Your TPM (“true purchase maximum”) will help you decide which properties to visit. Say your TPM is 410,000€. You can safely assume that no property sells for the asking price – so you can factor in a negotiation margin. But how much?
Generally, the answer depends on the type of property:
• When the property is close to what everybody is looking for (stone, 160 sq.m house with a garden and a pool, minutes from the shops, walk-in condition), don’t expect to be able to knock much off the asking price. 1/2% is probably the most you can hope for. But properties like that are few and far between;
• When the property requires a lot of work – an old house which has not been lived in for 20 years (since the grandparents passed away, for exemple), solid but in which everything needs updating and/or replacing; or when the property has been on the market for a long time (a year) – it is possible to aim for substantial discount form the asking price.
Deciding what is the maximum you would be willing to pay
It is important to keep in mind that listed prices are only wishes. As such, they are starting points in the exploration process – but they don’t reflect market value.
In theory you should put the asking price aside while you visit the property. You should think about the opportunity hard, do your own valuation, come back and see the house after hours – and only when you have taken everything into account, decide how much you would be willing to pay.
This exercise will help you walk away from a house that “looks & feel real good” but doesn’t really meet all the criteria – unless you can get it the “good” price. And no more. Because everything has a price…