First Home Buyers Negotiating with real estate agents

Negotiating With Real Estate Agents

Real estate agents typically work for the vendor, so home buyers should be cautious when dealing with them. It is still worth putting questions to the agent, but just remember not to take everything they say as gospel.

Also remember that while agents work for the vendor, you are the one with the money. You have considerable power and should use it to your advantage. Here are some questions and negotiating tips to help you get the most out of real estate agents and hopefully the best price.


  • Why is the vendor selling? Depending on the vendor's circumstances, such as deceased estates, liquidation and divorce, you may be able to negotiate a better price. Don't rely on the estate agent's word. Ask a neighbour.
  • How long has the property been on the market? If it has been on the market for a long time, it may indicate a problem with the house. If not, it may mean the vendor will be keener to negotiate on the price.
  • Is the vendor negotiable on the price? See if there is flexibility.
  • How soon does the owner need to move out? If the owner is in a hurry, he or she will probably be more open to bargaining. If you have cash, it also means you may be favoured over another buyer.
  • Who set the price on this property? The owner may have set the price themselves, which may be unrealistic and outside market value. The agent may disagree with the asking price and be prepared to help with negotiations.
  • How much do you think the property will sell for? This may give you an idea of the disparity between the asking price and the genuine market price.
  • What else do you have at this price? And what else is in the market right now? This lets the agent know you are not committed to the property.
  • What comes with the property? Try and pin down as many things as possible: carpets, curtains, light fittings, kitchen and bathroom fittings, beautiful features like stained glass windows that the vendors might want to take with them. Unusual plants, ride-on-mowers, sheds, custom-fit dishwashers, ovens, microwaves, fridges, etc.
  • If you are using a buyers' agent, make sure that the property is not being sold by the same agent or agency. This is called dual-listing and represents a conflict of interest.
  • Ask them straight out if there are any problems with the property. By doing this, you can avoid the expense of pulling out after building inspections, etc. Make it clear that if you proceed and problems emerge, you will quit the deal and go to another agent.
  • Will the home be in the same condition when I take ownership? Be sure to schedule a walk-through inspection prior to closing.


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