In the current buyer’s market, it’s just as unpleasant to get more than you bargained for than less, so keep your eyes and ears open when house hunting, says property expert, Laura Henderson.
Riding the peaks and troughs of the market is tricky in any climate, but with estate agents driving hard to push through sales in the current buyer’s market, those hoping to bag a good deal should listen up. If you’re in a position to purchase without overreaching yourself and are willing to accept that your bricks and mortar asset may dip in value, the current slump represents a great opportunity to grab a home at a knockdown price. Even so, it’s still vital to target areas and properties that will be resilient, offer scope for improvement and will appeal to other buyers further down the line.
Bargain Hunting Basics:
Estate agents will always try and get the best price they can for a property, but their business relies on signed and sealed deals, so they’ll be eager to shift homes that have been languishing on their books.
Establish a fair market value before going for an under-offer – research the most recent selling prices of comparable homes in your chosen area; not the asking price but the offers that were finally accepted.
Click here to view sold prices in your area.
Try to distinguish between homes with prices ‘under pressure’ because of market sentiment and those with genuine structural/location issues. Be thorough when questioning the selling agent and do your due diligence.
In the case of new build, developers are invariably under pressure to sell to meet their own financing needs, so don’t just accept the list price – always try for a lower offer.
Previously sold plots can be a good buy – these come on the market when a buyer purchases a property off-plan (before completion) – and has then been unable to complete the transaction. In most instances, the developer will have kept the original deposit and will be looking to sell the plot quickly, so you stand a good chance of getting the deposit amount lopped off the price.
Always dissect the discount – 30% off, is all well and good, but if the original price already has a generous mark up, the discount is more ‘apparent’ than real.
Bottom Line: A bargain is only ever relative to true market value – and market value is a moving feast.
Laura Henderson is a property columnist, author and investment expert. Her latest book Tricks and Mortar: The Little Book of Property Wisdom (£12.99, Book Guild) is out now.