Negotiation 101

By Phillip Tarrant

Haggling over price can be unsettling but with the right approach you’ll be surprised at how much you can shave off the asking price.

When the property market is running hot it’s easy to think that meeting the asking price is the only way to seal the deal if you’ve found the property you want.

But while some properties may go fast, there’s room for negotiation with others. If it’s a deal that you’re looking for you may be surprised to see just how far you can push down the asking price when you go into negotiations with the right strategy.

•    Know the vendor – The more you know about the seller the better positioned you’ll be to negotiate effectively. Are they looking for a quick sale, have they already bought, are they sentimental about the property?

•    Shoot low – There is a general rule of thumb that a seller almost always rejects the first offer, so make your first offer low but not ridiculous. The point of making a first offer is to show the seller you’re serious about buying the property, while giving yourself room to move in the negotiation process.

•    Smoke and mirrors – Be mindful of classic selling tactics. Expect to be told that there are competing buyers and stakes are high, but don’t let these factors cloud your judgement or send you into a panic spin. Know your budget – and stick to it.

•    Cash on the hip – Have a deposit at your fingertips and a pre-approved mortgage before you start. Any agent worth their salt will be on the lookout for a serious buyer and you’ll be in a stronger bargaining position if you’ve got your own house in order.

•    Leverage – Use your financial position to gain an advantage over other buyers. If you have written finance approval, and can settle in a shorter period of time than the standard six week period, tell the agent.

•    Pick holes – Take note of every tiny fault and look out for potential problems with the property: are there any roof tiles missing, is the drive cracked, and are there steps to negotiate?  A list of prospective problems will help you grind the seller down on price – even if you think the place is perfect!

•    Angle for inclusions – If the agent says the seller won’t budge on price, don’t be afraid to ask for the dishwasher, curtains, the outdoor spa… anything that will add to the property’s worth and sweeten the deal.

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