THIS August there has been a great deal of huffing and puffing going on in East London. We have seen running and jumping, throwing, swimming, rowing, diving, sailing, tennis and cycling - plus much more besides.

But for some, there will be another demanding prize to compete for this summer – a new home. Competitors won’t be representing their country but they may well be representing their families.

Like top-flight sport, house buying takes a great deal of preparation. It is not an easy undertaking. It takes the long distance stamina of a Mo Farah and sometimes the sprint speed of a Usain Bolt. It takes the versatility of a Jessica Ennis, the grit of a Bradley Wiggins, the tactics of a Ben Ainsley and the will to succeed of an Andy Murray.

Buying a home may not require us to get up at 4am on cold winter mornings, but it does need a certain amount of dedication, planning and some sacrifices.

Buying the perfect house is a great personal achievement, but then again buying any house is a great personal achievement, no matter how large or small that house may be. Every home buyer is a gold medal winner in their own way - there really are no silver or bronze medals in this competition.

But like so many other sports, there will be some serious competition before we can get to finally stand on the podium. Our neighbours’ equally impressive houses for sale will be competing with our own, for the attention of buyers. And when we finally do find a house that is worth buying, we may well find there are other competing buyers who have their own eyes firmly fixed on winning the same prize.

There’s a saying in sport that it’s the taking part that really counts. That may be true, but it’s of scant consolation when you’ve done everything you can to secure that dream house, only to be pipped at the post by a buyer who was in a better position than you, or whose offer had the edge on yours financially.

That’s why, for those who are really serious about moving this year, you have to be genuinely and completely committed, if you want to be there at the finishing line.

This means getting your own house sold in good time for a decent price, but not holding out for a figure that may never happen. It then means offering a fair price for the house you want to buy, because the most important thing is to actually secure that property. If it costs you an extra two or three thousand pounds to secure the best house that you have so far seen, is that really the end of the world? Losing that house will hurt you far more, I guarantee.

As you turn the key in the door of your new home for the first time, you may not hear the playing of the national anthem or see the raising of the Union Flag, but like all of our medal-winning athletes, you’ll know that you have achieved something just a little bit special.

Good luck this summer.

DAVID JONES, director, Allan, Morris & Jones, Kidderminster