Mastering the Art of Negotiation
Buying a Property
The process of buying a property can be both thrilling and challenging, especially when it comes to negotiation. Whether you're a first-time buyer or a seasoned investor, mastering the art of negotiation is crucial for securing the best deal.
Here's some of ASKJOANNA'S top tips for mastering the art of negotiation
1. Research, Research, Research
Before entering negotiations, conduct thorough research on the local property market, recent sales in the area, and the specific property you're interested in.
If you search on Zoopla you'll see the price the seller bought their house for. If the asking price is a lot more and they only bought the house a year ago, you'd expect the seller to have done a fair amount of renovations and improvements.
Top Tip – property developers often do up the property and live in it for 2 years for tax reasons!
Look also for things the house you like has or doesn't have that could effect its price. For example, the house you like may not have a garage but it is priced the same as a like for like house with a garage.
2. Establish a Strong Relationship
Get to know the seller and understand their motivations for selling. You may have to do this initially through the agent as often the seller will allow the agent to do viewings and they will not be present.
Top Tip – ask for a second viewing on a weekend when the seller is likely to be home and willing to do the viewing – especially if you're expressing some interest.
Building a positive relationship with the seller can significantly impact the negotiation process. Be respectful, courteous, and professional in your interactions. Establishing rapport can create a more amicable atmosphere, making the seller more receptive to your proposals.
If the seller is not involved in the viewings at all and has left the agent to the whole process, just try your best to glean information about the seller from the agent so you can get the full picture.
3. Set Realistic Goals
Define your priorities and establish a clear understanding of what you want from the negotiation. Determine your budget, preferred terms, and any contingencies you may have. Having a realistic set of goals will guide your negotiation strategy and help you stay focused on what truly matters.
For example, you may decide to offer the asking price but on the condition the seller leaves some items of furniture and/or the white goods (washing machine, dishwasher, fridge freezer etc). Or you may decide to offer less than the asking promise on the basis your mortgage offer is in place and you have no chain.
4. Timing is Key
Timing plays a crucial role in negotiations. Be aware of market trends, seasonal fluctuations, and any external factors that may influence the seller's decision. For instance, if the property has been on the market for an extended period, the seller might be more open to negotiation.
Top Tip - April is a popular time to sell a house, often because of the need to secure school places and/or move before the start of the new school year. There are usually more properties on the market as sellers also emerge from winter and consider a move.
5. Understand the Seller's Perspective
Put yourself in the seller's shoes to better understand their motivations and concerns. Knowing why the property is being sold, the seller's timeline, and any emotional attachments can help you tailor your offer to align with their needs, increasing the chances of a successful negotiation.
6. Be Prepared to Walk Away
One of the most potent tools in negotiation is the willingness to walk away. If the terms aren't favourable or the negotiations stall, be prepared to consider other options. This mindset can empower you and demonstrate to the seller that you are serious about your conditions.
7. Flexibility and Creativity
Negotiation is not just about price; it's about finding a mutually beneficial agreement. Be open to creative solutions that may address the concerns of both parties. This could include being flexible to the seller's timelines for completion, inclusion of furniture or appliances, or other terms that add value to the deal.
8. Consult Professionals
Get on side with the estate agent who is selling the property for the seller. See our blog A Relationship with an Estate Agent: The Buyer for more specific tips on how to do this.
If you have engaged a Property Lawyer already, they can also give you some good tips and advice to help you secure the sale. They have experience of how to structure an offer with conditions, and will help give you some ideas to overcome potential sticking points – they may actually be easily solvable and not sticking points at all! You also know that the Property Lawyer is acting only for you and will always be working in your best interests. Remember, the Estate Agent is ultimately working for the seller.