The Art of Negotiating House Price to Land Your Dream Home


64% of UK homebuyers and renters say they feel confident negotiating over property prices, but 6 in 10 admit the biggest challenge is timing and knowing when to negotiate.

Right now, the UK property market is more competitive than it's been in a decade, with low mortgage rates, the stamp duty holiday and homebuyers joining the race for more space.

In the last six months, online property searches have jumped by 55% compared to the previous year, and demand for homes outweighs supply in some parts of the country.

With more people looking and fewer properties to choose from, negotiating power has tipped in favour of sellers and landlords, and asking prices have hit a record high, increasing +5.1% compared to last year.

In this competitive London market, can buyers and renters still land the home of their dreams?

Timing is everything

Research by Douglas & Gordon shows that 36% of people typically avoid negotiating house price, calling it anxiety-inducing, while 64% of Brits are confident negotiators.   

And while negotiations are often welcomed by sellers and landlords, with 61% saying they're an exciting part of the process, understanding the market's mood is critical for anyone looking to save on a London property.

When to negotiate house price     

In a competitive seller's market, 7 in 10 admit their biggest concern is losing the property or being outbid by another buyer.

In a buyer's market, where the number of homes available outweighs the number of buyers interested in purchasing or renting, a strong negotiation strategy can be a valuable tool in landing the home of your dreams, but in today's seller's market, negotiating is a risk. 

Right now, buyers and renters have very little negotiating power to begin with. Applicants expecting to negotiate or submit offers below the asking price run a high risk of being turned down. If you really love a property, the best chance at success right now is to offer asking price to be taken seriously. If you've found the home of your dreams in one of London's best areas for families, a pet-friendly rental that meets all your needs, or an apartment in one of London's most in-demand areas, the last thing you want to do is miss your chance by going in low. 

How to get your offer accepted

Unless you're thinking about buying or renting a house or have a vested interest in a property, there's very little reason to watch the real estate market. And because it can shift seasonally or even monthly, knowing the market conditions can inform your negotiation tactics.

That's why having a knowledgeable local real estate agent is key. By providing advice on market conditions, an agent can also help you to be prepared to act quickly, which is crucial in a seller's market.

"Whether you're a first-time buyer or an experienced property owner, buying a house is a big deal, especially if you're not sure of how or when to negotiate on the price. Of course, buyers are keen on potential savings, but demand is so high right now that sellers have the luxury of not having to lower costs. That doesn't mean your dream home is unattainable, though. If you have your heart set on a house, experienced agents can help you increase the chances of your offer being taken seriously by sellers." – James Redington, Area Director, West London - Douglas & Gordon.

A few things to consider when negotiating house price  

The number of buyers looking for a new home is at a record high, and many homes have multiple interested parties who are willing to pay asking price or more to outbid the competition, so how can you stack the odds in your favour?

  1. Use a trusted estate agent as a guide: Make the most of your estate agent's expertise, local area knowledge and market know-how. They'll help you weigh up all the factors to make an informed decision and increase the chances of your offer being accepted. 
  2. Research the area: Around 11% of Brits admit they don't research areas before putting in an offer. Knowing the property value in the area can help you make a more informed decision when putting in an offer.
  3. Show them you're serious: When sellers get multiple offers, you can jump to the top of the queue by demonstrating that you're a serious and prepared buyer. If you can move fast, accommodate the seller's timescales and show proof of funds, you could use this to your advantage.

Speak to a professional agent now to land the home of your dreams, or find out how much your property is worth right now with a free valuation.  

Source: Survey results from a Douglas & Gordon poll which asked almost 700 buyers, renters, landlords and sellers how they feel about negotiating.