Expert View: How to handle an offer on a property

Alastair Woodgate, Rumball Sedgwick

Alastair Woodgate, Rumball Sedgwick - Credit: Archant

Alastair Woodgate of leading estate agents and chartered surveyors, Rumball Sedgwick, considers how the way an offer is handled can affect the outcome of a property sale.

You want as much as you can get for your property but your buyer wants to pay as little as possible. You want to buy as cheaply as possible but your seller wants as much as he or she can get. It doesn’t necessarily make for a straightforward property transaction, but it is only human nature. So do you find yourself in a stand off where neither party will budge on price or do you negotiate? The stand off gets nowhere. Negotiation means both buyer and seller end up with more or less what they want. The key to a successful property negotiation is not to make unreasonable demands.

Ill-advised buyers and sellers haggle while informed buyers and sellers negotiate. Negotiation is about both parties arriving at a deal close enough to what they want such that both sides are reasonably happy. It isn’t just about price: it could be about timing, fixtures and fittings, access before completion and more. The reasons can be many.

Whether you are buying or selling, work out what your bottom line will be – the lowest offer you would be prepared to accept or the highest price you would pay. Then think about all that you would reasonably like to achieve. ‘Reasonable’ is key, as nobody wants to deal with someone who is less than reasonable. Listen to your buyer’s or seller’s point of view and be prepared to be flexible in order to close the sale or purchase.

Having agreed a deal, subject to contract, do your best to keep to it. No one likes it when another back-tracks on an agreement. But sometimes a survey reveals something unexpected and the deal may have to be adjusted. This may be unavoidable. Again it is best to accept that things happen and that reasonable behaviour on both sides will usually resolve these unforeseen difficulties.

The property process is often criticized for being unnecessarily complicated and protracted and this can make negotiation even more difficult. But stay reasonable, allow for the unexpected, be flexible and remain focused and you will, likely as not, end up with the price or the property you want.

For advice on buying and selling or for survey and valuation advice contact Alastair on 01727 519140 or at