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Sellers being silly

When I assess a property for a client one thing I always make a note of is the seller's nationality. It really shouldn't be a factor but it is".

When I assess a property on behalf of a client one thing I always make a note of is the seller’s nationality.  It really shouldn’t be a factor but it is.  Negotiating strategy does vary by nationality.  Firstly, there’s the ones comfortable with offer and counter-offer situations.  Others will say what their lowest acceptable figure is and stick to it.   However, Spaniards seem to have a system all of their very own and far too often it results in no deal.  And this it how it goes….

This is not a made up scenario, it has actually happened to clients of mine.  After viewing several properties in the Tarifa area they showed serious interest in a Spanish-owned house by asking for a second viewing.  No surprise to me, the seller responds by increasing the asking price!  Over the years I have had this happen on so many occasions.  Sometimes just asking for an appointment to view the house has triggered a price hike.  The thinking seems to be that if someone is expressing real interest they must be asking too little.

In this case the asking price went from €600,000 to €630,000 and this in spite of the fact that the house had been for sale for two years.  Admittedly, the price had been reduced significantly but only by what current market conditions demand.  In this location, it needed to be about 40% lower than at the peak before the 2008 crash. Although a bit fazed by this strategy my clients did make the offer they intended to make before the price increase.  My view was the house was worth somewhere between €500,000 and €525,000.  Therefore, my clients offered €500,000.

However, the offer was rejected. No counter-offer was made so my clients decided to sit tight and see what happened over the next couple of weeks.  Sure enough, the seller came back and said €575,000 was his absolutely lowest price. When we reiterated the €500,000 offer with an immediate completion he went quiet again.  A couple more weeks passed and his lowest possible acceptable price went down to €560,000.  Nevertheless, I am sure any buyer would have done what my clients did – absolutely nothing.  At the rate he was going it was only a matter of time before he met us at €500,000 or very close to it.

And sure enough, a month later his absolutely lowest price went down to €515,000.  Success?  Well, actually no.  After two months of this nonsense my clients were thoroughly fed-up. They felt as though they were being treated like idiots. In addition, they became convinced they couldn’t trust the seller if they reached agreement.  In common with most overseas buyers in Spain my clients did not intend to live full-time but thought they would really enjoy a holiday home in an area they loved.  But the seller didn’t understand that this kind of purchase is non-essential.  Life would continue just fine for my clients without his house and anyway, maybe something better would emerge, hopefully with a sensible seller.

Had this Spanish seller negotiated down to €515,000 in at the outset he would have sold his house by now.  Instead of which he fiddled around for two months at the end of which no one was taking him seriously.  And I have to admit that until this kind of behaviour stops my heart will always sink a bit when there is a Spanish seller involved.  

Check our Case Studies for happier outcomes.

About the author

Barbara Wood

Barbara founded The Property Finders in 2003. More than two decades of experience and her in-depth knowledge of the Spanish property market help buyers get the knowledge they need to find the right property for them.

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