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  • Writer's pictureGavin Human

Should I do the viewings for my own home?

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

In general, all estate agents do the same job. However, after 30 years in the job, I believe my experience offers a different perspective on how to make the little details count..


Some estate agents will tell you that the home owner is the best person to show people round your house if you are thinking of selling; after all, they know the house better than anyone else, right?

In my view, the best person for the job is the estate agent. We are experienced and have done this hundreds of times, learning to pick up on signals from those ready to buy, and well versed in how to respond professionally and in the right way. This ensures your buyer feels comfortable, and secure enough to share their genuine thoughts and feedback rather than offering polite platitudes to the home owner. If you do the viewing, they often tell you what they think you would like to hear.


BEFORE THE VIEWING

Setting the right scene from the beginning is crucial and it all begins with the very first conversation with the potential viewer. It is vital that we pre-qualify every person that wants to view a property to make sure we eliminate any poorly matched viewing requests and concentrate on creating quality viewings that are professionally matched, not just based on their budgets, but also on their needs and requirements.


Although your estate agent should arrive before the viewers turn up, it is really helpful if you prepare your home for the viewing. Forget fresh coffee or bread in the oven, do the basics well and you will be on the right track. Lamps generally set the scene better than main ceiling lights, make sure all your light bulbs are working and the same wattage, having the central heating on if necessary or even lighting the fire if you have one, making sure all your cushions and throws are tidy and having a quick hoover round all creates a wonderful homely atmosphere. Also, does your door bell work? pay attention to your front door and surround. When was the last time you washed it? This is especially important if your viewers surprise your estate agent by turning up early. (You can learn more about home staging in my podcast episode with designer Lorna Rayner here.)

Once you are happy that your home looks at its very best, and your estate agent has arrived and given it the once over, 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 you move your car off the drive and park it down the road or at a neighbours. Has your estate agent got your mobile number on them so they can call you once the viewing is over and it’s safe to return? Or, leave clear instructions how to leave the house and lock up, and tell them what to do with the key, so you can go back when you are ready.


Some estate agents, say it is best for you to do the viewing should the viewers want a second viewing at a later date. Again, I disagree with this. As an estate agent, I have gained so much information on the first visit, I don’t want this to go to waste. It may sound harsh, but it is human nature to judge those we meet - you might be an absolute delight but if you are completely different from the potential buyer, would you really want that to jeopardise a sale. What about legal questions or how the sale would proceed? If you have chosen a good agent, they will be able to answer all of those questions.


You may have heard the term, an “accompanied viewing person / representative" employed by your estate agent to take over viewings. However, they often turn up to shoe someone around your house and they have not even viewed it themselves. In my view this is a BIG no no, no as they tend to turn up, unlock the house and let the viewers wander round. They know very little about the house and have no actual skill in connecting with the buyer and finding out what they really think of your house. We would never let anyone just "wander” around your house.


AT THE VIEWING

How do I do a viewing? It starts before the day of the viewing with simple things such as advising people where to park as the drive might not be clear, or there maybe limited parking outside the house. When they arrive at the house, we make sure we are ready to greet them, with a copy of the property sale brochure and a business card attached. After asking them to remove their shoes or put shoe covers on we explain what is going to happen. We will view downstairs first, then upstairs at the bedrooms and bathroom, before coming downstairs, grabbing our shoes as we go outside to view the garden. Having this simple conversation at the very beginning really does make a difference. I will already know what are the aspects of a house they are most interested (or those that they aren't) in and therefore I can ensure that we focus our attention in the right areas. No need to spend 15 minutes discussing the rich soil in the garden when they are more interested in the potential for an extension, or the size of the extra bedrooms.

It can be quite disheartening if someone doesn't warm to your home in the way that you would hope - would you know how to handle that calmly? Not only are all buyers different, but their motivations for buying can vary drastically and my experience in dealing with all sorts of clients can be invaluable in navigating our way through the viewing, and the follow up conversations. If your agent doesn't carry out the viewing - how can they be fully aware of the potential buyers' reaction to the house? It isn't just in what they say, an experienced agent will pick up on the non-verbal cues - what I mentioned earlier as those "signals" that they are interested to buy. It is not overstating it to say that the presence of a skilled agent at the viewing stage is often the difference between an offer being made, and a buyer walking away.


AFTER THE VIEWING

Regardless how well the viewing goes on the day, it is very rare that people make offers there and then. Always remember that it is human nature to negotiate, so don’t worry if offers come in lower than you were expecting. It is your estate agent's job to set the scene about your circumstances and expectations at the viewing stage and if they have done their job properly and matched buyer to seller, then this should eliminate any embarrassingly low offers.

Having met your potential buyers will also help to ensure that negotiations with your estate agent start on the right footing, with consideration and respect on either side, and a genuine motivation to find a middle ground acceptable to both parties.


Your experienced agent should help you feel more relaxed about having strangers in your home by deciding with you on a viewing strategy. This will enhance your chance of selling your home for the price you want by attracting and focusing on those who are most likely to buy.


Choosing the right estate agent, based on experience, knowledge and marketing is so important, rather than choosing the agent offering the cheapest fee. The difference in the quality of service you receive, can often be seen right here at the viewing stage - and it is critical to success.


If you are thinking of selling your house, or indeed, are looking to change your current estate agent, don't hesitate to use the contact page for an informal first conversation with no obligations.

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