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Make Them an Offer They Can’t Refuse

by Sarah Halloran

If you’ve found the house of your dreams and you’re sure you can afford the repayments on it, it’s time for some serious negotiation.  It can be very tempting to offer the full asking price, especially if you’re up against other buyers.  However, stepping back and looking at the bigger picture is always a good idea when making a purchasing decision of this magnitude.  Remember, you’re going to be saddled with a mortgage for, in most cases, at least 25 years.  Carrying out research, analysing the competition, and considering ways to go in with a lower offer will help to reduce payments and could secure more equity in the future.

Engaging in some polite information-gathering with the vendor and carefully inspecting the property for any flaws might help to reduce the asking price in your favour.  Your own situation is also a major factor and many vendors will be happier to accept a lower offer from a first time buyer than the asking price from somebody in a long chain.

There really is nothing sneaky in asking a few pertinent questions when you go to view a house.  You might find out that the vendor wants to move quickly or that they have been let down in the past by another potential buyer.  These key facts could assist you in making an offer and having it accepted.  It’s all about seeing how the land lies and making a judgement.  Many vendors, given the current market conditions, will be open to negotiation.

Below, we’ve laid out some top tips on how to haggle like a pro!

Don’t Be Afraid to Haggle

It’s expected!  Properties are often priced higher than the price expected and the estate agent will expect a lower offer to be made.

How Much Can You Afford?

From the start, decide what you can afford and stick to that budget.  Don’t be tempted to overstretch.

Be Clear On Your Position

You’re in a really good position if you’re not part of a chain, or if you have a mortgage in principle.  Make sure the vendor is aware of your situation from the start and make them remember you in a really positive light.

How’s the Market Behaving?

Haggling successfully depends largely on what the market is doing.  It’s a buyer’s market right now so don’t be afraid to put in a lower bid.  Check out the advice regularly on the Big Property Website and our blog to find out more about the current market situation.

Check Out Sold Property Websites

There are many websites showing the houses being sold in each area and the price they were sold for.  This is a great way to do some research.  Find out how long the house has been on the market too and whether the asking price has already been reduced.

Check Out the Competition

Try to find out if any offers have been made and how many other people are interested.  Depending on how serious you are about the house you may enter into a bidding war and possibly even a ‘sealed bid’ situation so it’s good to know from the start how you can outwit the competitors.

Factor in the Flaws

If you have noticed the windows need replacing or the guttering has seen better days, you could use these points to factor in a lower bid.  A full survey will also highlight any flaws that need urgent attention and could help you negotiate thousands off the asking price.

Making an offer on a house is going to probably be the biggest purchasing decision you make during your lifetime.  Being confident with your position and the information you have gleaned from the vendor can go a long way to securing your dream pad for much less.  You have nothing to lose – if your first offer is declined, and you can afford it, simply bid go in a little higher.  Haggling on a house is like haggling on any other item and if you do your homework you could reduce the price drastically making for a very smug face indeed!

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