Making an Offer on a Property

By: Emil Emilov

At this point it really is important to understand local culture. The French are a fiercely proud race and I have often known a vendor remove his house from the market if an offer is too low. His or her belief is that his pride, his family and his heritage have been offended by such an undervaluing!

The purchasing process

I remember the elderly gentleman who was selling a small farm workers' cottage, which was part of his large complex of farm buildings. He had marked out a sizeable part of land to go with the cottage. When I showed it to clients they wanted more land. Seeing so much land around and having read stories of how you can negotiate anything, everything being available at a price, they asked me to offer the owner some money for another field beyond the garden area he had offered for sale with the house.

I asked the vendor whether it would be possible to buy more land. He became upset. 'Not everything is for sale' he said abruptly and walked off. I walked after him to try to find out what I had said to upset him.' Not everything has a price', he said, 'I planted those trees in that field with my grandfather and no one is going to buy the land and cut them down. They were important to my grandfather and they are important to me, they might not be important to a newcomer.' We spent more time talking and I asked if I could discuss the matter with my clients. Finally, all was agreed, my clients got 7/8th of the field leaving the strip with the trees on it to the farmer. Everyone happy, but it needed a real understanding of the local culture to pull that one off.

With VEF, the trained negotiators will have worked hard before mandating (taking on) a property to ensure they have agreed the right price. All too often local people and their agents believe that a foreigner will pay more for a property than a local person. For nearly 20 years at VEF we have worked hard to train the negotiators of our partner offices to convince vendors that this is not the case. The advantage for a vendor of putting their house on the market with a VEF partner office is that if it is the right price, we will sell it quickly for them.

VEF trained negotiators will also know if there is any possibility of reducing the price. Occasionally the vendor may have intimated that they need to release funds quickly, or they may be in a hurry to move to another area. Making an offer, against advice, is never a good thing. It virtually always results in losing the property, either because the vendor refuses to sell at that price, or removes it off the market altogether, or because someone else buys it while you are negotiating.

Remember, the longer the negotiation period over the price of the property the longer your purchase is at risk.

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