There hasn’t been much of a chance for housebuyers in many parts of the country to ‘get a bargain’ over recent months. The housing market ‘mini-boom’, resulting from a pent-up demand going back to the spring 2020 lockdown, combined with the stamp duty holiday and greater demand than supply, has led to house prices having increased in many parts of the North West. Houses in some areas have been routinely selling for offers over the asking price, and in shorter than normal timeframes.

Although there have been some reports that the housing market is ‘cooling’ in anticipation of the stamp duty holiday coming to an end in March, opportunities to grab a bargain are still few and far between.

Here, we look at how to put your best foot forward to secure a good price when buying a home.

Use evidence

Most people do not have the knowledge imparted from years of experience of undertaking property reports, meaning they may well miss the defects in a property when viewing. Trying to take a systematic approach and look for issues may allow you to point out any defects and use them as a means of achieving a better price if you decide to put forward an offer.  We have a number of blogs that advise on the things to look out for when viewing properties.

Alternatively, if you are unaware of a property’s defects before you make an offer, only finding out after you have received a Chartered Surveyor’s survey report, you may be able to go back to the vendor and use the report as evidence to try and negotiate a better price.

Do your research

Property prices can and do fluctuate, and the condition of a property may greatly dictate what it is worth compared to other nearby properties. Property websites including Zoopla and Rightmove do provide some information on sale prices achieved, although finding up to date comparables isn’t always easy.

Despite these factors, with a bit of research, it should be possible to spot a house price that seems vastly inflated, or else on the cheap side. Where possible, seeking the advice of a professional, such as a Chartered Surveyor, can help to put your mind at ease during the process.

Decide on your negotiation tactics

When buying a house, it’s surprising how many people seem to enter into a purchase without a negotiation plan. Remember you can always negotiate up, but you can’t negotiate down (without a valid reason)! Buyers will always want to try and achieve the best price, as will estate agents. So be aware of negotiation tactics from their end, and try to stick to your guns!

Put yourself in the best position

Amid any ‘boom’ for property, sellers will not only consider the best price they are offered for their home, but also the buyer that has the most favourable position. An industry pledge, developed by the Home Buying and Selling Group (HBSG), released some guidance in 2020 with the aim of supporting home movers in England and Wales. The guidance advises that sellers appoint a property lawyer on the day a property is marketed, also recommending that buyers secure their mortgage decision in principle early, having it available to present when required. 

It is also advisable to instruct a Chartered Surveyor to undertake a survey at the earliest opportunity once a sale has been agreed. This is to allow plenty of time for a survey date to be agreed, but also to review the outcome of the survey, especially if the property is in a state of disrepair.

For more information on any of our services for home buyers, including survey reports, valuations reports, please get in touch with us. Our team will be able to advise you on the most suitable report for your transaction.

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Lea Hough is a trading name of Lea Hough & Co LLP, which is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales under partnership number OC306054.
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