10 tips for negotiating with a new build property sales consultant
Negotiating on a new build property is commonplace, but securing the best deal isn’t always easy when you’re faced with a trained and experienced sales negotiator. Here we offer some tips on how to succeed…
1) Visit the development during off-peak times
Firstly, try to pick quieter times to visit the development’s office / show home. During peak periods, such as weekends, the sales rep might afford you less time or could be more eager to speak to the abundance of other potential buyers who are milling around.
Whilst weekends might often be most convenient for you, this is likely to be one of the largest financial commitments you ever make and so taking off a few hours in the week could pay dividends, by enabling you to get more of the attention you deserve.
2) Be personable
Remember that it pays to be nice. Sales negotiators are human too, and building up a good rapport with them will undoubtedly work in your favour.
3) Be neither passive nor aggressive
Leading on from the previous point, a blend of assertiveness and charm is best. If you need to brush up on your negotiation technique, try these tips from Harvard Law School.
4) Curb your enthusiasm
Even if you’re extremely keen to buy from the developer, never give that impression to the sales rep.
It also certainly doesn’t hurt for the sales consultant to be made aware that you’re shopping around (even if you’re not). Name drop a few other developments or even overtly carry a few competitors’ brochures with you when you view.
5) State your budget
Telling the negotiator how much you can afford is often a softer and easier way of telling them how much you’re prepared to pay.
Furthermore, stating a ‘maximum budget’ up front suggests that you haven’t got lots of extra funds at your disposal and minimises the chances of being unnecessarily upsold. How much more above this ‘maximum’ you can or are willing to give as negotiations evolve is of course at your discretion.
6) Persistence pays
Be (pleasantly) persistent during your negotiations. Accept that they’re not going to give in to things easily – after all, negotiation is their job and they’ve most probably got more experience at it than you.
7) Some negotiators are keener to do a deal than others
Sales negotiators are usually target driven and so how willing they are to haggle could depend on how good their month has been. It could also depend on a variety of other factors, including how well overall the development is selling, what stage or phase the development is at, what their margin target is and more.
You’ll never know the answers to many of these variables but the most important thing is to go in to discussions with the mindset that you can probably get a better deal on your desired house or flat than what is initially offered to you.
8) Be realistic and reasonable
Remember that developers don’t make huge profits – 20% is a common margin - and so scope for negotiations does have its limits, to a greater or lesser extent.
9) Be prepared to leave an offer on the table
Most sales negotiators will only have so much bandwidth / authority to haggle. However, if they feel it’s appropriate they’ll usually have superiors, such as an area manager, sales director or someone at head office that they can confer with. Always allow them the leeway to do this.
What’s more, sometimes an initial “no” can turn in to a “yes” once the developer has had time to ponder and it’s certainly not unheard of for prospective buyers to be contacted some weeks after making an offer which was initially declined.
10) Finally, if you don’t ask…
The odds of negotiating something are usually in your favour, although a variety of factors will dictate to what extent this is possible. That said, on occasions there is significant scope.
If you were buying an older property, making a cheeky offer to a private seller can sometimes cause offence. However, this isn’t the case with a builder’s sales representative, which means making an ambitious offer doesn’t feel as awkward.
It’s plausible under some circumstances that bold offers will be accepted and this is certainly the experience of many new build buyers in the past, who have secured significant discounts or add-ons.
Business is business and the worst they can say is no, although you might just be very pleasantly surprised.