01 September

A Spanner in the Works

Nick Churton of Mayfair Office highlights a potential spanner in the works within any property negotiation.


Sticking to principle in a property deal is all very well, but there comes a time when principle can become more about scoring points than reaching a fair compromise.


Ask any estate agent who’s been in the job for some years, and they will unhappily recount stories of property negotiations jeopardised by one party or the other risking the deal over misguided principle. Surprisingly, often the most frustrating risks are not negotiating the price of bricks and mortar but carpets, curtains and other belongings. Estate agents frequently spend far longer negotiating the prices of items such as these than the price of the property that may be worth millions.


Perhaps this is because most people, unlike estate agents, aren’t used to dealing with amounts in their hundreds of thousands or more, and the cost of curtains is easier to haggle over. Sadly, the haggling sometimes ends up becoming a point of principle between buyers and sellers and therefore disproportionately pivotal in the negotiation.


We always advise buyers and sellers to avoid getting hung up over items in a property sale. These items can sometimes sweeten a deal for sellers, and they can be helpful for buyers, but both parties should keep their eyes on the main prize. A property sale or purchase is fundamental to the whole project, which is to move.  It would be most unfortunate if an otherwise acceptable deal were to fail over the cost of a second-hand refrigerator.