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How To Make A Good Offer When Buying Property

Jan 24, 2008
When you're buying property you're making what will probably be the biggest single purchase in your life.

That's pretty scary, and it's why you need to thoroughly do your research before choosing your house.

When you have found the right place, be prepared to do a little haggling - it could save you thousands of pounds.

Really, no-one should just pay the offer price of a house for sale, especially in the cooling market we seem to have at the moment. Indeed, many sellers deliberately put a few thousand on the asking price to give them some room for movement.

But if you're not the kind of person who enjoys haggling, then that's not going to change just because you are buying property!

Here's a handy guide that will help you find ways to knock the asking price down and secure yourself a bargain home:

Do lots of research

This is key to saving money and getting the right deal all the way through the process of buying property. The more work you put in behind the scenes securing valuable information, the more power you will have to negotiate. If the average house price in the area is a little lower than the home you want to buy, find out why. If there's no immediately obvious reason, that information becomes a lever to get a price drop. Just remember to be thorough and realistic with your research.

Understand the seller

If you can work out why they are selling their home, it will put you in a much stronger position to buy it at the right price. For example, do they need to leave the area quickly because of new jobs elsewhere? In which case they will be more open to any steps you can take to speed the sale up (making them more receptive to an offer). Whereas if they have fallen in love with a new expensive property nearby, then money may be more of an issue, making them less likely to want to haggle. Don't be afraid to ask the seller or agent why they are moving.

Make your position clear

Your value as a buyer will depend on the situation you are in and what the seller wants. If you have a mortgage agreed in principle; are a cash or first time buyer; or have no chain, you are generally a more attractive purchaser. This will work in your favour if there are multiple offers for the property. Ensure the seller's estate agent understands the exact details of your situation. Remember, it's in their best interests as well that the person buying property from their client can complete quickly.

Check the market

If the market is slowing, as it seems to be at the moment, then the power shifts to you as a buyer. When houses are slower to sell, it reduces the number of options to the seller, who ultimately just wants to sell up and move on to the next house. In some areas this doesn't apply - for example first time buyers often find there is such a shortage of affordable housing for them, they are forced to grab the first half decent property they can find. This puts the power back with the seller. Do some research on the situation in your area and use the information accordingly.

Leverage the condition of the house

Smart buyers will carefully examine what's included in the sale and what work needs doing to the property to bring it up to top standard. When you are viewing the house, look carefully for any property maintenance that needs to be done. Even a bit of decorating will cost you time and money, and can be reflected in the price. It's also worth indicating that you will have a survey carried out if your offer is accepted. This can sometimes prompt sellers to disclose potential problems the survey may discover, in the hope they won't scupper the sale down the line.

Show you have done your homework

Finally, don't be afraid to demonstrate to the seller and their agent that you have done your research, you understand the market and the property for sale, and you are experienced at buying property. It makes them more likely to just want to do a deal with you and get the transaction moving.
About the Author
More about how to buy property can be found at http://www.propertytoday.co.uk
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