How to negotiate the best deal when buying a house | Finder

How to negotiate the best deal when buying a house

When you’re buying your dream home, these tactics can help you score the best deal.

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You’ve finally found a property that meets all your requirements – it’s in the right location and it has all the right features. You’re ready to make an offer, but you don’t want to pay a cent more than you have to.

Generally, negotiation is about understanding the market, finding out which experts can help you, and sticking to a budget. If you negotiate well, you can enjoy savings not only on the purchase price, but also on stamp duty and home loan interest.

Research the market

It’s impossible to work out how much a property is worth if you haven’t done your research. Inspect similar properties in the area to see how they compare to one another. What price have similar properties sold for nearby in the past few months? Which way is the property market trending in your suburb? Working out the true value of the property will give you more bargaining power when it’s time to negotiate.

Dealing with real estate agents

Remember that a real estate agent is working for the vendor, not for you. It’s the agent’s job to get the best deal for the seller, so they might use tricky tactics to get you to up your offer. Don’t feel pressured into offering more than you’re comfortable with, and don’t over-disclose when it comes to your budget or your emotional attachment to the property.

At the same time, it’s important to be upfront and open with the agent. Communicate clearly with the agent, put all offers in writing, and make yourself as easy to deal with as possible – this can help your chances if the seller is considering your offer alongside other interested buyers.

Use a buyer's agent

A buyer's agent or a buyer’s advocate can help you find the right property and then represent you throughout the negotiation process. A buyer's agent will assess different properties and negotiate the purchase of properties on your behalf.

Using a buyer’s agent also gives you the advantage of being able to access off-the-market properties which can be achieved through their industry networks.

Research the property

To work out exactly how much you should offer for a property, it’s important to take a closer look at the features and drawbacks of the property and why the vendor is selling.

Questions you should ask include:

  • Why is the vendor selling?
  • Are they looking for a quick sale?
  • How long has the property been on the market?
  • How much is the vendor expecting to sell the property for? Is that price flexible or is there room to negotiate?
  • Does the property have any known issues, such as building defects or pest problems?

The answers to all of these questions will impact upon the motivation of the seller. For example, a vendor who wants a quick sale may be more likely to accept an offer below their asking price than one who is happy to wait for the right buyer to come along.

Stick to your budget

Before you start house hunting, you need to sit down with an accountant and a financial planner to work out your budget. It’s also a good idea to speak with a mortgage broker to understand your borrowing capacity.

Make sure that you stick to that limit no matter what sort of pressures you face. Whether it’s competition from other buyers or simply the fear of missing out on your dream property, don’t sway from your budget. If the price of a property is taken out of your reach, walk away.

It’s a good idea to offer an amount less than your maximum limit. This gives you some room if the seller wants to negotiate, while it could also end up saving you a significant amount of money on the property purchase. On the other hand, if you make an offer at the upper end of your price limit, the seller may think you have room to move and you could be priced out.

Avoid offering an amount lower than the asking price. This will insult the seller and make them less likely to consider any future offers you make.

Finally, make sure you have home loan pre-approval before you make an offer.

Take emotion out of the equation

To remain cool, calm and collected during the negotiations, try to remove emotion from your decision making. Keep in mind that if you don’t secure this property, there will be many similar properties around the corner that will fit your buying criteria.

Fear of missing out (FOMO) can be a powerful motivator, especially in the excitement of an auction, so don’t let it overpower your plans or budget.

Special conditions

A good tactic in your negotiations is to include special conditions in your offer which can make you stand out from the crowd.

For example, if the vendor is keen for a quick settlement, you could indicate to their real estate agent that you are willing to finalise settlement within a reduced time frame, such as 30-40 days. Similarly, showing that you have home loan pre-approval and that you are willing to pay a large deposit can also increase your bargaining power. Of course, you’ll need to be ready to pay a deposit straight away if your offer is accepted.

Choose the right home loan

Buying a property is expensive, but even if you miss out on saving money on your purchase during the negotiation phase you can save thousands by getting the right home loan. Making simple decisions such as finding and using an offset account, putting lump sums such as bonuses and tax returns on your home loan and making payments every two weeks instead of every month can add up to save you thousands over the life of your loan. This means even if you don't succeed during the negotiation phase you can still come out in front.

Remember buying a home is a huge financial commitment. A few thousand knocked off the purchase price could save you thousands in interest repayments over the years. Arm yourself with as much information as possible, don't be pressured into bad decisions and don't be afraid to walk away from a deal.

You'd be amazed how quickly you'll stumble into another "perfect" property at the right price. Take your time, think long term and most importantly leave your emotions at the door. If you don't, you could end up paying for it decades later!

Looking for a mortgage? Compare your options now

Data updated regularly
$
years
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp. Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment
St.George Fixed Rate Advantage Package
1.84%
3.38%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
$543.64
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback
Borrowers with 20% deposits or equity can get this competitive fixed rate loan. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get up to $4,000 cashback (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply).
Westpac Flexi First Option Home Loan
2.29%
2.72%
$0
$8 monthly ($96 p.a.)
95%
$577.55
Up to $3,000 refinance cashback.
A flexible and competitive variable rate loan. Eligible borrowers refinancing $250,000 or more can get $2,000 cashback per property plus a bonus $1,000 for their first application. Other conditions apply.
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
1.75%
2.22%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$537
This very low fixed rate is only available until 29 April 2021. Other conditions apply. A competitive fixed rate loan with no ongoing fees. Requires a 20% deposit.
HSBC Fixed Rate Home Loan Package
1.88%
2.86%
$0
$390 p.a.
80%
$546.6
$3,288 refinance cashback offer
Lock in a low fixed rate for 2 years and buy your home with a 20% deposit. Eligible refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get a $3,288 cashback. Terms and conditions apply.
Suncorp Home Package Plus Fixed
1.89%
2.85%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$547.35
Lock in a low fixed rate loan for two years and get the annual package fee waived in the first year. Available for borrowers with 20% deposits.
Athena Variable Home  Loan
2.19%
2.19%
$0
$0 p.a.
60%
$569.91
Owner occupiers with 40% deposits or equity can get this competitive variable rate loan. No upfront or ongoing fees.
AMP Bank Professional Package Fixed Loan
1.99%
3.1%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$554.81
Get a low fixed rate package with no application or settlement fee. Available with a 20% deposit. Other fees and charges apply.
loans.com.au Smart Booster Discount Variable Home Loan
1.99%
2.47%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$554.81
Home buyers can get a very low discounted variable rate for the first year. This loan has a revert rate of 2.48%. Requires a 20% deposit. Add an offset account for an additional 0.10% on your interest rate.
Westpac Fixed Option Home Loan Premier Advantage Package
1.89%
3.46%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
$547.35
Up to $3,000 refinance cashback.
Eligible borrowers refinancing $250,000 or more can get up to $3,000 cashback. Other conditions apply.
Macquarie Bank Basic Fixed Home Loan
2.09%
2.43%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
$562.33
Get a low interest rate and a mortgage with flexible, basic features. No application or ongoing fees. Requires a 30% deposit. Refinancers can switch with a convenient digital application.
St.George Basic Home Loan
2.49%
2.51%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$593.01
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback
Get this low-rate variable loan with a 20% deposit and pay $0 application fee. Borrow from $150k (or $250k to be eligible for the cashback offer) (terms, conditions & exclusions apply).
UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate
2.34%
2.34%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$581.39
Enjoy flexible repayments, a redraw facility and the ability to split your loan. Plus, pay no application or ongoing fees.
HSBC Home Value Loan
2.44%
2.45%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$589.12
$3,288 refinance cashback offer
Get a low interest variable rate loan with no ongoing fees. Plus you can make extra repayments and free redraw online. If you're refinancing $250,000 or above you can get a $3,288 cashback. Terms and conditions apply.
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
1.99%
2.33%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$554.81
Fix your mortgage for 1 year with a very competitive rate and no ongoing fees.
Suncorp Home Package Plus Fixed
2.28%
3.15%
$0
$375 p.a.
80%
$576.78
Lock in a low fixed rate loan for three years and get the annual package fee waived in the first year. Available for borrowers with 10% deposits.
homeloans.com.au Low Rate Home Loan with Offset
2.14%
2.16%
$0
$0 p.a.
60%
$566.11
A competitive rate with no application or ongoing fees. This loan is not available for construction.
Greater Bank Great Rate Fixed Home Loan
1.69%
3.49%
$0
$0 p.a.
110%
$532.6
Requires a family member to act as guarantor.
Get one of the lowest rates on the market with this fixed rate mortgage and borrow more with help from a family guarantor. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
Macquarie Bank Basic Home Loan
2.49%
2.49%
$0
$0 p.a.
60%
$593.01
A competitive variable rate home loan for owner-occupiers. Requires a 40% deposit. Refinancers can switch with a convenient digital application.
Suncorp Back to Basics Home Loan
2.44%
2.45%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$589.12
A competitive variable interest rate loan with low fees. The establishment fee is waived if you borrow $150,000 or more.
IMB Fixed Rate Home Loan
1.97%
2.81%
$449
$6 monthly ($72 p.a.)
95%
$553.31
NSW and ACT customers only. 3 years fixed interest terms and free access to redraw facility online. Available with a 10% deposit.
Virgin Money Reward Me Fixed Rate Home Loan
1.94%
2.77%
$300
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
80%
$551.07
$3,000 refinance cashback.
Buy your home and lock in a low rate for the first two years. Get a $3,000 cashback when you switch to Virgin Money with a loan amount of $300,000 or more with an LVR up to 80%. You must apply by 28 May 2021 and settle by 27 August 2021.
Bank of Melbourne Basic Home Loan
2.49%
2.51%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$593.01
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback
A competitive variable rate loan. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get up to $4,000 cashback (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply).
homeloans.com.au Low Rate Home Loan with Offset
2.24%
2.26%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
$573.72
This loan offers a competitive variable rate and a 100% offset account to help save you on interest repayments. This loan is not available for construction.
BankSA Basic Home Loan
2.49%
2.51%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$593.01
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback
A competitive variable rate loan from BankSA. Refinancers borrowing $200,000 or more can get up to $4,000 cashback (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply).
Bank of Melbourne Advantage Package Fixed Home Loan
1.94%
3.21%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
$551.07
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback
Lock in a low fixed rate loan for four years. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get up to $4,000 cashback (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply).
CUA Achieve Variable Home Loan
2.35%
2.4%
$600
$0 p.a.
95%
$582.16
Home buyers can get a competitive, low-fee variable rate plus a 100% offset account. Low deposit option available. Eligible new home buyers with low deposits can apply for the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme with this lender and avoid LMI costs. Eligible refinancers can get a $2,000 pre-paid credit card when they switch to CUA.
Westpac Fixed Option Home Loan Premier Advantage Package
1.99%
3.29%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
$554.81
Up to $3,000 refinance cashback. Lock in a very low rate for four years with this owner occupier loan. Eligible borrowers refinancing $250,000 or more can get up to $3,000 cashback. Other conditions apply.
BankSA Advantage Package Fixed Home Loan
1.89%
3.43%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
$547.35
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback.
Fix to a low rate for two years and forget about rate rises. Refinancers borrowing $200,000 or more can get up to $4,000 cashback (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply).
Bank of Melbourne Advantage Package Fixed Home Loan
1.84%
3.38%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
$543.64
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback
Get a competitive home loan rate for two years. Requires at least a 20% deposit. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get up to $4,000 cashback (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply).
loans.com.au Fixed
1.99%
2.7%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$554.81
Home buyers can lock in this low fixed rate for two years. This loan also allows extra repayments. Requires a 20% deposit.
BankSA Advantage Package Fixed Home Loan
1.99%
3.26%
$0
$395 p.a.
$554.81
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback
A competitive fixed rate loan. Refinancers borrowing $200,000 or more can get up to $4,000 cashback (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply).
Heritage Bank Fixed Rate Home Loan
2.19%
4.23%
$600
$8 monthly ($96 p.a.)
95%
$569.91
Get a partial offset account and the option to make interest-only repayments.
St.George Fixed Rate Advantage Package
1.94%
3.21%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
$551.07
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback
Lock in a very low rate for four years. Requires a 20% deposit. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get up to $4,000 cashback (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply).
Athena Variable Home  Loan
2.24%
2.21%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
$573.72
A low variable rate for owner occupiers with 30% deposits. No upfront or ongoing fees.
Newcastle Permanent Building Society  Premium Plus Package Fixed Rate
2.28%
3.84%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
$576.78
$2,000 refinance cashback
Enjoy a competitive rate with no application fee for this package loan. $2,000 cashback for eligible refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more.
Greater Bank Great Rate Discount Variable with Family Pledge Home Loan
2.59%
2.6%
$0
$0 p.a.
110%
$600.83
Pay no deposit or LMI and get a discounted rate with this family pledge loan. Requires a family member to act as guarantor. NSW, QLD and ACT only.
IMB Budget Home Loan
2.58%
2.64%
$449
$0 p.a.
80%
$600.05
A competitive variable rate for borrowers with 20% deposits saved. Available for NSW and ACT borrowers only.
homeloans.com.au Low Rate Home Loan with Offset
2.69%
2.52%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$608.71
A competitive rate with no application or ongoing fee. This loan is not available for construction.
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
2.14%
2.35%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$566.11
A one year fixed rate offer with no ongoing bank fees.
Heritage Bank Discount Variable Home Loan
2.59%
2.64%
$600
$0 p.a.
80%
$600.83
Family guarantee option available. Enjoy flexible repayments and a low minimum loan amount.
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
2.14%
2.71%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$566.11
Investors can enjoy flexible repayments and an easy application process with this pioneering online lender.
Heritage Bank Advantage Package Fixed
2.39%
3.15%
$0
$350 p.a.
95%
$585.25
Get a partial offset account and flexible repayments with this package loan.
Macquarie Bank Offset Home Loan Package
2.49%
2.76%
$0
$0 p.a.
60%
$593.01
A sharp variable rate with low fees for borrowers with 40% deposits or refinancers with equity in their properties. Refinancers can switch with a convenient digital application.
Tic:Toc Live-in Loan Fixed Rate Home Loan
1.89%
2.15%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
$547.35
Get a very low interest rate and pay no application, settlement or valuation fees. Apply online for full approval in real time and add a 100% offset account for $10 a month.
loans.com.au Smart Booster Discount Variable Home Loan
1.99%
2.71%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$554.81
If you have an owner occupier loan with loans.com.au you can also get this very low rate variable mortgage for your investment property. Principal and interest repayments. Add an offset account for an additional 0.10% on your interest rate.
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Real Deal Home Loan
2.59%
2.63%
$595
$0 p.a.
80%
$600.83
$2,000 refinance cashback
$2,000 cashback for eligible refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more.
St.George Basic Home Loan
2.54%
2.56%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
$596.91
$2,000 cashback.
With this competitive variable rate loan from St.George, refinancers borrowing $250,000+ can get a $2,000 cashback (terms, conditions & exclusions apply)
Bankwest Complete Home Loan Package Variable
2.55%
3.01%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
$597.7
$2,000 refinance cashback.
Eligible customers who apply to move their home loan to Bankwest by 30 June 2021 can get a $2,000 cashback. To qualify you must refinance a minimum loan amount of $250,000 or more with an LVR of 80% or lower. The loan must be funded by 31 August 2021 (other terms, conditions and exlcusions apply).
Macquarie Bank Basic Fixed Home Loan
2.19%
2.53%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$569.91
Borrow up to $750,000 with this basic 3 years fixed rate home loan. Refinancers can switch with a convenient digital application.
IMB Budget Home Loan
2.68%
2.74%
$449
$0 p.a.
95%
$607.92
NSW and ACT customers only. You can get an interest rate discount for a limited time with this competitive variable mortgage.
homeloans.com.au Low Rate Home Loan with Offset
2.59%
2.61%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
$600.83
Save on interest with a free 100% offset account and buy your property with just a 10% deposit. This loan is not available for construction.
Bank of Melbourne Basic Home Loan
2.54%
2.56%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
$596.91
$2,000 cashback
A competitive variable rate loan. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get a $2,000 cashback (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply).
Virgin Money Reward Me Variable Home Loan
2.59%
2.76%
$300
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
60%
$600.83
$3,000 refinance cashback.
A variable rate loan for owner occupiers with a 40% deposit (or equity) borrowing under $500,000. Get a $3,000 cashback when you switch to Virgin Money with a loan amount of $300,000 or more with an LVR up to 80%. You must apply by 28 May 2021 and settle by 27 August 2021.
Athena Variable Home  Loan
2.54%
2.54%
$0
$0 p.a.
60%
$596.91
Investors with large 40% deposits or equity can get this low variable rate. A competitive option for investors looking to refinance.
UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate
2.74%
2.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$612.67
Get a discounted, low-fee investor loan from a convenient online lender. 20% deposit required.
Newcastle Permanent Building Society  Premium Plus Package Fixed Rate
2.19%
3.72%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
$569.91
$2,000 refinance cashback
Enjoy a discounted fixed rate and the ability to package the loan with other financial products. $2,000 cashback for eligible refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more.
Athena Variable Home  Loan
2.59%
2.56%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
$600.83
Athena's refinance offer for investors and owner occupiers.
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan
2.29%
3.94%
$595
$0 p.a.
95%
$577.55
$2,000 refinance cashback
Borrow up to 95% LVR of the value of the property you're buying and pay no ongoing fees. $2,000 cashback for eligible refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more.
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
2.09%
2.6%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$562.33
Pay no ongoing fees on this competitive investment loan and fix your rate for 3 years.
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan
2.38%
4.11%
$595
$0 p.a.
90%
$584.48
$2,000 refinance cashback
Competitive fixed rate for home buyers.Available with a 10% deposit.$2,000 cashback for eligible refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more.
Athena Variable Home  Loan
2.64%
2.59%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$604.76
A competitive investor variable rate that falls as you build equity.
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Premium Plus Package Home Loan
2.94%
3.34%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
$628.65
$2,000 refinance cashback
New borrowers or refinancers can get a discounted rate with this package loan. $2,000 cashback for eligible refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more.
HSBC Home Value Loan
2.54%
2.55%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
$596.91
A competitive value home loan with no ongoing fee.
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
2.24%
2.64%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$573.72
Pay no ongoing fees on this investment loan fixed for 3 years.
Macquarie Bank Basic Home Loan
2.64%
2.64%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$604.76
Pay no application and ongoing fees and take advantage of split and redraw options. Refinancers can switch with a convenient digital application.
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
2.09%
2.3%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$562.33
A competitive 3 year fixed rate with no ongoing bank fees.
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