Buy that bargain

How do you know when a house is a bargain and how do you make sure that you're the seller that scoops the prize?

Homework
Do your homework. Hit the streets. Go to showdays. Look in the property section of your local paper, neighbourhood papers and bulletin boards.

Hit your mouse and send it running around the Internet. Most sites list the size of properties as well as price so it's a simple matter of arithmetic to work out the asking price per square meter. That should be your yardstick to measure bargains. If you focus on one area you'll quickly develop a sense for what is good value or not.

Get an agent.
A large percentage of homes are sold before their first showday. This happens because agents have lists of buyers and they match up buyer's requirements with seller's specs way before the first showday.

You want to be a serious buyer with clear specs on this agents list. The only way this can happen is if the agent knows about you and considers you a serious buyer.

Find motivated sellers
If you find a property that you like, the most important factor in turning the deal into a bargain is understanding whether the seller is a motivated seller. Do they need the money? Are they moving? Have they bought somewhere else already? Is the sale a result of a divorce or death? These are all motivators that will enable you to negotiate harder.

Beat the marketing machine.
It is often too late to snap up that bargain by the time an agent has been to the seller and advised them of a reasonable selling price. You need to beat the agent to the draw if you want to make a mint by negotiating a good deal and avoiding the agents' commission.

Tell people in the neighbourhood that you're looking to buy there. Knock on doors, drop pamphlets. Get to know the community and bypass the agents totally.

Avoid the overpriced properties.
Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group, was recently quoted as saying that buyers shouldn't waste their time viewing overpriced properties. Having done your homework it's easy to spot overpriced properties.

These are the properties where the cost per square meter is out of synch with the rest of the area. These properties come with huge egos attached to the seller. The reason for overpricing is either bad advice form an agent or more usually that the seller thinks that his home is often mistakenly better than his neighbours.

You aren't going to be able to negotiate with this seller because their ego will keep on getting in the way. That doesn't mean you must forget about these properties. The owner might sell to a buyer willing to overpay or more than likely will be driven to despair when hundreds of nosey neighbours and agents establishing the value of other homes for the clients have been through the home.

There is an opportunity to step into the game when the viewers and possible buyers and hopefully the seller have all been exhausted by the foot parade through his little castle. Pride might make the seller accept a lower offer in order to just sell in the end.

Happy hunting.

Article by: Dave Welmans - www.thepropertygame.co.za