I Hold All the Cards

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Given the global property market crisis, buyers often make the incorrect assumption that all sellers are desperate to sell. While that may be true for some, the vast majority of sellers out there just want to get a reasonable, market related price for their homes.

One of the difficulties associated with a downturn is that everyone believes they will be able to pick up a property at a bargain basement price. The problem is many sellers have already lowered their asking price in line with current market conditions and because of this, simply refuse to accept anything lower than the asking price.

They have every reason to reject an offer under these conditions. There are thousands of sellers out there who are not sitting with a financial noose around their necks and who are going to bide their time until the right buyer comes along with right offer.

Many buyers unfortunately often shoot themselves in the foot by adopting a superior stance and overlooking a property that is in good condition, well priced and in a popular area simply because they believe that the seller is being stubborn and needs to be cut down to size. Like vultures circling a kill, they sit back wait, hoping the seller will become desperate and will let the house go for a song.

Buyers with this type of approach often overlook all of the appealing features in a home and instead of realising that the property is in actual fact a good solid investment, will console themselves with the thought that there are plenty of other properties on the market. Of course there are, but are they the right ones?

Strangely enough, the same buyer would probably buy the same home without a second thought if it were a seller’s market. The tag ‘buyer’s market’, appears to have a negative effect on the brain. Many adopt a ‘there’s a bargain to be found and I am going to find it’ mentality. Regret is always an unpleasant emotion. However, you can bet your bottom dollar that many bargain seekers feel some remorse when common sense kicks in and they realise that they have walked away from the home of their dreams and settled for second best because of their misguided principals.

Sellers are often pretty sensitive souls and it is fairly easy to offend, particularly when would-be buyers submit what the seller may deem to be a ludicrous offer. Unfortunately, what very often happens is that when the buyer comes to his senses and realises that he may have made a mistake, the seller will reject the offer purely on principal.

Everyone has a threshold and although it is impossible to say what will tip the scales, there are sellers out there who will not agree to sell a home to a person that they feel is not worthy. This may sound insane given the current market conditions, but it is true. Some sellers take things extremely personally and if a buyer goes into the negotiations with the wrong attitude, they have more than likely lost the battle before it has even begun.

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