The art of negotiation – getting your dream property for the right price

new home deal

Deciding to buy a property is a big decision, one of the most expensive ones you’ll make in your lifetime, and like most people, you want to pay the best price for your new property. But with property prices in Scotland at the highest they’ve been in a long time, mastering the art of negotiation is a skill you could come to rely on.

Of course, if you’re buying a brand-new property from a development, there may not be too much wiggle room on price, but you could save big on those costly extras like bathroom suites, flooring and even grass in your garden!

If you’ve got your eye on an older property, even just one that has had a previous owner, there are a few things you could negotiate on.

So let s1homes be your guide as we explain how to make those important negotiations go smoothly.

Do your research

Finding out a bit of background on the property listing is beneficial. How long has the property been on the market? If the property has been sitting for a while then the owners could be keen to make a move more quickly, which means they may be open to reduced offers. Why is it on the market? Reasons for the current owners selling could also indicate whether they are looking for a quick sale. What are local property sales achieving? It’s good to have a look at similar properties in the area and the sale prices for those. Remember not all properties are the same so try to find like for like where you can. Speak to the agent listing the property, although they have the interests of the owners at heart, they will also be looking to get a decent sale price at the end of the day. Finding out these key facts will put you on the front foot when it comes to making an offer and starting negotiations.

What’s included?

There’s no law or guidelines on what stays and what goes, so current owners can essentially remove everything if they wish – this covers everything from curtain poles to bathroom suites. Of course, it rarely happens but it’s always wise to ask upfront. Things like this will come up when signing the missives and your solicitor will advise you, but these are questions you can ask during your viewing so that you are prepared.

You may prefer a blank canvas and would be planning on starting fresh with your own style but the initial cost of replacing such items can all add up, so it’s wise to ensure an inventory of what’s included is drawn up before signing contracts.

What about appliances or furniture?

Common items that owners can leave behind are kitchen appliances like the oven and white goods such as the washing machine and fridge. Although, it’s best not to assume that these items will be left behind. The owners may be open to negotiating as moving these items can be time consuming. Agreeing to leave them behind for a small fee could be beneficial to both you and them.

You may also have your eye on some of their furniture, like a sofa that fits just perfectly in the living space or fitted wardrobes ideal for the amount of clothes you own. Again, it’s crucial to include these in the inventory. If you decide to buy such items from the seller, find out their market value so you can negotiate a good deal. No one wants to pay over-the-odds for second-hand goods but remember that you could be saving a lot of money so don’t be too stingy with your offer!

Check the Home Report

This document is a comprehensive buyers’ guide to the property, so any recommendations for work needed should be detailed in here. You may wish to ask the seller to carry out repairs before making an offer – or alternatively negotiate a discount on the purchase price if you decide to carry out the repairs yourself. Of course, the home report is a legal requirement that the owner is obliged to have carried out, but they may also argue that the selling price is a reflection of any issues or work highlighted within the home report. Most property valuations will consider these things.

Also, remember that upgrades to the kitchen or bathrooms could be down to your own personal taste. So the cost to renovate or improve these might be an area you will find tricky to negotiate on.

Of course, if anything in the property needs to be fixed or is unsafe – that’s a different issue.

Remember, if a seller has disclosed all issues before the sale, they’re usually not liable for any costs incurred by the buyer. In other words, once the sale is complete, there’s little comeback.

Take your time

Negotiating is a real skill, and your communication should be considered and paced. Offering too low may be the wrong move, especially if you’re competing against another bidder. Remember good negotiators can make the other party believe they have ‘won’, so a good offer means that both seller and buyer should come away from a deal believing they’ve come up trumps.

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