Q. We have just made a formal offer on an apartment we viewed over the weekend but have been told by our estate agent that they have had two other offers come forward both from chain free buyers like ourselves and that the vendors have decided they would like to go to sealed bids. Being a first time buyer I do not understand this process and wonder how much chance I have if any, of actually being able to secure this property, can you explain?

A. Sealed bids are a regular occurrence in a steamy market such as the one we are currently seeing. The lack of good stock almost always drives several buyers to offer on quality sought after property. In this situation if the buyers are all of equal standing for example, chain free, with their finances arranged and an asking price bid on the table the agent would usually advise their Vendor to proceed with sealed bids, that way the agent will achieve the best possible sale price for their client. Sealed bids are usually submitted in writing by all interested parties by a given date and time set by the Vendor. The highest bid will secure the property. As a general rule, I would advise offering what you are comfortable with, bearing in mind these bids are almost always over the asking price, and submit an uneven figure not a rounded up one.