“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse”. Famous words by Don Vito Corleone in the Academy Award winning film ‘The Godfather’ is not applicable in today’s real world, when you have found the home of your dreams, but you could still add “subject to an RICS survey”, whichever way you look at it, the art of negotiation is a skill.

Most property is bought and sold through Estate Agents. Once you have chosen your property, you may be able to negotiate with the seller, on the asking price. Remember, whatever items that are detailed in the Estate Agent’s sales particulars, such as gas fire, fitted wardrobes, cooker, are automatically included in the offer you make. What is not included are carpets, curtains, light fittings and ‘white goods’ such as washing machines, dishwasher, fridge/freezer and other moveable items. Here are some tips in negotiating, which may assist you in getting a better deal: –

  • Before making an offer, to show good intention, it is advantageous to have a mortgage offer certificate, agreed in principle by your Bank or Building Society, subject to valuation and survey. This demonstrates to the Estate Agent and Vendor that you are in a strong position to buy and that your intentions are serious.
  • Decide if the carpets, curtains and light fittings, or any other ‘white goods’, are of interest and include this in your offer proposal. Offers normally come in three stages. The first is the ‘breaking of the ice’ to show that you are an interested party. The second offer is then your revised counter offer and your third offer will tend to be the final and best offer.
  • Once a sale price has been agreed and your offer proposal accepted, arrange to have a professional survey and valuation of the property, by a qualified member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). It is like a ‘health check’ for buildings, that could save you thousands of pounds in the future. Remember, do not rely on a mortgage survey, as this is carried out for your lender, to help them to decide if your home is one they wish to lend on and if it offers suitable security. Commissioning your own RICS survey is a simple and economic way to avoid unpleasant and perhaps costly surprises, after moving in. In some cases, it enables you to re-negotiate the price, if it reveals unexpected repairs.

You will also receive via your solicitor, a Vendors Fixtures, Fittings and Contents list, which will itemise room by room, all the items which are included in the sale. Carefully peruse these and ensure that the information is exactly as you agreed at the commencement of negotiations. As this forms part of the Contract of Sale, this ensures that the vendor is legally obliged and must leave the items listed, at the sale price agreed and is legally binding for all parties. For more information visit

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