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Many estate agents don't like to do accompanied viewings (it costs them time and money) and often resort to a standard trick to avoid them: they book the viewing and then 5 minutes before they are due to show up they call the vendor and say they've had a problem and cannot make it and would the vendor mind showing the prospective buyer around. The vendor might tut but he wants to sell his property so he does it. The agent knows this will work as houses sell themselves if they are clean and today and properly presented. He also knows that the vendors is more familiar with the property than he is and (if they are even reasonably articulate) that they will be able to convey the reasons they purchased the property with a genuine enthusiasm the agent won't be able to match. After all they must have liked it enough to buy it themselves!
Trust us when we say you can carry out a viewing as well as any agent can. Just follow our common sense tips and it will be easy. You might even enjoy it!
- There are a lot of unreliable people in the world. To save wasting your time do the following: when you are booking a viewing clearly (and politely) state that you need to organise your day so you will call the prospect 1 hour before the viewing is due in order to confirm and that if they do not answer you will not attend the viewing.
- Clean up! The presence of your belongings in a property is not a problem, but dirt, mess and bad smells are very off putting. Smoking smells, dog smells and fried food smells are major turn-offs, so avoid them. If someone viewing trips over a stray toy and breaks their wrist it could be quite awkward!
- Present the property properly. This is called 'staging' in the industry and might consist of any number of things from making sure there's a breadmaker on baking a loaf so that lovely smell is present, putting out fresh cut flowers, placing bed-linen in a certain way, setting the table nicely, playing some appropriate music etc.
- Protect yourself. It's an infinitesimally small chance for you to be stuck in the property with a violent weirdo, but it is possible. If there's just you there and you feel in anyway unsure then make sure someone knows you're carrying out a viewing and either calls you or is there with you when the viewing takes place. If you're selling a very expensive property be aware of someone viewing to case it out for a burglary, or worse a robbery. Watch the viewer carefully for signs of odd behaviour and if you have CCTV make sure they get recorded by it by telling them about it and taking them up close to a camera to look at it. If they seem camera shy be very cautious.
- Enjoy yourself! You loved your home enough to buy it in the first place, so convey some of that to the prospect - let them know everything you like and temper that with one or two (minor!) things you don't like or would improve.