Q. I am a first time buyer and have been searching for a property for a while now. It seems that everything that hits the market sells before I have an opportunity to view. Have you any suggestions to help prevent me from losing out to other buyers each time.

A. The mere fact that you are a first time buyer obviously counts enormously in your favour. However, as you so rightly point out the market is extremely buoyant at the moment and every second counts. My first piece of advice is to speak to your financial advisor and arrange for them to provide you with an agreement in principle (often referred to as an AIP) from the lender, this will qualify you as a buyer having confirmed that you have your finances in place. My second call would be to visit all your local Estate Agents in person. The benefit of doing so will mean that the agent is able to put a face to the name, this will obviously assist you in establishing a relationship on a one to one basis with a particular member of staff within the branch. The next valuable step is to keep in regular contact with your agents, remember, they have something that you want. Making regular calls to your agent will establish how keen you are to purchase. From an Estate Agents prospective a keen proactive first time buyer with their finances in place would without hesitation go to the top of the pile.