How to negotiate

May 13, 2021

You have seen the perfect house. It’s in the right price range. You now need to make an offer to buy it. But how much money should you offer?

Should you offer the asking price? Should you go in low and hope they accept? Should you go in high, as the estate agent is telling you that the property has been popular?

In this blog we share our top tips on how to negotiate a good price.

Before you view the property

The art to getting a good price starts before you view the house.

Mortgage in principle

This is the bank saying that they would lend you an amount of money. They can withdraw the offer and their final decision will depend on the survey valuation, but it shows to the buyer that you are in a good position to buy quickly. This can make you stand out above another potential buyer offering slightly more.

Don’t reveal your budget

When you first start looking at homes the estate agent will ask your budget. You may be tempted to say a large number to keep them interested, but this may hurt your negotiation. If the estate agent knows you were looking for houses between £250,000 and £300,000, they will advise the seller that you can afford to buy this one for £275,000.

If you had said your budget was £200,000-£250,000, when it comes to negotiation and you offer £260,000, they will tell the seller this is above your budget and you can’t afford more. And of course, if they don’t accept you can still offer more.

Ask for the minimum price

When you ring up the estate agent to arrange the viewing, don’t rush into the arranging part. Say that you have seen the house and you think it could have potential. Say you think the price is a little high and ask what they think the minimum the owner will accept is. If you decide to buy this house, you know what price to offer.

You can also do this after you have viewed. Play the same game when the estate agent rings up asking your thoughts.

When you view the property

Don’t appear keen

When you are viewing the house don’t let the estate agent know you think it’s perfect. If you do, they know you will pay more to make it your home. Let them know you are interested but that there are a few downsides and that you are looking at other properties. Also, even though it’s exciting, don’t be on the phone at 9am the next day making your offer.

Don’t insult the seller

If the seller is at home when you view the property, make sure you don’t insult them. You may want to redecorate and get rid of the hideous carpet, but the seller doesn’t need to know. This will not make them want to sell the property to you, when that other couple loved the place as it is.

When you put in the offer

You need to sell your offer to the estate agent. You can do this over the phone or in email. Some people find email is better as they can spend the time to draft a nice email, covering all their points. It also means there is never a question around the offer.

Know the seller’s situation

If you know that the seller is buying a bigger family house, there is probably little room to negotiate. Likewise, if two people are divorcing, they need all the money they can get to buy two homes. Still make a low offer, but don’t be surprised if they don’t take it.

However, those who have inherited a second house or who are relocating for work, often want the money quickly. They may be more open to offers.

Also know how long the property has been on the market for. If it has only been on a week, they won’t accept your low offer, but if it has been for sale for six months they might be realising they have over valued it.

Understand the market

If you know the seller bought the house three years ago for £230,000 and the neighbours sold last year for £240,000, you know that £255,000if a fair price. If they don’t accept and ask for more, ask them why more given the prices of other houses. You can find historic house prices online.

Also try and understand what the general market is doing. If the economy is booming and house sales are heating up, you might need to make a higher offer. If the economy is slowing, then put in a lower offer.

Know the property

In our guide to viewing a property we included some questions to ask the seller. These include items like “when were the electrics last rewired?”

Use these items to help your negotiating. If you can link it to knowing the market even better e.g. ‘your neighbours sold last year for £240,000but yours needs a new roof and that will cost £20,000. The most I am willing to offer is £250,000.

It’s now much harder for the seller to justify their high price.

Sell yourself

First time buyer with no chain beneath you? Mortgage in principle arranged? Know which solicitor you will use and you are ready to go?  Ready to move quickly?

The more of those questions you can answer yes to, the better buyer you are. Remind the estate agent of these when you put in your offer.

Start low

Estate agents often overvalue properties. They will tell the buyer ‘let’s put it on for £260-270,000, but I suggest taking offers above £250,000’.They do this hoping that someone doesn’t negotiate and just makes a high offer. If that doesn’t happen and you offer £250,000, the buyer gets the price they wanted but you feel like you got a deal.

If you don’t put in a low offer you are overpaying.

If your offer gets rejected

Make a second offer

It’s ok to go back with a second offer if your first was turned down. Most offers are in round numbers e.g. £245,000, but when making a counter offer be very precise, this shows you are at the top of your budget and there is no room to budge e.g. £246,450.

Walk away but remain interested

If you cannot come to an agreement you are happy with then it’s time to walk away. When asked for a higher offer, politely decline but tell them that if they change their mind to get back to you. If their house hasn’t had any other offers, they will call you back and now you are in the driving seat.

What to do now

If you haven’t already seen them check out our blogs on how to view a property and understanding mortgages.

Our next blogs will be on how to protect your family and how to pick a solicitor.

Follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn to see them as soon as they are released.

Mortgages

Batsrock Limited, trading as Wisey, acts as an intermediary for the purposes of introducing its customers to Yes Mortgage Services Limited, part of the H L Partnership.

Yes Mortgage Services Limited is an appointed representative of H L Partnership Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Yes Mortgages Services Limited is a company registered in England and Wales with company number 08872874. The registered office address is Yes Mortgage Services Limited, Four Winds, 22 Windmill Lane, Avon Castle, Ringwood, Hampshire, BH242DQ.

You will not receive advice or any recommendation from Batsrock Financial. Such services will be provided by Yes Mortgage Services Limited