7 top tips for buying your dream Devon home

A lit up modern house overlooking the estuary in Salcombe, Devon.

You can make buying your dream Devon home so much easier by following the advice of experts. - Credit: Harrison Sutton Marketing

JENNIE PETERSSON, regional partner at Garrington Property Finders, discusses the challenges buyers of property in Devon are facing and how to tackle them successfully.

Whilst there has been much talk in the Devon property market about the shortage of homes for sale, most buyers who are in the process of buying or have recently bought have realised that this this is only half the battle.  

The competitiveness of the market, pressures on service providers who support the industry and rising house prices means the buying process is currently far from plain sailing and often, even more precarious after a property has been found.  

A sold sign outside a home.

The property market in Devon is hotting up, with many homes sold quickly. - Credit: Getty Images

Across all of Devon, there are many tales of disappointed buyers, failed transactions and in some cases properties returning to the market due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’. 

It is very exciting to find the perfect home but sadly, finding a property is just the first step; between successfully securing the property and move in day there are a number of challenges that might arise.  

Here I offer my 7 top tips to help you buy your dream home in Devon: 

How to win ‘best and final’ bids 

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Also known as sealed bids, the competitiveness of the local market means that many selling agents are increasingly relying on this method to identify the successful purchaser. Often set against a tight deadline, ‘best and final’ bids can feel very pressurised and difficult to judge.  

1) Over the many years acting on buyers’ behalf, I have seen many scenarios where the successful offer is not the highest bidder. Agents and vendors will consider the whole picture of a buyer’s position including their ability to proceed, plans for financing, timescales and sometimes, personal circumstances that make them generally more appealing as a buyer. The art here is to understand what the seller is trying to achieve and presenting yourself in the best position to match that ideal.  

2) Being told that a property is going to ‘best and final’ offers shouldn’t really come as a surprise to buyers who are currently actively looking in Devon – if a property looks special then the chances are in this market it will go this way and so, the time to start researching and planning an offer may well even be before viewing.  

 Can you avoid being gazumped? 

3) Gazumping remains a real fear for many buyers, but the risk can be mitigated by booking a survey quickly after having an offer accepted, showing commitment and asking to have the property removed from the open market.  

4) Gazumping can take place at any time; a key part of my role as a buying agent is to keep communication channels open and I’d encourage buyers purchasing in this busy market to be similarly on top of things - it is not the time to relax once your offer is accepted.  

5) Having excellent communication between all parties throughout the diligence and conveyancing process ensures both sides are reassured that the transaction is progressing as agreed. 

Financial advisor explaining paperwork to a couple.

Surround yourself with the right advisors in order to make your property purchase as stress-free as possible. - Credit: Getty Images

 The right team makes all the difference 

6) Before making an offer, the most successful buyers surround themselves with the best support team possible. Engage an excellent solicitor, recommended by someone who knows the local area and who is ready to act; similarly have a surveyor lined up.  

7) If required, work with an experienced mortgage advisor to obtain a ‘decision in principle’ or have proof of funds from your bank, ensuring that both are aware you’re looking for a property and are ready to speak to a selling agent to confirm your position as and when it is needed. In pressurised scenarios, these factors can make the crucial difference between being successful or not. 

All said, it does remain possible to successfully find and purchase your ideal home in Devon, with perseverance and determination, and sometimes a guiding hand.