Q.  I am a first time buyer and have found the perfect property and have just made an opening offer. However the agent has informed me that they received another offer this morning from another buyer which is slightly higher than mine. Given there are now two buyers in the same situation they have decided to have sealed bids, so best and final offer by 9am tomorrow morning. I am now feeling extremely nervous for a few reasons, firstly because I really don’t want to lose this property, but secondly because I don’t have much more available than the asking price and even if I did is the property worth much more than the asking price, I really don’t want to make a bad decision given my limited knowledge, can you help?

A.  Finding yourself in a sealed bids scenario can be very stressful indeed, particularly for a first time buyer with limited experience of the property market. My biggest advice is to sit down and decide how much this property means to you. How would you feel if you lost the bid and they ran with the other buyer? That will establish whether or not it’s worth pushing yourself to the absolute maximum in order to secure the property. If that is the case then look very carefully at your finances, have you set some funds aside to furnish or redecorate even refurbish the property? Could this money be used to up your offer and ultimately secure the home you have searched for? Next do your homework, the history of the entire life of the property is freely available on line so you can see all sales over the years which will enable you to extract the capital growth of the property. If you can see that year on year the growth continues then it won’t be a bad move to pay a little over the odds to secure it given it will be your home and you are likely to stay there for some time. Next consider what your offer might be, if you want to secure it I would definitely pay more than the asking price so go as high within reason as your circumstances will allow and when you make the offer use an odd number, this sounds odd but trust me you may find that offering £427,501 just pips the other buyer to the post if they were thinking of placing a similar offer. Be smart; along with your offer send over proof of deposit, solicitor’s details together with a contact for your financial advisor that is arranging the mortgage. All those things will prove that you mean business and ultimately could put you in a more favourable light if it comes down to the wire.