Top tips for negotiating a house purchase

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For most of us, buying a home is the largest single financial commitment we ever make. It’s a lifelong one too. That makes it important to get the best deal possible. We want the very best property for our money and to feel we got a good deal at the end of it.

Fortunately, negotiating house prices isn’t as difficult as it might seem. Here’s how.

Do your research

Knowing the “going rate” for a property type in a given area is essential when you’re viewing houses. Never just take the real estate agent’s word for value and try to find out about any recent sales, ask around, check out property websites and even Google the address of the street for house price information and recent transactions.

All will help build a picture of a given area or particular property and its likely value.

Research the vendor too. Ask the agent what position they are in and what their intentions are. A vendor who needs to sell quickly will be more likely to do a deal than one who doesn’t.

Remember who the agent works for

Any real estate agent who shows you around a property will act like your best friend. They may appear to want the best for you, to help you find the perfect property and live happily ever after. While some of that may be true, what they actually want is to make the sale.

It’s important to remember that they work for the vendor, not you. Their interest in you goes as far as the likelihood of you buying the property. Harsh but true.

View with the head not the heart

Property viewings are your opportunity to assess whether the reality of any given property meets the marketing. It’s vital to approach viewing as a business meeting and not get emotionally involved with it. Easier said than done sometimes we know!

Look at everything. Look at the cars parked nearby, the condition of neighbours property and the land around it to get an idea of the neighbourhood. Once inside, check corners, lintels, around windows, check for level floors, for cracks, damp and general condition as well as room sizes and your personal criteria.

All these things combine to create a value in your mind as well as a desire for the property itself.

Negotiate and back up your offer

Once you have found that perfect property, don’t be afraid to negotiate the price. Make sure the offer is a sensible one and back up that offer with your evidence. Mention prices of similar properties in the area, any issues with the property, the cost of any changes you will need to make and so on.

An agent will listen to what you have to say and try to assess how high you will be prepared to go. Try not to give anything away!

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