Save your time and energy for well-priced properties

The stock of well-priced homes for sale is starting to dry up in many of the most popular areas around the country, and buyers who want to live in these neighbourhoods are having to make quick buying decisions once more or risk losing their chosen property to a rival buyer.
And that means, says Jan Davel, MD of the RealNet estate agency group, that they should not be wasting their time looking at over-priced properties and hoping that they can convince the sellers to lower their asking prices.
When the market turns and buyers become more numerous, there are always a few sellers who will immediately take this as a signal to increase their asking price - without any regard to what buyers are actually prepared to pay or what prices are actually being achieved by other sellers in their neighbourhood, he says.
“And they will generally hold out for this price no matter what, so buyers who are determined to ‘drive a hard bargain’ and get them to change their minds are actually more likely just to end up missing out on the chance to buy an equally attractive property down the road that has a more market-related price tag and a seller more amenable to negotiation.
“Indeed, buyers who are ready to buy should get a comparative market analysis of recent home sales in their preferred area from a reputable local agent and simply stay right away from anything with an asking price that is more than 10 or 12% above the going rate. Well-priced properties are selling fast and this is no time to be distracted into what will most probably end up as a pointless exercise.”
However, says Davel, this does not mean that buyers should completely avoid any negotiation on asking prices. “If, for instance, they establish that the seller is in a hurry to relocate, they could press for a somewhat lower price in return for an expeditious offer, especially if they have already been pre-approved for a home loan.
“Similarly, if the property will need some renovation or repairs, it is quite reasonable to detail these and make a lower offer to compensate for the expenses that will be incurred.”
Meanwhile, he says, the lucky buyers who happen to stumble on a real bargain – which they will instantly recognise if they have been house-hunting in the area for a while – should not even pretend to haggle. “Just make your best offer and hope your quick decision will enable you to snap up the property before too many other people find out about it.”

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