When your on the hunt for a property, it's tempting to rush in when you find one you're interested in. However some good negotiation skills could go a long way in helping you snare a property bargain.
Research the prices being achieved in the suburb of the property you're considering. This will give you an idea of market values and what you should expect to pay. Websites like Home Price Guide (www.homepriceguide.com.au) and RP Data (www.myrp.com.au) offer details of recent sales at no charge.
Fish around for information
Some of the best bargains are available on properties listed for some time. Quiz the selling agent about how long the home has been listed - and why it hasn't sold. The longer a property lingers, the better the odds of securing a discounted price.
Small talk can reveal plenty. Listen to the agent for hints on whether the vendor has purchased elsewhere, is moving due to a job transfer or is experiencing a divorce. These all provide scope to negotiate. Try to get a feel from the agent if the property has generated much interest among other buyers.
Check the property thoroughly
Inspect the property several times and at varying times of the day to avoid nasty surprises later on. Review the contract for a clear idea of what comes with the property - some appliances may not be included. Always arrange a pest and building inspection on a property you're seriously considering. Building advisory service Archicentre estimate that one in three homes have hidden defects. If the inspection does show up problems, the cost of repairs can be used as a bargaining tool.
If you're still keen on a property, ask the agent for the lowest price the vendor will accept and work towards this. Never give away your own price limit. Think about how much time you need for settlement. A buyer who can settle promptly will appeal to a vendor who has purchased elsewhere.
Finally no matter how appealing the property, stick to your home buying budget. There's no joy in owning a home you can't comfortably afford.