01 Nov 2018

How to get a top deal in a buyer's market

In the lead-up to Christmas, Australia’s largest body of professional buyer’s agents is urging home buyers and investors to strike now while the property market is taking a breather and make the most of the current opportunities.

Real Estate Buyers Agents Association (REBAA) president Rich Harvey said with property market corrections in New South Wales and Victoria and tighter lending conditions generally putting pressure on developers and home sellers, now was an ideal time to get a good deal in the property market.

He said that while the changing market conditions could work in favour of buyers, they still did not guarantee a ‘bargain buy’.

“You need to remember that regardless of where the balance of power lies, with the buyer or the seller, buyers still need to be able to negotiate the best deal they can,” said Mr Harvey.

“Selling agents are professional negotiators, they negotiate multiple properties every week, while the average buyer negotiates one or two property purchases in a lifetime.

“How far the market is going to fall in Sydney and Melbourne is immaterial and worrying about what the New Year will bring will make no difference, especially if you are buying and selling in the same market.

“In other markets around Australia the same applies, you just need to have the right mindset.”

Mr Harvey said traditionally in cooler markets there was also an increase in off-market properties as more and more vendors were reluctant to spend money on advertising and marketing costs.

He also recommended buyers look for recent comparable sales of between one and three months.

“There’s no point looking at anything older than 2017 prices but preferably you want to want to be looking at the last quarter sales prices,” he said.

Here are REBAA’s tips for finding a top deal in a buyer’s market:

1. Look for recent comparable sales
Research sold prices in the area you’re looking for that are no older than 2017 prices. Preferably one to three months old is best.

2. Focus on your negotiation skills
Agents are going to be hungrier to close deals pre-auction and will foster a sense of urgency. Buyers need to play the negotiation game very well. We recommend having someone negotiate on your behalf who has your best interests at heart.

3. Get your finance pre-approved
In this tight lending environment, it’s imperative home buyers and investors get their finance pre-approved or risk incurring unwanted costs. We recommend engaging a mortgage broker who understands the new rules around credit.