Jessie Hewitson speaks to property professionals about the art of negotiation.

Crumpled question marks heap

Talking about money is usually not a strong point for us Brits. This awkwardness is quickly overcome, however, when buying a house – then the panic of not making a smart decision overrides our inbuilt squeamishness about haggling over pounds and pence. Here are some tips from experienced estate agents and property professionals about how to handle the delicate price negotiations between would-be first-time buyer, agent and seller when purchasing a flat or house.

Tip One

“Treat the process as a business deal,” recommends buying agent Amanda Ake of Stacks Property Search. “As a rule of thumb, look at the peak price in 2007 – the Zoopla website is a good place to find this info – and subtract 30-35 per cent. Ask the estate agents how they arrived at the price: was it based on some science, and if so what, or just what the vendor thought it should be?”

Tip Two

“Any buyer should make their offer with confidence and be able to back up their reasons for offering that amount, ideally with comparable evidence,” suggests Matthew Dabell, director of Aspire estate agents in Fulham. “Any agent will be looking for clues as to how much a buyer may be willing eventually to offer, assuming they have offered below the asking price. If you do find yourself in a position of having to increase your first offer then try to negotiate some additional fixtures and fittings into any new price you are able to offer, to ensure you are getting the best value.”

Tip Three

“Don’t always believe your agent,” says the head of the Chelsea office of Douglas & Gordon, Ed Mead. “If they tell you there are other offers, take a ‘if it is meant to be it will be’ attitude and stick to your guns. If it really isn’t meant to be, another property will come along. Currently 40 per cent of deals are falling through, so don’t panic.”

Tip Four

“You can also find value by researching the position of the vendor,” adds Amanda Ake. “If the vendors are in no particular rush to sell, you may find negotiating more difficult, but if there is some level of pressure to sell due to their circumstances, you will almost certainly find more room for manoeuvre. As much as you want to know about the vendors’ circumstances, it makes sense to be less forthcoming about your own. Be polite but keep your revelations about yourself to the pertinent – that you’re a cash buyer for instance. If it’s the house of your dreams, don’t let it show! And don’t be aggressive as a buyer – vendors don’t want to be bullied. They want to like the person that’s buying.”

If you have a tips or advice for those looking to buy, let us know via the comments below and we’ll add them to the above.

Some information contained herein may have changed since it was first published. Zoopla strongly advises you to seek current legal and/or financial advice from a qualified professional.

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