How to offer on a property.

I see a wide variety of negotiation methods employed by buyers.   Unfortunately, there’s no fail-safe method for ensuring you get the property you want at the lowest possible price possible; it’s too emotive for all involved.  Other than for the pesky estate agent with their eye on the commission 😉

Playing hard-ball (or trying as I see most often) doesn’t work.  I have no idea why people do it.  Aside from the bricks and mortar, buying and selling houses is about the lives of the people involved; those moving in and those moving out.  The money is important, but the actual money isn’t the most important part, it’s the people being able to do what they hope to do.

As a buyer, understanding the seller is the single most important factor when looking to offer.  Who are you buying from, why are they selling and what are they hoping to achieve.  If you as a buyer can package up your offer that best fits the answers to those questions, you’ve got the best chance of being the one whose offer is accepted.

Obviously the sellers position has to fit with yours too, for you to go ahead.  In a sellers market, the buyers do the majority of compromising, in a buyers market, it’s the sellers.  Unless the owner has the most idyllic property in a prime location and doesn’t want the earth for it, then whoever wants it will compromise……

If the seller has an agent (and I can’t stress enough how valuable a good agent is) then you need to be polite to them (even if they’re an idiot), courteous and professional.  The agent is either entirely focussed on helping their client, or entirely focussed on getting the commission, either way, you need to make sure they know you’re the person that can most likely make that happen.

Things I see buyers do that will not help get you the property:

  1. Picking fault in every little detail in the property in the hope you’ll get the property for less.  All this does is either offend the seller, annoy the agent or both.  Sure, if the house needs work, note it down, take stock, work out what  you’re prepared to pay.  Going back to the agent with “We love the house, we’ve noted all the things we see need updating and are willing to offer £xxx,xxx” will work far better than “We’re offering £xxx,xxx because there x, y and z being wrong and a, b and c being wrong.”
  2. Making the silly first offer.  Just don’t do it.  Not if you’re serious.  If you’re putting in one offer and that’s it, go with whatever you wish; but if you really want the property, don’t do the daft offer bit.  The owner will be offended, get annoyed and be far harder to negotiate with.  The agent will feel embarrassed having to take the offer to the owner and you’ve basically taken a step back from getting the property before you’ve started.
  3. Do not approach the seller direct if there is an agent involved.  A) the seller has appointed an agent for a reason.  B) the agent will think you’re trying to do something sneaky.

So in summary, do your research, ask lots of questions and try and help the sellers achieve their goals as much as you can when offering.  There’s a long way to go with a sale from the point it’s agreed and it’s definitely easier on good terms.

If you have any queries about buying and selling, ask in the comments section or drop me an email.