<strong>Camilla Dell<br />MANAGING PARTNER AT BLACK BRICK</strong><br /><br /><strong>Q. Dear Camilla, I am looking to buy a property in London but every time I find something I like, it goes under offer and I don&rsquo;t have the chance to buy it or I&rsquo;m asked to participate in a sealed bid. What are your tips for succeeding?<br /><br />A. </strong>With a sealed bid you only get one chance of securing of the property so it is all about putting your best offer forward as you won&rsquo;t get another opportunity. Don&rsquo;t get too scientific about the value of the house, as it is simply not worth it. If you have decided that the property is definitely for you then put forward the maximum that you would be prepared to pay for it.<br /><br />When preparing for the sealed bid, try to find out from the estate agent how many people are participating and what type of buyers they are. This should allow you to gauge how much to bid &ndash; for example, developers tend to offer slightly less because they are more concerned about their profit margins and will also typically be considering several properties at a time.<br /><br />You should also put the offer forward in writing and get your solicitor to do this on your behalf. Your offer will come across as much more professional and serious if you are using a solicitor for the bid and it shows that you are ready to buy and have already thought about who will be acting for you during the purchase.<br /><br />The solicitor can also confirm in the letter how proceedable you are as a buyer &ndash; ie, whether you are a cash buyer. If you are a cash buyer then you may stand a chance of winning even if you haven&rsquo;t offered the highest amount. If you are needing a mortgage then you will fare better if you have this already agreed in principle. Your letter should state who your lender is and ideally include a copy of your mortgage confirmation.<br /><br />The seller will certainly look at the bid itself, but the quality of buyer is equally important so the more you can do to present yourself as a serious buyer the better.<br /><br /><strong>Q. Dear Camilla, I&rsquo;m thinking about selling my house at the moment and I am reading that the market is starting to pick up. Should I wait until prices have risen before going ahead?<br /><br />A. </strong>Property prices have risen nearly 7 per cent over the last few months but what is underpinning these rises at the moment is a lack of property coming on to the market. Therefore, I think you stand a much better chance of getting a buyer in the market, rather than waiting until when lots of other sellers will also be putting their properties on the market.<br /><br />It is a good time to sell at the moment &ndash; buyer interest is picking up, especially in the &pound;500,000-&pound;1.5m price range for prime central London properties and you won&rsquo;t risk a flood of properties hitting the market forcing prices back down.<br /><br />But price your property realistically. Many people see prices going so up so they are tempted to raise asking the price. Buyers are still wary and may completely discount overpriced properties. As a buying agent, we do this because we simply don&rsquo;t think that the person selling is serious. But if you put your property on the market at a reasonable price then you may actually attract multiple buyers, create interest in the market and could even sell for more than the asking price.<br /><br />Camilla Dell is the managing partner at search and acquisition consultancy Black Brick. www.black-brick.com.