One of the main questions about property viewings is who should carry it out? It is an intrusive business having strangers wandering round your home and it can be unsettling or feel very personal hearing them comment on its negatives. It can also be awkward for the people who are doing the intruding and so certainly for a first viewing when most prospective buyers are really just getting an initial feel of the property, I would recommend leaving it to the agent to conduct the show rounds, it is after all a basic part of their job and buyers are often more candid with them than you as the owner.
It is essential that the person doing the viewing knows the property in advance. Some agents employ part time viewing staff who are adept at handling objections or dealing with questions but this is not always the case and some can create a negative impression through their inexperience or lack of knowledge about the specific house, the locality or the market in general. At Rural View, the directors themselves show their clients’ homes as buyers tend to prefer dealing with a senior member of staff who has a high level of expertise in the property profession.
When the agent is doing the viewing, it is best to leave them to it or go out, but do avoid joining in the tour as this can create a crowd effect and be distracting to both the buyer and agent. How a good agent carries out a viewing will often come down to his experience and ability to ‘read’ the applicant and judge just how much or little information they might require. He will use the time to find out more about the buyer and tailor his approach accordingly.
There may be times when the agent simply cannot accompany a viewing at the time requested and it is perhaps better to have a viewing with the owner doing it rather than no viewing at all. If this is the case, avoid a hard sell. Give the prospective buyers a brief guided tour of the house and gardens, commenting on any particularly attractive features or attributes and why you have enjoyed living there so much. It is not necessary to point out where every single socket is or provide a detailed history of absolutely everything that has been done to it, just an overview will suffice. Afterwards and if you are comfortable to do so, allow them the opportunity to wander around on their own and invite them to ask any questions that they might have.
One of the most common complaints I hear about estate agents in general is their failure to follow up viewings and provide feedback. Make sure that you employ an agent that does their job properly and informs you of what buyers actually think of your home whether it’s good or bad criticism. There may some things like the railway at the bottom of the garden that you can’t do much about but there may be practical things you can do based on the feedback you get like adjusting the price or painting Suzie’s bedroom (see part One)!