financing before you make your offer, although make sure you don’t reveal your figures. Either black out the numbers before showing your mortgage approval or ask your solicitor to confirm that you have adequate funds without going into detail.
Once you know where you stand and you’ve seen a property you like, Mulvaney recommends bidding quickly. “The only result of delaying an offer is that it will cost you more money. Bid low and keep bidding.”
Estate agent psychology
Deeter agrees. “Don’t be too cautious or the play on the ground will pass you by. Competition can work against you; you can be up against motivated people who are emotionally involved.” However, he warns against contributing to a bidding frenzy. “Never make an offer while you’re at the property; it screams desperation. It feeds in to the psychology that estate agents love of everyone going bananas.”
Other tips include showing your commitment by following up with the estate agent and lining up a solicitor and surveyor so that you’re prepared to close. Finally, knowledge is power.
“Know the location, know what’s coming up, know your agents, and know previous sales prices,” says Mulvaney. While it can be tempting to overbid, thorough research will help you decide whether a property is really worth it.