You’ve found the perfect property and it’s ticked all the boxes – apart from the price. Haggling is a special skill – from a bystander’s point of view it looks so easy: offer, counteroffer, shake hands. It’s not usually this simple but it is a skill that’s quick to pick up when you have confidence and market knowledge on your side. There are several things you should know before you begin a price negotiation, and we’re going to go through them.
Study the local market
This doesn’t mean you have to have put your ear to the ground for months to pick up the slightest shift in prices and trends in the property market, but it is important to know if the seller is going above the market value for his property. Think about the additions to property – does it have a garden, driveway, is it close to amenities, in a quiet cul-de-sac? What’s the demand like in the area? These things make a difference on the market value, but also your value of the property. Know how much ‘the market’ would pay for the house compared to how much the seller is offering.
Play it cool
Once you’ve found a house that you like, keep that information strictly on lock-down. Talk to the seller, ask them questions, especially why they’re selling – they might be desperate to close a deal, leaving you in an advantage negotiating position. By not disclosing that you’re ready to get your wallet out, you can ask for a better price. If the seller knows you’re eager, they may be less easily swayed to change their final figure.
Know your limit
This comes in tandem with not getting overly excited in front of the buyer – when you do end up speaking to an estate agent about the price, know how far you are willing to go. How much is your ‘wiggle room’ worth? Can you go a few thousand pounds beyond what you’re already asking for? It’s easy to see a few grand as small money when the house is worth hundreds of thousands, but it’s not worth getting into financial ruin over a house however incredible it might be; the seller might have other interested parties willing to pay more. Know your budget and stick to it.
Take a chance, don’t be afraid
If you’re working with an estate agent, talk to them about the kinds of offers you want to make. If you’re talking to the seller’s estate agent directly, don’t be afraid to go in for a cheeky lower offer. But going in too low may annoy the seller – so come to a reliable figure in your head and decide how much you can reasonably decrease this by in order to make an offer. If your offer isn’t accepted, ask the agent what the vendor may consider. The worst that can happen is them saying ‘no’.