If you’ve got your heart set on a new property in a fast-moving location, you may find that you face some stiff competition. This is true whether you’re looking in London’s commuter belt or the palm tree-lined boulevards of Torrevieja.

However, there are some tips that can help you when it comes to buying a house you’ve been dreaming of. Often, it just comes down to being smart about it.

Talk to estate agents

Build a good rapport with your local estate agents. Make sure they know who you are and that you’re ready to go ahead with the best new properties that they’re instructed to sell. Be friendly, accommodating and patient in order to win their favour.

If you can help to make the process easier for them, they will thank you. They’ll also be more likely to let you know when the best houses are put on the market. That means you should have all of your information ready to be handed over if they request it. Make sure they know everything you’ve already organised, including a mortgage in principle.

Be proactive

When you want to secure your dream home, you’ll need to be proactive. It’s important to know exactly what you can afford and what state your finances are in. It may be worth chatting to a mortgage or financial adviser early on in the process to see where you stand and what you may need to do.

You can also set out a timeline for your move. Decide when you’d like to be in your new home and work to that schedule. But be prepared for all eventualities – particularly if you find yourself in a chain.

Be chain-free… ideally

The most attractive buyers are always the ones without a chain. If you can stay chain-free, you’ll be in the best position when it comes to putting in an offer on the house or apartment you want. This makes first-time buyers and those living in rented accommodation among the best.

So if it’s possible, you should consider selling your home and moving into a rented property. This allows you to stay chain-free when buying. It also means that when you sell your own home, you’ll be chain-free, making that process easier too.

Instruct the best conveyancing solicitors

It’s important to appoint the right conveyancing solicitors. Qualified and experienced lawyers will be able to make the whole process flow smoothly. Without the right solicitor, the conveyancing process can be extremely drawn out and stressful.

Among your solicitor’s duties are agreeing contracts with the other party’s lawyers, conducting and analysing any required searches, as well as arranging completion dates with other solicitors if you’re in a chain. They also carry out the process of exchanging contracts and transferring deposits and balances.

Buying a house – or selling one – isn’t something you can do without a solicitor so it’s important to take on the services of a good one. The more specialist help you can rely on during the process, the more likely you are to secure that dream home.