51% of recent first-time home purchasers regret not negotiating, says study


Just over half of recent first-time buyers regret not negotiating with the seller before buying their home, a survey has found.

Some 51% of those who had bought their first property in the last five years regretted not trying to hammer out a better deal, Barclays Mortgages found.

Two-thirds (66%) of those surveyed said they would like to learn more about negotiation skills.

A fast-moving market in some areas may be putting buyers off trying to negotiate, with 85% of those surveyed describing the current property market as "extremely competitive".

Peter Brooks, Barclays' behavioural finance expert, said: "Buying a property is the biggest investment of most people's lives and it's imperative that the negotiation process is approached with a healthy combination of pragmatism and fearlessness.

"The biggest mistake many first-time buyers make is to rush into decisions and then panic once they have been made."

Some 750 people who had bought a property in the past five years took part in the survey.

Here are 10 tips from Mr Brooks for buyers to boost their negotiating skills:

1. Be clear and assertive. When buying a property, many parties are involved meaning miscommunication is common. Being clear, decisive and assertive will ensure a faster process which the seller will ultimately appreciate.

2. Be a good listener. An estate agent is always looking to secure a deal. They will often share insights into the seller's thinking, providing tips on their priorities and clinch points to secure the sale.

3. Do your research. Many online tools allow prospective buyers to see average selling prices, school catchment areas and crime rates in the local area. Buyers can use this knowledge as negotiation ammunition.

4. Be optimistic but always be willing to walk away. There are plenty more opportunities out there if this one does not go to plan.

5. Play your cards close to your chest. Disclosing your maximum budget or how quickly you want to move gives others the upper hand, which may result in you paying more than required.

6. Be prepared to make multiple offers. Remember that this is a two-way deal and you both want the best possible result. This could mean multiple offers are required to secure the property.

7. Keep trying. Do not feel defeated if you are unable to negotiate on the offer price. Your initial offer is not your only opportunity to negotiate. A professional survey on the property might find issues that need addressing, which you can use to negotiate the final sale price.

8. Know your limits and stick to a budget. Save money for hidden costs - including surveys, insurance, removals and solicitor's fees.

9. Be patient. Buying a new property can be time-consuming and frustrating. It can take time to find the right mortgage rate or property. It can be easy to forget that both parties want the same outcome - a successful sale.

10. Do not take it personally. Buying a new home should be seen as a smart investment. To help reign in emotions, invite someone else to view the property with you to provide a more practical opinion.