When it comes to making or responding to offers, many commentators are quick to quote the standard "5 to 10% below the asking price" figure. But if you want to negotiate like a pro, the truth is that prices, properties and the people selling them differ hugely. You’ll need to use a bit of expert know-how to make sure you push your asking price in the right direction.
Recent stats show that nearly one third of the properties on Zoopla have reduced their asking prices. However, despite these reductions, research by the Halifax shows that many areas are still on the up. For example, homes in the Gloucestershire town of Cheltenham saw an average 13% price increase in 2017. If you want to asses the market trends in your chosen area, use Zoopla’s search feature to sort local properties by ‘most reduced.’ This can flag struggling areas to sellers, and signpost buyers to a good deal.
Next, compare the property to those nearby. If the area’s value hinges on school catchment areas, check the boundaries, and if it’s all about the transport links, make sure the train station is within walking distance. If not, that opening offer (and even final price) could fall.
Property pros and cons
It’s not all location, location, location, however. If there’s super-fast broadband, smart technology and bucketloads of kerb appeal, your property price will climb. Equally, any unattended repairs can have a serious impact. Two thirds of buyers have successfully renegotiated after the home report revealed unresolved issues.
If you’re dealing with hot property, you may need to know how to handle multiple offers. In these cases, you could choose to play up your credentials as a buyer or seller rather than focus on figures. That could mean promising a quick house sale if you’re a first-time buyer, or if you're a seller who’s ready to move. If you’re in the right position as a buyer, it could mean offering cash. Make the most of these USPs to optimise your negotiation position.
The final consideration is what you can afford. The costs of selling a house, or of buying and moving, quickly mount up. Make sure that your negotiations don’t leave you struggling to cover those costs. Draw up a clear budget that looks at what you need to have left in the kitty once the contracts are exchanged to cover both potential costs in your new home and any rainy day eventualities. This will keep you realistic, and focused on your final goals.