<strong>Russell Hunt</strong><br />DIRECTOR OF PROPERTY HUNT<br /><br /><strong>Q.Dear Russell, There&rsquo;s not a lot on the market and I keep losing out. With Christmas coming up, I&rsquo;m really tempted to put my search on hold until January.</strong><br /><br />A.People are always asking about how best to succeed when there&rsquo;s a lack of stock on the market and I would urge people not to give up just because the Christmas season is around the corner. In fact, the competition is likely to thin out over the next six weeks because people will start focusing on other things. This will put you at an advantage and you are less likely to keep losing out when you find properties that you like. <br /><br />So do keep pestering estate agents and if there&rsquo;s a property that has been sitting on the market a while, which you have had your eye on, put in a lower offer and see what happens. The seller might well be relieved to get on with the sale ahead of the Christmas &ndash; a lot of people don&rsquo;t want the stress of selling (or not selling) over Christmas. They may be prepared to go for the lower offer just to have that peace of mind that a sale has been agreed.<br /><br />But once you have put in an offer, you must get the ball rolling as soon as possible. Once people start winding down for the holidays you will find it much more difficult to get your mortgage agreed and your solicitor engaged, if you haven&rsquo;t already done this. <br /><br />Russell Hunt is managing director of Property Hunt, a search agent for London and the Home Counties. <br />www.property-hunt.co.uk