phil-spencer

Your trusted property experts

How to Negotiate a House Price

Author avatar
Share Share article to LinkedIn Share article to Twitter Share article to Facebook

Here, we explain how to negotiate a house price, how you can get the best deal and methods you can use to ‘haggle’.

How to negotiate a house price down

Here are 13 top tips for negotiating a house price and getting what you want:

  1. Research the property thoroughly
  2. View it carefully, missing no details
  3. Know the asking prices of similar properties in the area
  4. Present yourself as an attractive buyer (cash only, chain free etc.)
  5. Be open and communicative with the seller
  6. Review the EPC
  7. Imply interest in other properties
  8. Start low
  9. Make a second bid specific
  10. Ask for certain items to be included in the sale
  11. Use the property survey
  12. Use a buying agent
  13. Know your limits
Find a Solicitor

How to do research on a property – know the market

Read up on similar properties in the local area and find out how much they’ve sold for. This will give you an accurate comparison and realistic benchmark figure. 

Ensure you find out all you can about the house you’re planning to move into, as well as info on the surrounding area – a property report can help. You may be able to use this to your advantage.

Get a Property Report

How much to offer on a house?

Start low. Assume a first bid will be rejected. Before negotiations begin, here are the factors to help you work out how much a property is worth when putting in an offer.

Deduct 10%

There’s often a difference between the value of a property and its sale price.

A rough guideline when making an offer is to deduct 10% from the asking price. This is always an approach worth consideration but it’s not as black and white as it seems. Property investments are a big deal, so there’s a lot to think about here.

Factors which affect a property’s value

There are a number of key aspects which could affect the value of a property:

The house:

  • Size
  • Condition
  • Age
  • Garden size

Position:

  • Orientation
  • Outlook
  • Noise
  • Neighbours

Location – proximity to:

  • Schools
  • Shops
  • Transport links
  • Leisure facilities

The timing of your offer

If the property has just been put on the market, it’s unlikely you’ll bag yourself a bargain. Many vendors will take strong initial interest as a positive sign, this means they’re likely to leave the property on the market for longer to see how things pan out.

If you want to buy a house which has just been put on the market, a higher offer might be necessary to secure it.

Want a handy offer template to help you? Sign up to download your copy

Phil Specner's Checklists
Sign up (it’s Free) to download a handy Offer Letter template

When will a low bid be successful?

Certain circumstances can make the buying a home go in your favour. These include:

Time on the market

If the property has been on the market for a long-time, it’s likely the vendor will be keen for a sale.

So, while time on the market can be useful for the guide price on what to offer, it can also help your low bid to be accepted.

Lack of other interest

If you’re the only buyer interested in the property, this can help the sale go in your favour.

Working to the seller’s timings

Making the process as convenient as you can for the seller is a good way to make the sale go your way.

Particularly if the seller is in a rush, working to their timings can help you secure the deal you’re looking for.

Multiple estate agents

If the seller is using multiple agents, it’s likely one will encourage them to take a low price to secure the sale.

Being an easy buyer

Make life as easy as possible for the seller!

Demonstrate that you can act quickly, show interest, don’t waste their time. If you’re chain-free, this can also make you a more attractive buyer, as the seller won’t have to wait for you to sell your property to buy theirs.

So, ensure you have all the necessary funds available and show you’re keen to get things moving as quickly as possible.

Negotiating a house price top tips

While there are some reasons why a lower bid will be accepted, it’s likely your first offer will be rejected.

Here are some haggling tips.

Present yourself well

Stick to your guns.

Presenting yourself as a confident, reliable buyer can help you haggle the house price down. The better you look as a buyer, the more likely you are to secure the sale.

Imply interest elsewhere

Telling the vendor you’re looking at other properties in the area can encourage them to accept your offer.

This may not be true, however it can cause the seller to accept your offer through fear of losing the sale completely. Particularly if you’re a first-time buyer with no chain, the seller will be keen to close the deal. 

Mortgage in principle

A mortgage in principle proves you can afford a property, therefore is a useful bargaining tool, as you stand a better chance of securing a deal than a buyer without one.

Always speak to an adviser and get a mortgage quote to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

Mortgage Quotes

Review the property’s EPC

If the property isn’t as energy efficient as it could be, you could haggle a lower sale price as a result. Explain you want the costs of making the house more energy efficient to be factored into the price.

Fixtures and fittings

It’s vital that you establish from the outset what is and what isn’t included in the sale.

If you’re paying a higher price than you’d like, or have increased your offer, it may be worth asking for items included in the sale.

Negotiate some incentives! Look for items which aren’t necessarily considered as fixtures and fittings. For example, a cooker or white goods, etc.

Asking the seller for freebies can help you save money in the long term.

Don’t reveal your real budget

When it comes to home negotiation, don’t admit your real budget. The seller or agent will always try and push it to the limits!

Buy in cash

Cash-buyers are much more attractive than others, as you can move quicker. While this isn’t an option for all buyers, if you’re able to, it can help you secure a lower price.

Get a survey

Always get a property survey on the one you’re looking to buy.

What does a surveyor do? Spot the problems you need to know.

If your potential new home needs some repairs or maintenance work done, a survey report can help you haggle the price down. Alternatively, if the seller won’t budge on the price, ask them to split the costs of repairs 50/50.

Find a Local Surveyor

How to negotiate a house price after a survey

A survey isn’t just a ‘check’, it’s a way to ensure you’re paying the right amount for a home. Any defects will impact its value, perhaps significantly. If your survey reveals some serious issues or faults, you’re within your rights to lower your offer (it’s one of the only times gazundering is acceptable!)

There are many problems a survey could throw up, from electrical issues to damp – varying in price and severity.

After a bad survey, you essentially have 3 options: pull out of the house sale, negotiate, or accept it as it is.

How to approach negotiations

Many people prefer to approach the seller first, but your next step should be to show the estate agent the survey report. Be upfront & honest with the seller and estate agent about the costs involved with what’s been uncovered :

  • Do thorough research to present
  • Consider how severe the faults are (if they’re minor, you might not be in a strong position)
  • Calculate the cost of renovating the property to get it into a ‘good condition’
  • Get quotes from independent contractors about the cost of fixing these issues
  • Share quotes & estimated costs with both seller and their agent
  • Present the vendor with a discounted price to consider, or ask them to fix the issues
  • Work closely with your solicitor throughout this negotiation phase. Listen to the surveyor also (they’re the professionals here)
  • Be patient
  • Prepare to make some compromises
  • Don’t be pressured into buying a faulty property

Building a good relationship with the seller will help here. But, if they refuse to negotiate, ask yourself how much you want the property, weighing up the cost of fixing these potential problems. If there’s high demand for the property, you’ll likely be in a weaker position. But, remember that a house is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

Find a Solicitor

Useful bargaining chips

The important thing here is to bring these factors in line with what the seller is looking for. This is especially prevalent when you’re making an offer below the asking price.

How to get an advantage:

  • Provide flexibility in your purchase timings, convenience can sweeten the deal
  • Try and consider the seller’s position – maybe they’re dragging their heels because they’re reluctant to leave
  • Try not to become principled, this is no place to debate petty issues – biting your tongue can help smooth the process
  • Show you’re keen for a quick sale, but don’t rush. This will weaken your position
  • Using a buying agent to help tackle negotiations

Know your limits

Even if it’s your dream home, don’t be pushed to pay over the odds for it. Set a maximum budget, factoring in other costs like stamp duty, and keep that private. If your maximum offer is rejected – start looking elsewhere.

Get Your Property Report Here

What if your negotiations are successful?

If you manage to secure a lower price for the property, contact your mortgage lender immediately, as this may affect your offer. Your application may need to be altered based on the properties new value. You could even contact them earlier, during the negotiation phase, to ensure they’re prepared – as alterations could take weeks.

Last Updated: July 16th, 2021