31 May 2017
Charm is a way of getting the answer ‘Yes’ without asking a clear question, or so said philosopher Albert Camus. With that in mind, it makes perfect sense to try and charm the estate agent who’s dealing with your dream home.
The estate agent has a lot of influence with the seller so it does no harm to win them over, although giving them flowers and chocolates is probably overkill. It might work but we wouldn’t necessarily recommend it.
Have the finance in place
It pays to have your mortgage approved in principle before you think about viewing houses. Some estate agents won’t even show houses to people who haven’t been mortgage approved. It’s a competitive market, they’ve a long list of prospective viewers and they’ve no time to indulge tyre kickers.
Viewing houses without approval can also lead to disappointment if you find your dream home but it sells before you can arrange things with your lender. As Roy Keane* said, “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” So get everything organised, show the agent that you’re a serious buyer and be prepared to move when you see something you like.
It’s nice to be nice
It’s a simple thing but being polite and friendly to the estate agent can only help your cause. The agent represents the seller so it pays to keep them on side.
This is no place for cut-throat negotiation tactics or for couples to test out their good cop/bad cop routine with a bemused agent. Complaining loudly about the house’s “flaws” is not going to endear you to anyone either.
It’s a competitive market so agents have little reason to put up with rude behaviour. Ultimately, their opinion carries weight with the seller so your chances of success will plummet if they flag you as someone who could be a problem.
Some people say that you should feign disinterest to drive down the price but this kind of amateur dramatics is not particularly effective. The estate agent won’t be impressed if you keep tutting or shaking your head.
If you like a place, say so. The other people viewing a house are your competition so it pays to be honest and clear about your intentions. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t negotiate on price but it’s okay to register your interest.
Have a chat
Develop a rapport with the agent to find out vital information that could help you secure your home.
Ask them about the seller’s situation, how long it’s been on the market, if there have been any offers and whether there’s room for negotiation.
It’s perfectly acceptable to express an interest but ask if there’s any movement on the price. Their reaction can be a clue when deciding what to bid. Sometimes, the estate agent wants to market the house at a lower price but is overruled by the vendor so it’s good to suss out their opinion.
Taking the time to chat and get friendly has obvious advantages. Use the opportunity to get as much information as possible and you could discover something that will help you get a better price.
Play it cool
Sure, it pays to be nice and to express an interest but don’t be confused into thinking that the estate agent’s on your side. Never reveal your financial situation, your budget or the amount that you’re willing to spend.
Phrases like “I have to have it at any cost” are going to completely remove your bargaining power.
If a seller knows that you absolutely love a place, you can say goodbye to your negotiating edge.
Keep your counsel and remember that the estate agent is working to get the best deal for their client, not for you.
Bid early and go low
Be prepared to dance for a while before you go in with your highest offer. Bid early and bid below the asking price to take the initiative and set down a marker for other interested parties.
The estate agent would obviously like the first bid to be above the asking price but you need to judge your bid so that it leaves you room for manoeuvre. You want to show them that you’re interested but don’t over commit yourself. It still leaves room to make a higher offer.
Dealing with an estate agent doesn’t have to be an intimidating interaction. They’re there to facilitate the process so have a chat, find out what you need to know and make sure that your dealings with them are polite and friendly.
Are you thinking of buying your own home?
So now that you’re ready to woo some estate agents, all that’s left to do is to find out if you’re eligible for a mortgage. It couldn’t be easier.
Get the ball rolling with our First Time Buyer guide.
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The content of this blog is expressed in broad terms and is limited to general information purposes only. Readers should always seek professional advice to address issues arising in specific contexts and not seek to rely on the information in this blog which does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by EBS d.a.c.
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secretly might, but it doesn't mean they endorse us.