How to negotiate a fair price for your house purchase

You have saved up the deposit and pinpointed the area in which you want to live. After weeks of scouring the market, you have found a house, but how do you secure your dream home? One of the key things to do is negotiate on the price of the house, but this can feel daunting. Here is our advice on how to reach a deal successfully.

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Understand the market

You will have researched the area and discovered how much houses and flats have sold for. You should also consider whether there are any housing developments in the pipeline that may impact your quality of life. These searches will also be done by either a solicitor or a conveyancer, who may offer fixed price conveyancing services.

Ask questions

When you are viewing, ensuring you ask the right questions will help you to establish your vendor’s financial situation. Why are they moving? Where are they moving to? A couple downsizing is probably in less of a hurry to sell than a family moving to an area with better schools. Anyone looking for a quick sale is more likely to accept a lower price.

You should also find out how long the house has been on the market, whether anyone else is interested in the property, and whether the vendor has had an offer accepted on an onward purchase. All these factors will affect where you begin your negotiations.

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Put in an offer

You now have an idea of how much the house is worth and how much you would be willing to pay. Remember that the vendor will have a minimum price in mind, so even the most skilled negotiators are only going to get so far at this stage.

Remember that offers should go through the vendor’s estate agent. You should make a telephone call and then follow this up with an email to reduce the chance of a misunderstanding.

Start low

The vendor will probably be expecting a low offer initially. Remember that you can always go higher with your offer but you can’t go lower, so consider your opening bid carefully. You could offer significantly less than the original asking price, but be prepared to be knocked back by the vendor.

If your first bid fails, it is time for a second offer. Think carefully about the vendor’s situation; if they desperately need to move, you hold more bargaining power. Make your situation clear and make yourself as attractive as possible as a buyer. Have a mortgage agreed in principle and appoint a conveyancer. You will find that many conveyancers offer fixed price conveyancing.

If you are aware that you will be part of a chain, show that you understand the vendor’s situation. The seller will want to deal with people who are empathetic and patient to the situation.

You may still have a second bid rejected, so be prepared to make a third and final bid. At this point, you may want to consider what comes with the house and what you are actually paying for. Can items such as white goods be left in the property, making the house move cheaper for the buyer and a more simple moving day for the vendor?

If your vendor is refusing to go lower than the asking price, be clear that this is your final offer and be prepared to walk away if your bid is unsuccessful. You are likely to be the only person bidding at this point, so this may give the vendor some food for thought.

Offer accepted

This is where relief and excitement will kick in and your conveyancer can start the process of drawing up a contract. The HomeOwners Alliance can help you to find a reputable conveyancer, with choosing one that offers fixed price conveyancing ensuring there are no hidden costs.

Ensure that your offer is made subject to contract and that all searches and surveys are carried out thoroughly. This will give you a get-out clause if you discover something isn’t quite right with the property.

Remember that one in three house purchase fall through at some point of the process, so don’t become despondent if this happens. The likelihood of you going on to find, negotiate and move into your ideal home is high, so stay calm, try not to let emotions guide you too much and you will soon be opening the door to your new home.