How to help first-time buyers negotiate the best deal on a property

publication date: Jun 26, 2017
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author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

First-time buyer negotiations

First-time buyers need more help from trusted sources so they can learn how to negotiate a better price, according to a new survey.

And, in my experience, that is very true. When I sold a flat a few years ago I was unnecessarily offered £5k over the asking price if I took it off the market the same day they viewed.

I refused, saying I preferred to wait until all the booked viewings had been carried and that I would be happy to accept a lower price. They still offered over the asking price and we agreed to split the difference.

Part of the problem is that the housing stock shortages have created a fear of missing out which, according to this research from Barclays Mortgages, is costing first-time buyers dear; a fifth were found to have paid nearly £8,000 over the odds to secure a deal.

Even holidaymakers who enjoy haggling for goods in foreign markets are leaving their skills behind when they return to home turf, according to the survey.

Market data from Countrywide Estate Agents, coupled with the Barclays Mortgage research found:

  • More than a third (35%) would avoid negotiating at all, due to the limited stock available;
  • One in five (21%) pay above the asking price for their first property and, on average, are forking out £7,758k extra to secure the deal;
  • More than half of first-time buyers (52%) admit to never having negotiated in their life and 51% regret not negotiating before buying;
  • 55% were comfortable negotiating through an estate agent if they haven’t formed a relationship with the homeowner;
  • The biggest overpayments in England and Wales are in Yorkshire and Humberside where 29% pay more than the asking price. In Scotland, due to the popularity of the sealed bid system, the figure is even higher, at 40%.

With all the focus on helping first-time buyers onto the property ladder, are we letting them down by not teaching them the skills they need to get the best deal?

One way to help yourself as a first-time buyer – or if you know someone looking for their first home – is to download our comprehensive FREE eBook.

The eBook it explains in detail how to make an offer and emphasises the importance of doing your own research, from finding out how much the property was bought for in the first place to working out how much people are paying for similar properties - here are a few of the top tips on making an offer:

  • Find out what the seller paid for the property using sold property price data via nethouseprices.com - you will then know if you are buying in a busy or slow market;
  • Find out what similar properties sold for in the last few months and use this as evidence to support your offer;
  • Work out what you can afford to pay, i.e: deposit, mortgage costs and maintenance;
  • Don't panic - only offer a fair price you can afford.

Before you make an offer, also make sure you have estimated how much you will need to spend on the purchase, including stamp duty if applicable, legal fees and more. For a breakdown of costs, visit our first-time buyer costs page.

And don’t forget, it’s essential that any offer you do make is made, in writing, ‘subject to survey’ so if you need to renegotiate afterwards you can. Here's how to choose a surveyor and type of survey.

For more comprehensive tips on financing and buying a property, download the FREE First-Time Buyer eBook, which has useful advice even if you have purchased in the past, as many things – mortgage ‘stress tests’, stamp duty – have changed over the years and how your parents or family/friends purchased their homes may not be relevant today.


All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner, author of
Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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