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The Art of Negotiation

Negotiating isn’t something that comes easily to us Brits; it all feels a bit awkward.  But, in the property market, it’s inevitable.  So, worry less about manners and more about getting the best deal...
Don’t lose out through politeness
You might not feel all that comfortable with negotiating, but this is a very large and important transaction, so it’s not the time to hold back because you’re worried about offending anyone.  You may feel uncomfortable but if you want more money, say it.  If you have a minimum figure firmly in mind, then tell your agent.  You may be lucky enough to receive an offer at asking price straight away, but it’s more usual for a buyer to offer a lower price initially – they’ll probably be prepared to go higher unless they’ve made their situation clear.  Your agent should know the buyer’s position and will negotiate on your behalf however they are required by law to present every offer to you so they won’t negotiate without your say so.  The final decision is yours so you need to be clear, both with your agent and yourself, about your limits.

Know your worth
You should by now have a clear idea of your property’s value, with the current market and its condition taken into account.  Don’t be pressured into accepting less than you want for it just because someone has made a cheeky offer but, likewise, don’t be blinkered by what you think (or hope) it should be worth – be realistic. 

Money isn’t everything...
Accepting an offer is about more than just the financial aspect.  Are the buyers in a position to proceed?  Do they have a mortgage offer in principle?  Better still, are they cash buyers?  Are they first time buyers or is there a long downward chain?  An offer from a serious buyer in a strong position could be worth more in the long run than holding out for a little more money.  However, be aware that the buyer will know their position is strong so will use this to their advantage.  This is where you need to rely on your agent’s expertise to get down to the real nitty gritty of negotiating!

Your next move will also be a consideration – how much do you need to enable you to buy?  Will accepting an offer now allow you to secure the property you want, or have you got time to wait for a higher offer?  Remember, having an offer on your property will put you in a better position for negotiating your next purchase too.
It’s not over yet...

Once you’ve accepted an offer it’s easy to think it’s all done and dusted – you can breathe a sigh of relief and hand over to the solicitors to do their thing while you count down to moving day.  Well, sadly, that’s not quite the case.  Until contracts are signed, sealed and delivered on exchange day, no-one’s really committed to anything.  Either party (you or the buyer) could have a change of heart, the chain could collapse further down, a mortgage application could be declined, or gazumping or gazundering could occur.  So yes, celebrate the fact that you’ve accepted an offer, but be aware that this isn’t set in stone.

Published Thu 18th May 2017 - Last updated Thu 18th May 2017

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