Can I Offer 20 Per Cent Less Than The Asking Price For A House?

Man looking through documents at workplace

Excessive property listings sometimes overprice homes beyond true market values in the hope of capitalising on excess buyer competition. This tempts canny buyers to wonder if can they exploit ambitious pricing offering far below asking prices at little realistic chance of acceptance. However, while cheeky lowballs may irritate unrealistic sellers, tactical underpricing bids can prove shrewd negotiation openers achieving big savings off fair values.

This guide examines the contentious strategy of purposely underbidding property listings by significant chunks like 20% below inflated asking prices to anchor dialogue extracting maximum discounts agreeably. Learn how tabling purposefully weak opening offers could set perfect foundations for negotiating immense end savings rather than jeopardising deals through excessively adversarial stances!

Key Considerations Before Underbidding

Several factors determine the appropriateness of launching sales dialogue with consciously weakened bidding positions rather than leading stronger negotiating:

  • Accurate Appraisals – Evidence property overvaluation before undercutting
  • Pricing Psychology – Understand reactions to contrasting first offers
  • Comparable Values – Reference realistic area rates informally
  • Market Conditions – Factor stronger/weaker local buyer demand
  • Financial Resources – Budget maximum losable deposits if withdrawn
  • Transaction Urgency – Account for seller motivations and time limitations

Now we’ll analyse how each consideration shapes strategy formulation bidding substantially under asking figures successfully versus excessively on specific properties.

Assessing True Property Valuations

The credibility staking claimant bids 20% beneath published asking prices rests first upon accurately determining current fair market valuations beyond ambitious listing levels. This relies on:

Desktop Research

Online property portals reveal estimates or recent sales of comparable area properties indicating general value ranges to benchmark against subject listings plausibly appearing overpriced in context.

In-Person Appraisals

Whilst desktop findings establish reasonable valuation ballparks, in-person inspections prove essential confirming tangible deficiencies possibly justifying lower counteroffers to listing prices. Significantly dated interiors, concerning structural defects or limiting land configurations could warrant honest value deductions quantified after first-hand evaluation.

Formal Valuation Surveys

For substantially underpriced opening bids holding weight during follow-up negotiations, formal RICS property surveys cementing expert independent valuations pack huge credibility dismantling over-optimistic asking prices.

Leverage Your List Of Contrived Faults!

Upon detailed personal inspections, buyers should compile exhaustive inventories of every minor home flaw from faulty sockets to lingering damp. Nitpicking extensive lists of required renovations or modernisations, however minor, helps repeatedly justify bidding beneath listings judged as requiring excessive rectification works to reach liveable standards. Until sellers address concerns through remedial works or price reductions, frequently refer back to enumerated faults impeding higher offers!

Pricing Psychology Principles

Beyond accurate technical valuations alone, understanding behavioural responses to contrasting value perceptions embedded in initial offers greatly influences negotiations:

Anchor Pricing

Structure undervalued opening bids to ‘anchor’ dialogue psychologically around positions favourably below what buyers actually could stretch towards. Adversarial reactions to cheeky low anchor bids then get mitigated as buyers concede upwards meeting halfway or better yet – simply persuade stubborn sellers reluctantly downwards nearer improbable first offers! Master manipulators indeed!

Aspiration Pricing

Alternatively, very strong underbids counteract pricing psychology in reverse. By implying the inability to afford anywhere near overblown asking figures through sizes of low counters, seller aspirations get reigned closer within feasible reality. People naturally recoil from embarrassingly misjudging egoistic overvaluations once underbid sizes spotlight untenable delusions needing rebased sensibility!

Purchase Price Decoys

For sophisticated flyers, inject random higher bogus bids from fictitious ‘backup buyers’ into the mix to spark anxieties around losing out! Contriving phantom competing offers suddenly able to pay asking prices makes underbidding your genuine position appear more conciliatory steering greater incentives securing your custom through superior discounts!

Whether anchoring dialogue around disputed valuation benchmarks, deflating excessive aspirations or triggering fake competitive anxieties, crafting initial bids 20% below listings asks can prove psychological masterstrokes coaxing substantial price reductions through creatively adversarial negotiating stances are taken early!

Factors Determining Bid Success Rates

Beyond skilful psychological manipulations, however, wider market and property factors determine underbidding success tipping negotiations favourably:

Market Competition

In hot buyer markets with scarce stock, lowball bids often get dismissed due to queues of buyers willing to meet higher asking prices regardless. But in buyer power locations, bold counters carry greater sway.

Seller Motivations

Similarly, impatient distressed sellers requiring urgent sales due to relocation, emigration or ill health prove more likely to engage lower counteroffers to progress sales, whereas stubborn aspirational sellers simply seek the highest bidders only.

Property Condition

Listings with glaring structural defects or refurbishment needs justify larger value deductions quantified through lower bid calculations. Cosmetic and modernised properties permit less extreme underpricing.

Onerous Chains

Lengthy onward buying chains hampering sellers also increase counterbid bargaining powers positioning you as their chain-collapsing salvation! Leverage completion uncertainties and associated financial risks heightening priorities and finalising delayed sales.

In all cases, reference multiple pricing justifications to repeatedly support originally tabled low figures rather than letting cunning psychological tricks win full battles alone!

Worst Case Scenarios Planning

Despite best efforts tactically tiptoeing initial bids 20% under market rates to anchor favourable negotiating positions, stubborn or naive sellers may still prove unwilling to meet halfway taking deals forward. In worst-case scenarios where vast differences are unable to reconcile through haggling, underbidders must weigh two unpalatable options – bid higher contradicting tactics already committed towards or abandon progress losing deposits:

Cover Ego Losses

Submitting overly cheeky opening bids risks forcing buyers towards unpleasant options saving face – doubling down defending unjustifiable lowballs or retreating bidding higher elsewhere. Consider misjudged pride or strategy losses acceptable if genuinely still coveting properties longer term. Cooling off periods does present redemption opportunities!

Write Off Sunk Deposits

Alternatively, where vastly underbid opening gambits get rejected outright without scope for middle-ground compromises, buyers should prepare to sacrifice deposited buyer protection insurance or initial option fees to total write-offs exciting deals. Bold beneath-market rate bidding means ready to wave goodbye to deposits if unworkable gaps emerge! So start lower bids expecting to forfeit security funds anywhere under 10% of sale prices and insure appropriately to enable walking away penalty-free! Harsh but necessary tactics at times!

In summary, unemotionally prepare for worst-case loss-making scenarios right from the outset before committing to intentionally risky deeply underpriced bidding strategies likely requiring expensive abandonment of deals eventually for some buyers should ambitious value expectations never align!


Ambitiously aiming initial property bids at least 20% beneath advertised listings certainly courts controversy and carries inherent deal completion risks should sellers reject extreme reductions steadfastly sticking at higher estimates.

However for smart buyers thoroughly researching true market rates justifying lower counteroffers, creatively anchoring dialogue around disputed figures or psychologically dismantling aspirational bubbles from the outset often bears remarkable fruits. Perseverant negotiation leveraging structured underpricing frequently yields big mutual gains for both parties – securing buyers towering discounted savings and sellers reliably progressed sales they’d otherwise unlikely have achieved at excessive original levels pitched.

With strong evidentiary foundations confirming property overvaluations, rational leverage understanding motivational psychology and willingness to accept occasional sunk deposit write-offs, competitive opening bids at 20% under asking figures often provide the optimal launch point securing massive end discounts and savings all around!

We are proud members of...

  • NAPB
  • RICS
  • The Property Ombudsman
  • Trading Standards

We are proud to be the most regulated property buyer operating in the ‘Quick House Sale’ industry. We are an active member of the NAPB (National Association Of Property Buyers) and are RICS regulated, which means you can have every confidence of selling your home with us quickly & easily.