Bargaining in a buyer’s market

Thought the property market was exempt from bargaining? Think again! In a market where the supply exceeds the demand and sellers become desperate for a deal, knowing how and when to negotiate could help a buyer strike a very interesting price. Here’s how:

Don’t give to much away

This piece of advice applies to both budget and emotions. Keeping your budget under wraps is crucial to making sure the price doesn’t magically rise as soon as the seller or the estate agent finds out you were willing to spend more than the asking price. Try as much as you can to avoid the subject, but if questions get to much to handle and a number needs to be put on the table, than give a market-related price range estimate. Whatever you say, make sure it’s lower than your maximum.

Emotions. Do you absolutely love the property? Would you consider moving in right away? Unless you want to be taken advantage of, don’t show it! The seller doesn’t have to see how invested you are in his home, so take a breath, put your emotions to the side, and stay focused on finding defects that could help you knock down the asking price.

Do your research

In order to purchase a property at a price you consider reasonable, you need to do your research, and get to know that specific area. Get an overview of the neighbourhood and what other homes in that location are selling for. This is the only way of knowing whether or not the seller is asking for a fair price, or whether you need to do some serious negotiating, facts in hand.

Keep your eyes and ears open

Finding out as much information as possible on the property is essential in understanding the seller’s position, so ask the right questions.

What are the motivations behind this sale?

How long has the home been on the market and how quickly does he want/need it to sell?

Has a previous sale fallen through and has the home become a financial burden?

The answers to these questions are important as they help you understand if the seller is willing to negotiate in your favour in order to finally close the deal and move away from the property. Clues on the seller’s state of mind may also be found in the listing, so pay attention to that too. If you read phrases such as “priced to sell” or “needs TLC”, it could be a sign that the person is either looking for a quick sale or that he’s open to negotiation due to some defects in the home.

Get pre-approved by your bank

This may not seem like something relevant to the negotiating process, but a pre-approval, a deposit or a bank guarantee will make sure that your papers are in order and that the purchase can run fast and smoothly. This is relevant because very often the quicker the sale can go through, the more likely a seller will consider negotiating and dropping their price.


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