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Would you haggle on a house price? We reveal the do’s and don’ts of negotiating

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Many Britons could be at risk of paying over the odds on their house purchases, with 30 per cent of homeowners saying they did not negotiate at all on the price of their current property.

A huge stumbling block for many was their lack of knowledge, with more than one in five confessing that they didn’t know how to negotiate according to research by Barclays. 

It also revealed that homeowners aged between 25 and 34 experienced the most anxiety and stress when trying to haggle down the price of their home, compared to those aged 65-plus who said they were much more comfortable with the process.

UK home buyers often feel too embarrassed to negotiate on price, according to Barclays

UK home buyers often feel too embarrassed to negotiate on price, according to Barclays

Fear of losing the property, impatience with the buying process and embarrassment over negotiating were all cited as common reasons why home buyers refrained from haggling.

Some admitted they had found the thought of negotiating to be intimidating or scary, whilst others were concerned about upsetting the seller.

‘Our research has found that a considerable number of Britons lack the skills or confidence needed to negotiate successfully on the price of their home,’ said Rob Smith, head of behavioural science at Barclays.

‘We are 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.’

How you can get negotiation-ready

1. First and foremost, do your research to determine how the property compares to similar homes for sale in the area.

‘I advise looking at a number of properties before offering,’ says Nigel Bishop, a property search consultant at Recoco. ‘The more properties you see in a given area, the better sense you’ll get of what you should be paying.’

It is also possible to get a sense of current prices in the area by looking online.

‘Look on the online portals such as Rightmove or Zoopla, and look at sold prices over the past two years within the postcode you are looking to buy in. This will give you a greater feel for what the price should be,’ says Bishop.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask the seller’s estate agent prying questions about how long the property has been on the market, why the vendor is selling and whether they already have their next home secured.

‘Ask the estate agent what the sellers’ motivations are and try and make your offer accommodate them,’ says buying agent Henry Pryor.

‘Find out whether the seller needs a quick sale, and if they have had any other interest or offers.

‘If there have been other offers, find out whether these were unacceptable because the buyer wasn’t able to proceed, or because they just didn’t offer enough.

Finding out what other local properties are selling for is a good starting point for negotiations

Finding out what other local properties are selling for is a good starting point for negotiations

‘Agents will often say, “We have had two offers that have been turned down” – but won’t tell you what the reason was unless asked.’

3. If you want to negotiate, it is important to ensure you are in a position where you can actually proceed with a purchase.

‘Make sure you either have already agreed the sale of your own property, or that you have a mortgage agreement in principle,’ says Bishop.

Who are the UK’s most confident negotiators?

Residents of the port cities of Plymouth and Bristol are Britain’s most confident negotiators with 51 percent and 42 per cent backing their respective haggling skills according to Barclays. 

But residents of Edinburgh and Nottingham are the least confident in their ability to strike a deal, with only 24 per cent and 29 per cent confident in driving down property prices.

‘The key to any property negotiation is to prove you can proceed and, if you can’t, I would suggest you hang back from any property until you can.’

4. Decide what the maximum is that you are prepared to pay and don’t allow yourself to be bullied by the estate agent.

‘Even if you won the lottery last weekend, the fact that you can afford to pay more doesn’t mean that you have to,’ says Pryor.

‘The estate agent’s job is to pick your pocket until you say no, so the sooner you tell them that this is your limit, the quicker they will turn on the seller and force them to come down to your level.’

5. It can be unwise to insult the seller with an outrageously cheeky offer, so it is best to be realistic when offering under the asking price.

‘Typically, about 10-15 per cent under the asking price is an acceptable place to start,’ says Bishop, ‘but there is a danger of offering too low.

‘If you insult the seller with a very low offer, you might find they lose their trust in you as a credible buyer.’

‘You can also alienate the estate agents because, in the future, when you ask to look at another property, they will see you coming and be less responsive or helpful.’

6. Remember, you can re-negotiate until the exchange of contracts.

‘Because of the way we sell homes in England, you can actually re-negotiate or withdraw at any time without penalty before you have exchanged contracts,’ says Pryor.

‘But it is always better to have done all your homework before you get into paying costs or making a legal commitment.’

If any structural issues are picked up in the survey, this might give you a reason to re-negotiate

If any structural issues are picked up in the survey, this might give you a reason to re-negotiate

A common reason why you might want to re-negotiate after having an initial offer accepted is if the building survey throws up costly maintenance issues. 

Bishop adds: ‘If a surveyor comes back and says you will need a new roof in 10 years, then get a quote and re-negotiate.’

7. Finally, don’t get too carried away by the negotiation itself and remember this is about you, your home and your life.

‘Negotiation is a psychological game and some people want to feel like they have won,’ says Bishop.

‘There are some vendors who, no matter what you offer, will want more: so just have the maximum figure in mind that you’re prepared to offer, and don’t allow yourself to get carried away.’

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Social Democrats activists consider deferring request on leadership contest

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A group of Social Democrats activists who want to see a leadership election in the party is looking at deferring their request to consider such a contest until after a new general secretary is appointed to the party.

A draft letter to the party’s national executive, signed by two councillors and 14 others, seeking the leadership contest emerged on Friday evening.

The letter, which has not been sent to party authorities, requested the national executive meet to hold a vote to call a leadership election.

It pays tribute to the party’s current co-leaders Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall, who it states “have done exceptional work”, but adds that “it is now time to move to the next stage”.

The party released a statement later the same evening saying its TDs are “united behind co-leaders Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall”. This statement was shared on Twitter by all six of the party’s Dáil Deputies.

One of the councillors who signed the draft letter, Kildare representative Chris Pender, responded with his own social media post saying: “Anyone who’s read the letter will know it states we don’t have an issue with the leaders, but we believe in the democratic right to vote for that/those leaders.

“A leadership contest would give members the opportunity to show support for the current leaders, if that’s what they want.”

Cllr Cat O’Driscoll, who sits on Dublin City Council, was the other public representative who signed the draft letter.

Motivations

Sources insisted the motivations behind seeking a contest include giving the Social Democrats’ membership a say in who leads the party, as well as an issue of timing. They say with no general election expected imminently, it would give the next leader time to prepare.

It was also revealed on Friday that Brian Sheehan, a former director of the Yes Equality campaign, is to step down from his role as Social Democrats general secretary in early September. The decision is not connected with the call for a leadership election and those behind the draft letter were unaware of Mr Sheehan’s decision to leave the job.

However, it has prompted a rethink of the request for a leadership contest.

The Irish Times understands the activists are considering a new version of the letter that takes Mr Sheehan’s departure into account and would not seek a discussion about a leadership contest until after his successor is in place and has had some time in the job. A source suggested the approach with any new letter would be “a bit more cautious”.

On Monday, a party spokeswoman ruled out any contest for the leadership, either before or after the appointment of a new general secretary.

“The rules of the party state any leader must be a TD and all of our TDs are united in their support for the party leadership. The general secretary position is entirely unrelated to the party leadership,” she said.

Ms Murphy and Ms Shortall have jointly led the Social Democrats since its establishment in 2015.


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Instagrammer captures abandoned Welsh property in series of eerie photographs

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Who would live in a house like this? Instagrammer photographs abandoned Welsh property – complete with a bottle of Champagne for ‘Grandad’s’ 90th birthday, dishes still in the sink and a newspaper dating back to 1956

  • Photographs reveal the rooms have been untouched for decades and house opened bottle of Champagne  
  • Discovery was made by Instagrammer Kyle Urbex while exploring the countryside in Flintshire, North Wales 
  • Kyle said: ‘Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory’ 
  • ***Do YOU know who lived in the abandoned house? Contact izzy.nikolic@mailonline.co.uk*** 

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An abandoned Welsh house has been captured in a series of eerie photographs complete with a bottle of Champagne for ‘Grandad’s’ 90th birthday and dishes still in the sink.  

Photographs reveal rooms that have been untouched for decades and reveal a bottle of bubbly with a sticker which reads: ‘Happy 90th Birthday. Sorry I can’t be there to drink this with you! Lots of love James xxx.’  

The property has been dubbed ‘Granddad’s abandoned house’ after it was discovered tucked away in the woods. 

A piano can also be seen with sheet music still in place along with clothes hanging up and dishes still in the sink.

Photographs reveal rooms that have been untouched for decades and reveal a bottle of bubbly with a sticker which reads: 'Happy 90th Birthday. Sorry I can't be there to drink this with you! Lots of love James xxx'

Pictured: A piano can also be seen with sheet music still in place along with clothes hanging up

Photographs reveal rooms that have been untouched for decades and reveal a bottle of bubbly with a sticker which reads: ‘Happy 90th Birthday. Sorry I can’t be there to drink this with you! Lots of love James xxx’

The property has been dubbed 'Granddad's abandoned house' after it was discovered tucked away in the woods. Pictured: The exterior of the property

The property has been dubbed ‘Granddad’s abandoned house’ after it was discovered tucked away in the woods. Pictured: The exterior of the property 

Random debris including a broken bicycle, piping, empty tins and folding tables and chairs were left strewn throughout the house

The discovery was made by Instagrammer Kyle Urbex (pictured) while he was exploring the countryside in Flintshire, North Wales

Random debris including a broken bicycle, piping, empty tins and folding tables and chairs were left strewn throughout the house

Mr Urbex said: 'I visited the property just over four weeks ago and getting to the actual location wasn't too bad, just a walk up a small hill and the door was wide open'

Mr Urbex said: ‘I visited the property just over four weeks ago and getting to the actual location wasn’t too bad, just a walk up a small hill and the door was wide open’

The discovery was made by Instagrammer Kyle Urbex while he was exploring the countryside in Flintshire, North Wales.

Kyle also spotted a newspaper dating back to 1956 in what he believes was once someone’s ‘dream family home.’

He said: ‘I visited the property just over four weeks ago and getting to the actual location wasn’t too bad, just a walk up a small hill and the door was wide open.

‘Once inside I instantly saw the whole location was eerie because it was a house full to the brim of memories, ranging from clothes in the bedroom to old decaying pianos which once may have entertained many.

‘The porch area had been trashed, however the seating still remained intact and of course the champagne bottle for his 90th birthday still left on the fireplace.

He added: 'Once inside I instantly saw the whole location was eerie because it was a house full to the brim of memories, ranging from clothes in the bedroom to old decaying pianos which once may have entertained many'

Dishes are left undone in the sink in the kitchen

He added: ‘Once inside I instantly saw the whole location was eerie because it was a house full to the brim of memories, ranging from clothes in the bedroom to old decaying pianos which once may have entertained many’

Kyle says he has now been left wondering about the story behind the house. He added: ‘While the place appears to have been ransacked by vandals, clothes still hang in wardrobes; one of the few signs of the home it once was’

Kyle also spotted a newspaper dating back to 1956 in what he believes was once someone's 'dream family home'

Kyle also spotted a newspaper dating back to 1956 in what he believes was once someone’s ‘dream family home’

Mr Urbex added: 'Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory and how somebody could just leave so much memories and cherished possessions behind'

Mr Urbex added: ‘Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory and how somebody could just leave so much memories and cherished possessions behind’

‘I found it quite sad really given all the memories just left to be forgotten about. As well as the house there was a caravan hidden at the back in all the overgrowth which had more memories inside, old books and so on.

‘I managed to uncover an old bike in the shed which looked like it had been there quite a while.

‘Alongside all of these findings I came across a newspaper dated from November 3 1956.’

Kyle says he has now been left wondering about the story behind the house.

He added: ‘While the place appears to have been ransacked by vandals, clothes still hang in wardrobes; one of the few signs of the home it once was.

‘Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory and how somebody could just leave so much memories and cherished possessions behind.’

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Foley to bring school reopening plan to Cabinet on Tuesday

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Minister for Education Norma Foley says she has every confidence schools will reopen fully from late August and early September.

Ms Foley said there was ongoing engagement between her department and public health officials on the matter but all schools were set to reopen.

Strong mitigation measures would be in place in schools to ensure that they would continue to be controlled environments, she told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show on Monday.

Covid-19 infection rates among children were at their highest when children were not at school and public health experts had pointed out “on a consistent basis to schools being a very significantly controlled environment”.

The safe operation of the Leaving Certificate exams and enhanced summer camps indicated that the safe operation of education could be maintained, she said.

A plan would be put in place to allow schools to “draw down” CO2 monitors and the Minister said she was confident there would be enough monitors for all schools by the start of the new school year.

In relation to Covid-19 vaccines for children, Ms Foley said the “expertise” lay with the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) from which her department would take guidance.

“I have received confirmation that the 16 to 18-year-old cohort should be in a position for online registration in the coming days, and I have been advised that the 15-year-olds cohort are still being considered by NIAC and there has been no definitive timeline given,” she added.

Ms Foley will bring a plan to Cabinet on Tuesday outlining enhanced public information campaigns, the outcome of antigen testing pilots, and the purchase of C02 monitors to assist in ventilating classrooms.

Capacity limits on school transport services will also remain in place.

Government sources were adamant on Sunday that second-level education would resume in the autumn, despite concerns among public-health officials that the wave could grow following the reopening of indoor dining today, before peaking in September.

“Schools will reopen,” a senior Coalition source said.

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