It's a sad fact that there are a lot of timewaster out there who want to come and look around people's houses when they have no intention of buying.
To sort the wheat from the chaff ask these simple questions on the phone before arranging a viewing
Explain politely that there is a lot of interest in the property and that you need to make sure that anyone who comes around is serious... you had a couple of people who seemed to be complete no hopers.
Are you selling aswell?
What stage are you at with that?
If it's for sale, who is selling it (you could then check that they have actually got it on the market and are not just on a fishing expedition to see what's out there).
Are you in a chain?
First time buyers: do you have a mortgage offer ie a mortgage in principle.
Can you really afford my property?
Generally how quickly can you move
Depending on their answers you can assess their level of seriousness and whether you want them in your house at all. If you're not sure say you'll have to refer to your partner and will call them back.
Tip: Serious buyers tend to ask quite a lot of questions themselves before coming to view.
On the day of any viewings make sure the property is tidy, turn on all the lights, and make sure it smells nice.
Rule number one: let the buyers look through the property on their own.
Don’t follow them around.
If you really think you should show them around then do so. But stress this is just to let them know what’s where.
While you are showing them around in this way always stand back and let them enter the room first. It matters.
Once you've shown them the layout say you’re off to make a cup of tea and disappear.
Tip Create a competitive atmosphere by organising group viewings.
Er what? Yes that’s right. Try not to be there.
Get a friend, relative or neighbour to do the honours. The reasons for this are:
It makes for a more relaxed viewing for the buyer.
And significantly: It protects you from having to answer any difficult questions.
You don’t want to be put on the spot when they ask you direct questions like “are the neighbours noisy”. Assuming the neighbours are from hell, if you lie about this you can be done for misrepresenting the property. Far better for that answer to come in writing from a clever solicitor.
Now here's a naughty idea: if you can’t get someone else to do the viewing you could always pretend you’re someone else. Using an alias is not illegal in the UK. The chances of you meeting the buyer – if they do buy – are very remote. Just make sure you’ve moved out before they arrive with their removals van! Not that it would really matter by then.
In any event: Prepare for any difficult questions. You will know what they are. Try to prepare a neutral, convincing answer. People can tell if you’re stressed by the question – or even lying - if your eyes move or you touch your face while you’re telling the porky.
Are the neighbours noisy? “Oh they’re a bit salt of the
earth. But they’re good hearted people really”. Say this
with confidence and a smile.
But don’t misrepresent your property
Tip: Keep a copy of your description/ particulars to hand. People under the spotlight, at interviews or … house viewings ! ... can often forget their own phone number.
A good idea is to keep copies of your property description in your front hall - not least to give these to anyone who sees your For Sale Sign and knocks on your door without an appointment. See Never Show anyone around without an appointment in the section on Your Security.
A huge factor this. Make sure your home smells nice. Give it a good airing. Use pot pourri. If you’ve got pets take steps to reduce their smell.
Put on a pot of coffee.
Or you can get essential oils like lavender to diffuse a smell through the house. Or joss sticks. Use these sparingly as they tend to be strong – you don’t want to over-power the buyer, or make it too obvious.
If you have been painting leave a few sliced onions out overnight. These help get rid of the smell, particularly of gloss paint
Don’t arrange viewings while you're cooking - or just after. Cooking
smells can be off putting.
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