Have you had the experience of missing out on a property you loved? Made several offers on properties, none of which were successful? Found that properties are consistently selling for more than what you want to pay?

Let me ask you this: is it possible that your need for a deal is getting in the way of buying yourself or your family a home?

Here’s the scenario: A well priced property gets listed on the market.  There’s a strong turnout at the home open. There’s interest in the property from multiple parties.  You’re keen, but you want to get it for a “good” price even though you can afford to go a little higher.  The agent tells you that there’s already an offer on the table and to put your best foot forward. You make an offer but you know it’s not your best one – you don’t want to pay more if you don’t have to, or they might choose to counter.  You get the call from the agent and they say you missed out – the other buyer offered more and the seller chose their’s instead.

When it comes to buying property there are rarely second chances.  And there’s no point saying afterward that you could have gone a little higher – the contract has been signed and the deal’s been done.

Now, I get that people have budgets, and that sometimes you fall in love with a property that’s outside your budget but decide to make a low offer anyway on the outside chance the seller says yes.  I get that some people don’t trust an agent when they’re told that there’s another offer on the table, or that some people don’t want to reveal how much they can really afford or are prepared to pay.

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What I don’t get is when buyers like a home, recognise that it’s realistically priced, but then make a low ball offer on it anyway.  I don’t get buyers who don’t offer what they’re really prepared to pay despite the fact that they’re in competition for a property. I don’t get buyers that put their need to win at all costs before the need to buy their family their dream home, and I definitely don’t get the buyers that dither for days about making an offer and then get upset when they’re beaten to it, particularly when you let them know what was happening!

So if your need for a deal is costing you deals, here are some tips for you:

  • Accept when something is already good value. If you’ve done your research of the local area (and by local I mean that specific street and the surrounding streets, not general suburb data that doesn’t take into account local variances) and you know a home is appropriately priced – it’s already a good buy. And the sellers and their Agent will know that too. If this is the case don’t try and low-ball on price or play win-lose. Low-balling gets sellers angry and offside and pretty much throws any hope of a deal out the window. The seller will typically counter your low offer with an unrealistic, much higher one to try and drag you up (or not deal with your offer at all), you’ll complain about the response (or lack thereof) and the whole drags out or ends in tears because each party believes the other is being unreasonable.
  • Forget plan B.  Yes, if you miss out on a property there will always be something else that comes along, but more likely you’ll probably look back and rue the day that you missed out on buying that ideal home.
  • If it’s meant to be it’s up to me. If you want something to happen you need to make it happen – a house doesn’t get bought and a good buy doesn’t happen without you knowing the market and taking some action.
  • Treat the selling agent with respect. Remember that it’s the agent you’re dealing with that’s presenting your offer. Most sellers ask questions about who they might be selling to.  If you’ve been difficult to deal with or given the agent a hard time, what might be the consequences? If there’s more than one buyer and the offers are substantially the same (price, conditions etc.), who’s the seller more likely to give the nod?
  • Just because something is cheap doesn’t mean it’s a good deal. I would gladly pay that bit more for a home with better bones (good room sizes, workable floorplan, no dodgy add-on’s) or a better quality location than buy something just because it’s cheap.  Make sure you weigh up that short term saving versus the potential longer term cost before you decide on what’s the better deal.

And if you’re wired to only buy bargains or play hardball…

  • Start by looking at the bottom. By that I mean change your search criteria to specifically seek out properties that have been on the market the longest.  Sites like reiwa.com and realestate.com.au give you the option to re-order listings from Oldest to Newest as well as vice versa. If you’re desperate to find a bargain, you’ve got more chance of finding one with something that’s been on the market for a while and had several price adjustments than one that’s just listed.

Try and buy a property for the best possible price by all means, but don’t sacrifice the end goal and right home all because of your desire to get a “deal”.