Who should show viewers round your house?
Some estate agents will tell you that you are the best person to show people round your own home. (“After all, you know your home better than anyone”.) Whilst other agents feel they should accompany every viewer. (“Buyers often feel uncomfortable with the seller, as they are unable to say what they really think of the house”.)
In our view, both approaches are right, under certain conditions:
Your estate agent should always be the one to conduct the first viewing on your home.
They are the expert in selling houses. And it’s what you’re paying for in the commission fee. They are trained to listen for buying signals, and respond professionally and skillfully. This ensures your buyer feels comfortable and secure enough to share their thoughts and feedback with your agent.
Although your agent should arrive in plenty of time for the viewing, it’s really helpful if you prepare your home for the viewing. Lighting lamps, having the central heating on if necessary, even lighting the fire if you have one, and perhaps some candles, all creates a wonderful homely atmosphere. This is especially important if your viewers surprise your agent by turning up early, as often happens.
Once you are happy that your home looks at its very best, and your agent has arrived, it’s time to make yourself scarce. Walk the dog, visit your favourite coffee shop, or just pop next door to your neighbour’s house until the viewers have left. Make sure your agent has your mobile number so they can call you once the viewing is over and it’s safe to return. Or leave them instructions about how to leave the house, and what to do with the key, so you can go back when you’re ready to.
When your viewers want a second viewing, it’s good to be there. A couple of exceptions to this rule: if only one of a couple has viewed the first time, then the second viewing is actually a first viewing for one of them, so needs to be treated accordingly.
The other rule is much more difficult to gauge objectively, especially if you’re the seller. If you or your lifestyle is fundamentally different from that of your potential buyer, then it’s best if you keep yourself scarce. For example, if you’re in your nineties and married, and your viewer is a bachelor in his twenties, you may find it difficult to find any common ground and as a result, he may find it difficult to ‘connect’ with your home. Have an open discussion with your estate agent, explain your concerns, and be guided by them.
Your second viewing strategy
If neither of the above apply, arrange your home as carefully as before, and allow the agent to let the viewers in and to have a look round, unaccompanied if possible. Then, time your return for around twenty minutes or so into the viewing. If they are really serious about buying your house, they will be there at least that long. When you arrive, introduce yourself and shake their hands warmly, then offer to make them a cup of tea or coffee, adding that you’re making one yourself. It’s a good idea to have a prior agreement with your agent that if this part of the viewing is going well, they should actually make themselves scarce, perhaps leaving to go to another viewing. Then you can settle down to focus on building rapport with your potential buyers, and answering any questions they may have with interest and enthusiasm. At the end of the viewing, again shake their hands in a friendly way, leaving your agent to talk to them in private before they leave.
Avoid a low offer
All being well, your viewers may at this point put an offer in. If they have met you, they are much less likely to make a very low offer. Human nature and our traditional English reserve will usually mean that it is just too embarrassing to risk the possibility of causing offence to a seller you have met, by submitting a potentially insulting offer. Meeting your buyers will also help to ensure that negotiations start on the right footing, will consideration and respect on either side, and a genuine motivation to find a middle ground acceptable to both parties.
By deciding in advance on a viewing strategy with your estate agent, it will help you feel more relaxed about having strangers in your home, and hopefully enhance your chance of selling your home for the price you want.
We’d love to have a chat with you about the viewings on your home. What to do if you’re getting lots of viewings but no offers, or if you’re not getting any viewings at all. We can help. Let us know the best time for you by emailing us at [email protected] or phoning on 01702 410711.
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