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A masterclass on negotiation tactics; how to get the best deal for your client

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Knight Frank
London and Country specialist property buying agents
18 May 2016  |   Jonathan Bramwell

Jonathan Bramwell, Head of the Country Team for The Buying Solution, shares his step by step guide on negotiation tactics and how to get the best deal on your property, or for your client.

Step one: Research the Vendor’s Position

  • Ask or try to establish, what is driving the sale? Are the vendors motivated by getting the highest price for example, or do they place more value on getting a buyer who clearly shows they have the financial means to carry out the purchase, or do they want to sell to someone they like?
  • Make sure to research when the vendor wants to complete, as providing you are able to meet these requirements, it may put you in a stronger position than other interested parties.
  • Are the vendor’s lawyers prepared for the sale and if so, do they have a full legal pack with relevant local searches? This will enable a quick exchange of contracts.
  • Ask the selling agents if they or their clients are aware of any issues with the property.  This is a MUST as they may keep quiet unless asked, and it can avoid a lot of wasted time.

Step two: Ensure you are ready to transact quickly

  • Make contact with your solicitor when you begin your property search so they are ready to perform when you submit an offer.
  • If you need finance, make sure to get a Mortgage Offer in place before you offer so you can demonstrate that you are in a position to buy.

Step three: Only make an offer when you know the vendor is in a position to accept

  • Often in the case of probate sales the trustees will want the property to be fully exposed to the market. Therefore you do not want to make an offer during the early stages of marketing which will only be used to entice more competition.
  • Sales brought about by divorce can also mean that the vendors are unable to make a decision until they have agreed their own settlement.

Step four: Present yourself as the ‘Best Buyer’

  • Provide as much comfort to the vendor and their estate agent as you can, make sure they know that you are able to exchange with minimum fuss.
  • Make your offer in writing, as opposed to verbally, so it is clear what your offer is and what it includes.
  • Will making your bid subject to a survey set you at a disadvantage? Spending money on a survey before you bid often puts you in a better position as you can confirm you are happy with the condition of the property, as opposed to dealing with this at a later date and causing a delay to the transaction.
  • Always provide a financial reference to the vendor and estate agent so they can clearly see you are a cash buyer or have a mortgage offer in place. This gives them encouragement that you are likely to offer.

Step five: Research the Guide Price and Stamp Duty (SDLT) payable

  • By researching the price you can justify your offer with comparable sales.
  • If you are then forced to raise your offer then think about what additional items you might want included within the price such as curtains or white goods.
  • If you are trying to be predatory then be aware that you may risk turning yourself into the buyer that the seller will not want to sell to, particularly if the offer is very unrealistic.  In this situation, it is often better to wait and see how the sale develops, and bide your time.
  • There have been a number of increases to Stamp Duty in recent years so you need to check your liability on the purchase.

Step six: Ensure a realistic timetable is set for exchanging contracts

  • Make sure your solicitor and the vendor’s solicitor agree that they can exchange contracts within the suggested timeframe.
  • Keep to the timetable and if problems occur they are easier to resolve if the vendor and his agent see that you and your solicitor are doing everything else to get to an exchange.

Step seven: Protect your position once a sale is agreed

  • Agree an exclusivity period once your offer is accepted which will stop the vendor considering any other bids during this period and their estate agent from any further viewings or marketing. Ideally this would be include a Lock Agreement being signed by both parties.
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