Should homeowners conduct viewings?
By Guest Blogger on 10 Mar 2016 in Selling
By Alex Goldstein MNAEA, independent property consultant for buying and selling of residential property in Yorkshire and London.
One of the most frequently asked questions I receive from homeowners is if they should show prospective viewers around their home, or if they should let the estate agent do it. After all, as the homeowner, you know your property intimately after the many years you’ve been there, and you 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…
Too much information!
On first viewings, potential purchasers want a simple guided tour around the property. Details about the crystal formation in your kitchen granite work surface, or the location of the stopcock can all wait until another time. This is information overload and it’s not what viewers are necessarily wanting on their initial showing. It could actually put them off.
Because homeowners are (understandably) emotionally connected to their property, they can end up over-selling their home. This can come across as desperation, which is not the right impression.
A viewer would never admit their real thoughts to the homeowner, for worry about hurting their feelings or getting involved in a protracted conversation about it.
It’s much easier for a viewer to say they love your 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 homeowner these thoughts if they’re showing them around?
If a viewer doesn’t like a particular feature of your house or they wish to knock through the reception rooms, then an estate agent is perfectly placed to pick up on this information. They are a third party and viewers will be more open with them. The agent can also put forward their own suggestions on work to do and even put forward trades people they know, without fear of upsetting the owner.
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 the last impression from the property was positive.
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!
Let the estate agent do the first viewing and go out for a coffee or walk, after having left the property in ‘presentation order’.
Estate agents know it’s always best to leave viewers at least 24 hours after a viewing before calling them for considered feedback. No one wants a knee-jerk reaction straight after a viewing for it to all fall through down the line. You can always ask the agent for an initial impression afterward, but take it with a pinch of salt.
At second or third viewings, a homeowner may wish to be in the background (sat in the study for example) to answer any detailed questions from a viewer. Without being an alarmist (!!), a purchaser ideally wishes to ‘eyeball’ the owner at some point.
At the end of the day, they’re investing in the property as well as the owner, as there are always hoops to jump through prior to an exchange. The number of times I’ve had a sale overcome issues because the homeowner 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!