Q: I CURRENTLY have my home on the market, but would like to ensure that once interest is shown I have some idea how to negotiate with any potential buyer.

This is the first time I have sold a property and only ever remember trying to knock the price down when I purchased it.

How can I help avoid this happening to me?

Mr and Mrs K, Whiteshill.

A: Property negotiations require give and take so you should remain calm and considered – but the negotiating itself should be left to the experts - your estate agent – any experienced estate agent would have negotiated hundreds of sales previously and you’re more likely to get to an agreeable outcome within a relatively short space of time.

Negotiations do not have to be a close combat affair if you abide by the golden rule of give and take.

The ultimate goal is ensuring that both sides (buyer and seller) have a warm and fuzzy feeling about the deal on the table.

The crucial point however, is, it’s a perceived deal – it doesn’t have to be in line with reality.

As long as the buyer and seller ‘feel’ they have gotten a property at a fair price or sold a home at a reasonable figure, they’re happy.

It’s human nature after all - whenever we make a major purchase we like to be seen to have behaved wisely and done the best we could.

So what steps should you to take to ensure a favourable outcome?

Launch a pre-emptive strike - Issues often crop up at survey stage, which can lead to wrangling over the asking price.

Nip this ‘spanner’ in the bud by thoroughly assessing your home’s condition before you market it - you can then discuss any problems from a position of knowledge and insight.

If you do find defects, flag them up with the buyer.

That way, it will be far harder for them to haggle down the price at the last minute.

As I always say, ‘Pitch the price right’ - As bizarre as it may sound, pricing below the competition can ultimately put a seller, back in the driving seat and a buyer in a ‘fair deal’ frame of mind.

By undercutting the market through asking for between 90 to 95 per cent of the perceived value, a house will look like a ‘bargain’ compared to its neighbours.

A vendor is also much more likely to achieve the asking price, as buyers will be shopping around for properties where sellers have already priced in incentives.

Don’t back your potential buyer into a corner - Stay flexible.

Find out what makes them tick.

Sometimes it’s not all about money.

Very often it’s the small concessions that carry sway: the seller might not want to move out for another few months or the buyer might need the property at short notice.

If you’ve gotten most of what you want and the other party is trying to wangle a few extras, then go with it, so they too can sense some ‘victory’ in the bargaining process.

Pride can be a deal breaker, so take a step back, and look at the whole picture.

Is it a fair offer for you?

If yes, then act accordingly.

Please send me your property questions to: clive@sawyersestateagents.co.uk