The faux pas of house viewings revealed
First impressions are crucial, and that goes for the house buying process too.
Propertymark asked its members to share the biggest house viewing faux pas they’ve seen both buyers and sellers make during visits, then offered the following advice;
Respect the property
It’s important to show the property the same level of respect you would expect someone to give your home. Propertymark members recall buyers lighting up cigarettes, refusing to take their shoes off and bringing along their pets. Even though the buyer makes the initial offer, the seller ultimately decides who they want to sell their home to.
Don’t negotiate during the viewing
A house viewing is not the place to start negotiating the asking price. Instead, wait until you’ve left the property to discuss the price with your estate agent. It’s also not suitable to criticise the asking price to the agent while you’re being shown around the property, especially if the seller is at home.
If you’ve got an opinion, keep it to yourself while you’re in the property
One of the worst things a buyer can do is criticise the property while they’re viewing it. That ‘ghastly’ en-suite may be the seller’s favourite feature of their home.
Arrange to be out for any viewings
Even if you’re genuinely hoping to be helpful by asking questions, it puts buyers off when the seller is hanging around. They don’t feel like they can relax and imagine themselves in the property if they can sense that they’re being watched. They may also want to try out the taps and shower, which they won’t do if you’re not around – ultimately this could be a deal breaker.
Don’t leave any surprises
Although this should be a given, the number of sellers who leave their property in a mess is surprising. No one wants to buy a property which is a tip; ensure the property is left clean and tidy before any viewings. If you’re going to be in while your estate agent is conducting viewings, make sure you’re presentable and ready to answer questions; Propertymark recall various viewings when the sellers have still been in bed asleep.
Don’t waste buyers’ time
Make sure you’re upfront with the agent about the type of buyer you’re looking for – if you need to move quickly and are looking for a buyer with no chain, or looking for a cash buyer only, make sure all parties are aware in advance. One agent recalls a seller who was looking for a cash buyer, and kept turning away prospective buyers… Turns out he was expecting punters to turn up with a suitcase full of cash to complete the sale there and then.
Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, said: "First impressions are a crucial part of the house buying and selling process, but it’s no surprise buyers and sellers are making silly mistakes which could damage the interest from the buyer, or have an impact on whether the seller accepts an offer.
“However, on the flipside, you could visit a property and be so overcome by great first impressions you forget to ask the right questions which will help you establish whether it really is the right property for you and any potential problems. Experienced agents will help guide both the seller and buyer through the house viewing process to ensure it goes as smoothly as it can and no faux pas are made.”