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Old 17.03.2017, 01:54
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Is house price negotiable?

I have the impression that list price in switzerland is usually the final price. Negotiating the price is not a swiss tradition?

Recently I was looking for houses in real estate markets, some owners told me they already received some offers, but those offers didn't meet their ideal selling prices so they still accept new offer. I heard similar things from agents who told me some of the properties are in negotiation, they will only let me visit the properties after the negotiations fail.

Here's my question: is this a common practice that I can offer a lower price when expressing interests in properties? If so, what is the common range to make an offer? like 3% lower or I can be bold to offer 10% lower in case a property has no interested buyers other than me? What will be the boundary to avoid negative impressions as a potential buyer?

Thanks!
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Old 17.03.2017, 07:58
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Re: Is house price negotiable?

We offered and paid 6% lower for our house
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Old 17.03.2017, 08:11
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Re: Is house price negotiable?

Now I think you can. In the past sellers have been riding a wave ever increasing prices and expats paying anything. That has come to an end and where I live, it is not unusual for properties to sit on the market for 2 years. As an example we were looking at something that was on for 2.35. I went in with a cheeky offer of 1.8. Within a few days they had dropped to 2.1. I went up to 1.9, they then went to 2.0, but from there no one wants to budge! In the meantime more properties have come on the market at seemingly bargain prices, so it definitely looks like a buyers market at the moment. One thing I have heard though, is that all the good properties change hands without ever being advertised. (I have noticed that properties I have visited have often not been 'as advertised') Good luck
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Old 17.03.2017, 08:17
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Re: Is house price negotiable?

We were trying to sell a house for 1.5, but it ended up selling for 1.8

Tom
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Old 17.03.2017, 08:19
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Re: Is house price negotiable?

You can certainly try to negotiate, whether you'll be successful is another matter. When we bought 6 years ago our house was up for 350k, we offered 320k and it was accepted. Yet I've also seen another house that was on the market for maybe 10 years before being sold. So it just depends on how urgently the seller needs to sell and whether they're prepared to drop the price or hang in there until they get what they want.
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Old 17.03.2017, 08:28
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Re: Is house price negotiable?

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Now I think you can. In the past sellers have been riding a wave ever increasing prices and expats paying anything. That has come to an end and where I live, it is not unusual for properties to sit on the market for 2 years. As an example we were looking at something that was on for 2.35. I went in with a cheeky offer of 1.8. Within a few days they had dropped to 2.1. I went up to 1.9, they then went to 2.0, but from there no one wants to budge! In the meantime more properties have come on the market at seemingly bargain prices, so it definitely looks like a buyers market at the moment. One thing I have heard though, is that all the good properties change hands without ever being advertised. (I have noticed that properties I have visited have often not been 'as advertised') Good luck
I have the same feeling -in the new build area most of the prime (attica) flats never reach the market and many older houses change hands without ever reaching the open market. I heard that a good place to sell higher end houses is through a bank who have customers looking for something. What I don't understand is this - in NZ, if you sell off the market the assumption is that you would probably have got a high price putting it on the open market. Do Swiss people just not want the hassle?
On topic -there is never any harm in making a lower offer -just say that is what you can afford/the value for you -don't talk the property down. Our off the plan buy in 2008 was officially discounted by 10% by the developer (after the financial crisis), but we had no luck negotiating any extras.
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Old 17.03.2017, 08:50
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Re: Is house price negotiable?

Everything is negotiable. But not every negotiation acceptable.

To get a feel for the mindset of the sellers, what did the ad say as to price. IF you see 'Richtpreis' or 'Verhandlungspreis' that should be a clue.

The question is, should you negotiate up or down?

'An den meistbietenden' of course means that you are expected to negotiate above the asking price. And as per Tom's post, a bidding war is not uncommon in hotspot markets, no matter what the ad listing says.

Be aware that if a seller is not of a mind to negotiate that you might not get a second chance to make a better offer, by offering under the asking price you might find the seller then shuts you out. Again, try to to get a feel for the seller's mindset, for the other offers on the table, etc.

Asking prices are often based on the seller's emotional perception of the market,
But in such an iliquid market there may not be much of a a reality check, so some sellers will hold out years for their fantasy price. Or not. ;-)

It all boils down to how much you want the place, and how quickly does the seller need to sell.

It's a jungle out there. Good luck!
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Old 17.03.2017, 09:36
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Re: Is house price negotiable?

The banks may decide the price exceeds their idea of the market price. You can still pay that amount but they won't always loan you 80%.
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Old 17.03.2017, 09:55
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Re: Is house price negotiable?

We recently looked at a property which has been on the market for quite some time. This is often an indication that the seller may be more flexible on the price, but not always.

If you want to offer less, try and find a reason to justify why. To just offer less without any basis for the reduction is unlikely to be successful.

If you find a good reason, the seller may think that someone else may find this too. If an agent is involved, your chances of success may be greater as once an agent learns something they cannot pretend to be unaware of its existence.
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Old 17.03.2017, 10:07
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Re: Is house price negotiable?

People tend to over-complicate negotiations and lose sight of the facts around price.

You need to know:

(1) What is the most you can afford (your "walkaway" price); this is probably defined by the mortgage bank

(2) What is the realistic market valuation, or a decent estimate

(3) Ideally, an estimate of the walkaway price of the seller

Do not under any circumstances go above (1).

Be very very careful about trying to go below (3), and don't even approach it if there are other bidders.

Anything below (2) is cool to get, but at risk from other bidders.

Anything above (2) needs some thought but may still be OK if:

* It doesn't mess with (1) because the bank won't lend you enough

* You're happy with the period of under-value until the market catches up

But overall, yes you can offer less, the same, or more than the advertised price. For me the biggest factor is actually time - how long has it been on the market, how soon does the seller need to get rid of it - they are paying tax, maintenance, and financial opportunity costs, it doesn't do any harm to point this out in conversation ("how much do you pay in monthly heating costs"; "security for an empty house must be a worry"; "do you have a mortgage you need to transfer / pay off"; "can you tell me the normal maintenance costs").
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Old 17.03.2017, 23:25
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Re: Is house price negotiable?

I think its absolutely possible to negotiate, even though, you are right the first impression is always like the offered price is the final one, or, even that it can only get higher.
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Old 17.03.2017, 23:44
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Re: Is house price negotiable?

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The banks may decide the price exceeds their idea of the market price. You can still pay that amount but they won't always loan you 80%.
Or the contrary.

We got a interest only loan with only 30% down, and they were willing to lend another 20% for renovations, again interest only.

Tom
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Old 18.03.2017, 10:51
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Re: Is house price negotiable?

Local history is also helpful - there are a few houses for sale here and I know some people are testing the market and not at all desperate to sell at the high price they've put on it, others are in more of a hurra and have priced accordingly, others are desperate... just depends on personal cirucmstances as well as those listed above.
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Old 18.03.2017, 14:15
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Re: Is house price negotiable?

Our experience is that it's totally normal to bargain down, opposite of Australia.
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Old 21.03.2017, 13:01
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Re: Is house price negotiable?

Yes, but since I wanted a house basically in central Zürich, I had to negotiate upwards!

(Two rounds of blind bidding).
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Old 21.03.2017, 14:46
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Re: Is house price negotiable?

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The banks may decide the price exceeds their idea of the market price. You can still pay that amount but they won't always loan you 80%.
There are often huge differences between what the bank's assesors think a property is worth and what buyers will actually pay for it.
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Old 21.03.2017, 15:11
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Re: Is house price negotiable?

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Local history is also helpful - there are a few houses for sale here and I know some people are testing the market and not at all desperate to sell at the high price they've put on it, others are in more of a hurra and have priced accordingly, others are desperate... just depends on personal cirucmstances as well as those listed above.
Local history can be seen on the Comparis historic listings:

https://en.comparis.ch/immobilien/mashup/show

You can't see actual selling prices, but advertising prices give a good indication of trends and comparable values.
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Old 21.03.2017, 15:14
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Re: Is house price negotiable?

But not the other kind of history, personal history about the owner and owners, and the reason/s fr selling, and whether they are in a hurry or not. This will never be written anywhere. The agent may, or may not- help with this- but not always.

In short- some prices are negotiable and some are not- just depends- that piece of string again (reminds me of my granny, long gone- who had a little box with lots of bits of string in it, all nicely and perfectly tied up, with a label on the box -'bits of string too short to be of any use' (well in French, of course).
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Old 21.03.2017, 15:30
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Re: Is house price negotiable?

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But not the other kind of history, personal history about the owner and owners, and the reason/s fr selling, and whether they are in a hurry or not. This will never be written anywhere. The agent may, or may not- help with this- but not always.

In short- some prices are negotiable and some are not- just depends- that piece of string again (reminds me of my granny, long gone- who had a little box with lots of bits of string in it, all nicely and perfectly tied up, with a label on the box -'bits of string too short to be of any use' (well in French, of course).
Very true.

But some of this can be intuited if the property has been listed and then the price changed.

Some of the listings I've seen have several entries with the price going down every six months or so. I don't know if they're some sort of Dutch auction, or just people with lots of time and hope, or no idea of a realistic value.
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Old 21.03.2017, 15:46
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Re: Is house price negotiable?

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Very true.

But some of this can be intuited if the property has been listed and then the price changed.
True.

The seller may not always be honest about their real reasons for selling. Sometimes the agent won't know the full truth either. Sellers may also play tough to get when in fact they are desperate to sell it to you. It's all part of the tactics.

But I think if you go in with openess and good observational skills you can often make a fair guess.
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