How to play prop­erty hard­ball

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

big­gest bar­gains.

Firstly, the knowl­edge: re­search is key. Check if there’s a glut of new builds go­ing on sale si­mul­ta­ne­ously as a de­vel­op­ment phase fin­ishes, or if a newer and bet­ter equipped scheme over­laps with the one that you are con­sid­er­ing; in both cases, prices might drop in or­der to en­tice buy­ers.

Most builders post their an­nual re­ports on­line and spec­ify an­nual or quar­terly ac­count­ing pe­ri­ods. These are im­por­tant be­cause each new-build scheme has a sales tar­get to meet by these dead­lines, so big re­duc­tions could be of­fered in the weeks im­medi- ately be­fore­hand.

Like­wise when all the homes are built on a scheme but a few re­main un­sold, price cuts are likely. De­vel­op­ers have to pay for ad­ver­tis­ing, site se­cu­rity and sales staff, so if there are just a few units re­main­ing they will likely want them off their hands.

New home prices in­clude a pre­mium which, in a static mar­ket like to­day, means that they may not ap­pre­ci­ate in value with­out an ex­ten­sion or new fea­ture. The Home­Own­ers’ Al­liance, a con­sumer group, ad­vises buy­ers to look at the prop­erty with a long-term view to adding value a year or two later, per­haps by build­ing a con­ser­va­tory or con­vert­ing a loft into a bed­room. Sec­ondly, you need con­fi­dence. It is con­sid­ered very un-Bri­tish to hag­gle, even over what may be your big­gest ever pur­chase. How­ever the cur­rent ad­vice from pro­fes­sional buy­ing agents – the peo­ple who barter down house prices ev­ery day for their clients – is to play hard­ball.

Un­like sell­ing sec­ond-hand homes, where ven­dors might pre­fer “a nice fam­ily” who will use lo­cal shops and schools, the seller of a new-build home will al­most cer­tainly be a hard-nosed devel­oper or es­tate agent.

“I ap­proach the sit­u­a­tion as I would to a car sales­man, know­ing that it’s just about the money and how quickly you can get it to them,” ex­plains Henry Pryor, a buy­ing agent. He re­cently se­cured a new flat in north Lon­don for an in­vest­ment buyer at £700,000, a huge dis­count from its orig­i­nal ask­ing price of £855,000.

“Re­mem­ber, builders did their sums months or years ago when they bought the land. Many should have a mar­gin you can com­mand a slice of. Some will have got the maths wrong and will be be­ing pushed by their bank or share­hold­ers to do any deal.”

An­other buy­ing agent, Sally Fraser of Stacks Prop­erty Search, bought 10 flats in East­bourne for a land­lord. “We got 30 per cent off as it was the end of the com­pany’s fi­nan­cial year. It took some hag­gling and we had to ad­here to strict time­lines,” she says.

You don’t have to be a pro­fes­sional deal­maker to make a sav­ing, as south Lon­don hair­dresser Jane Irvine dis­cov­ered when she bought an apart­ment in Brighton last year. “I’m used to ne­go­ti­at­ing with busi­ness sup­pli­ers to get £50 off here or there, and I knew you could take the same ap­proach to de­vel­op­ers,” ex­plains Irvine.

“There was no spe­cial of­fer on the prop­erty, but as it was a sec­ond home it at­tracted more stamp duty,” she re­calls. “When I found out how much – more than £20,000 – I dug my heels in, out of frus­tra­tion. I said they should pay and guess what? They did.”

Cala has deals in East Mole­sey, main; and Dray­ton, be­low

Bar­ratt is pay­ing stamp duty at Black­fri­ars Cir­cus in Lon­don, left

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.