House Doctor: 'We've found our dream home at last, but should we haggle over price?'


Question: Can you recommend a starting offer price for a property we want to buy? We've finally found an ideal house for £330,000 – which we can afford – but we would like to know if we've got the edge in any negotiations. We're not good at bargaining and want to offer as low as possible without losing the property. Is it a buyers' market; do we have the upper hand, or is it them?

Juliet Crewe, Norfolk

Answer: You may not enjoy the sharp end of haggling, but it's the only way you'll be able to buy without paying a nightmare price. Your first step should be to bury all emotion and consider it as a plain business transaction. "Your opening offer is just a starting point, so you should aim to have your first offer rejected and not worry – you can always make a revised offer," says Gavin Brazg of the property advice website www.theadvisory.co.uk.

For a successful bid, though, you'll need to do plenty of homework before you make that first offer, adds James Brooks of Brooks estate agent in south London. "Ask as many estate agents as you can to gauge the price level for comparable properties," he says. "Not enough buyers do so and overestimate how much they should be paying". Use websites such as www.zoopla.co.uk or www.upmystreet.com, which track recent property sales.

"Make your first offer £10,000 below the price you are prepared to pay," says Brooks. "Put your case as strongly as possible; make sure the buyer's agent knows the size of your deposit and the length of the chain you're in." If you're free of any chain, hammer this point home; most sellers will give extra leeway to a potential buyer free of dependency.

Then, adds Brooks, "provide the details of your solicitor at the same time as the offer to stress your sincerity".

However, Brazg advocates a slightly tougher approach: "Start by offering 10 per cent below the asking price – so pick a shade under £300,000 in your case – and aim to end up with an agreed price at around 5 per cent below."

We are "predominantly in a sellers' market with tough competition between buyers", he says. But don't let this put you off.

A word of warning, though: if the seller won't meet you at an affordable level, bow out – better to buy a slightly less dreamy home and be able to keep hold of it.

housedoctor@independent.co.uk

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'