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Failing to negotiate could be costing homeowners £40,000

·3-min read
One in five Brits said in a survey they don't know how to negotiate. Photo: Getty Images
One in five Brits said in a survey they don't know how to negotiate. Photo: Getty Images

Brits shy away from negotiating when buying a home and this cold be costing them as much as £40,000 ($55,121), a new report from Barclays (BARC.L) Mortgages revealed.

It found that nearly a third (30%) of British homeowners did not negotiate at all on the price of their current property.

Over half (52%) vowed to negotiate more on their next home so as to not miss out on “crucial savings.”

They said their aim was to knock an average 18% off their next property purchase, the equivalent of £40,000 based on the average UK house price, or the average cost of a loft conversion.

Those aged between 25 and 34 are even more committed to striking a deal on their next property, with 60% determined to haggle more on their next home.

More than a third (35%) of homeowners in this age group said they had to spend more of their savings to afford the house they wanted.

Watch: How much money do I need to buy a house?

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There are many reasons Brits don’t negotiate, the report said. One is a simple lack of knowledge, with over one in five Brits (22%) confessing they just don’t know how to go about doing it.

Others include fear of losing the property (17%); fatigue at the process of buying and just wanting it over with (10%); finding negotiating embarrassing (8%) or intimidating and scary (8%).

A factor was also not wanting to upset the seller (7%).

The report said homeowners aged 25 to 34 experience the most anxiety or stress when negotiating, compared with those aged 65-plus who are much more comfortable with the process.

Rob Smith, head of behavioural science at Barclays, noted that Brits are probably “more likely to negotiate on a used car than we are on a property, highlighting the unique emotional nature of one of the biggest purchases people make in their lifetime

“Understandably the process can feel daunting, particularly if you fear losing out on your dream home, but a successful negotiation can result in extra money to bolster your family finances or invest back into your home,” he said.

Smith recommends never entering a negotiation without having done extensive research. For example, he says it is important to check out the surrounding area and what the houses are like, look at the local schools, shops and facilities, and crime rate.

It is also important to know how long the property has been on the market, and if the price has been reduced already.

“You should come armed with the information, as well as questions or issues you want to raise,” he said.

Another tip is to know exactly what one wants out of the property, and what one’s financial limits are. Being patient is also key so as not to be pressured to make an offer that may be later regretted.

Meanwhile, Britain’s housing market boom continues to cool as the latest lockdown restrictions send a “chill cloud” over the sector, surveyors and estate agents said last month.

The scale of the surge in property-buying activity in the second half of 2020 surprised economists amid a severe economic downturn, with huge demand for home moves since COVID-19 hit and savings from stamp duty cuts.

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