Should home owners conduct viewings?

January 2016

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive from home owners, is whether they should show prospective viewers around their home or should they let the estate agent do it? Afterall, as the owner they know the property intimately after the many years they have been there and can pass on all the details to any viewer. Surely it’s a no-brainer? Knowledge equals power, right?

Well actually, it’s not that simple! Let me explain…

1) Too much information!

On first viewings, potential purchasers just want a simple guided tour around the property. Details about the crystal formation in your kitchen granite worksurface or the location of the stopcock can all wait until another time. This is information overload and is not what viewers are necessarily wanting on their initial showing and could actually put them off.

2) Emotions

Because home owners are understandably so emotionally connected to the property, they can end up over-selling their home and it can be misconstrued in some instances as desperation, which is not the right impression!

3) Being British!

A viewer would never admit their real thoughts to the home owner, for worry about hurting their feelings or getting involved in a protracted conversation about it.

Much easier for a viewer to say they love the property and will be putting in an offer tomorrow. They then call the agent and slate it! Sound familiar?

As we know, buyers often wish to make their own mark on a property. Can they really tell the home owner these thoughts if they are showing them around?

4) Open Discussions

If a viewer did not like a particular feature of the house or wished to knock through the reception rooms, then an estate agent is perfectly placed to pick up on this information as they are a third party and viewers will be more open with them. The agent can also put forward their own suggestions on works to do and even put forward trades people they know, without fear of upsetting the owner.

5) Picking up what Matters

Estate agents are trained on how to conduct viewings, which order to show the rooms and are experienced on picking up what matters to each viewer.

For example if a viewer mentioned they loved the kitchen, then the agent would engineer the visit to finish in the kitchen, so that the last impression from the property was positive.

6) This is what you Pay them for!

Estate agents are sales people. Listening, selling and negotiating are all part of the service they offer. Leave it to the experts!

Overall Advice

Let the estate agent do the first viewings and go out for a coffee or walk, having left the property in “presentation order”.

Estate agents know it is always best to leave viewers at least 24 hours after a viewing, before calling them for considered feedback. No one want a knee-jerk reaction straight after a viewing for it to all then fall through down the line. One can always ask the agent for an initial impression afterwards, but take it with a pinch of salt.

At second or third viewings, a home owner may wish to be in the background and sat in the study for example to answer any detailed questions from a viewer. Without being alarmist(!!) a purchaser ideally wishes to “eyeball” the owner at some point. At the end of the day they are investing in the property, but also the owner as there are always hoops to jump through prior to an exchange. The number of times I have had a sale overcome issues because the home owner and purchaser got on. Personalities count for a lot!

So if you thought knowledge of your home was power, you may wish to think again!

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