A house is likely to be one of the biggest purchases you ever make, and knocking the price down by even a couple of percent could save you thousands of pounds. Here is how:
Do your research
Research the property you are looking at
Ask the agent how many viewings the property has had and whether there have been any other offers. If there has not been much interest, you can comfortably offer a lower bid when you start negotiating.
Check when the property was first listed on the estate agents website, or property websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla. The longer that the owner has been waiting to sell could mean that they are more willing to lower their asking price.
If the property has had lots of viewings but no offers, ask the estate agent about why and use this knowledge to your advantage.
Research other properties
If properties of a similar standard have a higher asking price, the owners of the one you are looking at could be in a hurry to sell, which could work in your favour when negotiating
If properties of a higher standard are going for an equal or lower price, consider if they would be a better investment than the one you are currently looking at
If properties of a similar standard are on the market for less than the one you want to buy, use this to your negotiating advantage
Knowing the going rate for other properties in the same area is a must when you are negotiating on the price of a property you want to buy.
If you can argue that the asking price is above what similar properties sold for nearby you will have a strong case for a reduction in price.
Check the asking price of other properties currently on the market and see what they offer in terms of space, features and presentation.
If you think the property is overpriced mention it to the estate agent - they may feed this back to the owners, who may decide to drop the price.
View it thoroughly
You can usually tell quite quickly if you like a property. However, if you are interested you should not get swept away with the excitement of finding somewhere you would want to live.
Any flaws or work that needs doing represent an opportunity to knock some money off your offer price. Inspect the property, inside and out, as this could give you the ammunition you need to negotiate.
Estimate the cost of any work required and take this amount off your offer price - you will be justified in doing so.
You should also find out whether there are likely to be any major expenses in the near future:
Ask when the boiler was last serviced
Ask when the roof was last repaired (or resurfaced if it is flat)
Ask when double glazing was installed
Decide if parts of the property need to be redecorated
If work is likely to be needed in the near future, you have a legitimate reason to go in with a lower price.
Not all buyers are equal in the property market. If you are a first time buyer, paying in cash or have already sold your home, you will be a much more attractive buyer than someone waiting on a long property chain.
Let the estate agent and owner know that you are a desirable buyer and you will have more weight when haggling over the asking price.
Be energy conscious
All homes must now issue an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to let you know exactly how energy efficient a property is and what needs to be done to improve it further
EPCs can also be a handy bargaining tool. If you know that a property is only half as energy efficient as it could be, you could ask that the costs of improving this be factored into the sale price.
Imply interest elsewhere
There is no harm when you are looking around a property or haggling over price to indicate that you are also interested in another property in the area - even if this is not strictly true.
Estate agents often imply that there has been lots of interest in a property to try to force a buyer's hand, so letting them know you have several other options may mean they are more open to reducing their asking price.
Start with a low offer
It may be that you have to put in an offer on a property before you can work out how flexible the seller is.
Put in an offer below what you are actually willing to pay
This will then allow you to up your offer at a later date, which will seem more attractive to the seller
Explain your offer: state exactly what work the house needs and how much it will cost
Mention if nearby properties of a similar or higher standard went for less than the listed price
Explaining your offer shows that you have not simply plucked a number out of mid air, makes the seller think twice about their valuation, and shows you are serious about purchasing the property.
Ask for extras
It is estimated that the cost of actually purchasing a house can easily exceed £5,000 when you consider:
If the person selling the house is not willing to budge on price, you may want to haggle over the additional costs you face when buying.
Asking that the seller contributes towards these fees could be a good way to cut the cost of purchasing the property and save hundreds or possibly thousands of pounds - even if you do not manage a reduction in that actual house price.
You could also ask for certain things, such as curtains and appliances, to be left by the current owners to reduce your set up costs even further.