Most good estate agents prefer to handle viewings themselves. Now, this might sound a bit counter-intuitive - after all, you know your home better than anyone else does. But, viewing is arguably the most critical activity in marketing your property. Sure, your agent doesn’t have your detailed knowledge of the property, but he or she does have the skills, the training, the knowledge of the market and the experience to identify and focus on the features that are particularly relevant to the wants and needs of prospective buyers.
You might want to think about the time of day that you have viewings. For example, if the property is near a school, you might want to avoid break times due to the noise. If the property is on the main road, you might want to arrange the appointment for the middle of the day when traffic volumes are lower. These are all things you have got used to and, unless they are the reason for your move, you might not have considered the negative impact they could make on your potential buyer.
Like you, your buyer will probably have a clear idea of what they want – both in terms of absolute must-have’s, such as the number of bedrooms, outdoor space, location or price, and features you’d like but aren’t absolutely necessary, such as a certain style of property or a separate dining room, etc. Our job is to make sure they not only see what is already there but the potential for any optional extras or compromises within their budget.
Agents also enjoy a degree of professional detachment and objectivity, which with the best will in the world no homeowner can match, and which buyers not only respect but tend to feel more comfortable with. Brought face to face with a proud owner, people often feel uncomfortable; unable to ask important but perhaps sensitive questions, or to pass comment for fear of causing offence. Do the windows, guttering, brickwork/render and roof appear to be in a good state of repair? And is the interior decorated well? This can clearly be a matter of taste, and it is easier for us to discuss redecorating if you, the proud owner, are not present.
All of this can, of course, be remedied – either quickly and relatively cheaply or at a higher cost, depending on the extent of the work needed, which will become clearer with a survey. The estate agent should have copies of any guarantees and inspection reports, has a legal obligation to disclose any known problems, and will have taken the condition of the house and its fittings into account for the valuation.
If you feel there are particularly important points about your home that would appeal to a buyer, then you should make your agent aware of them. And on the day, you should certainly take the basic precaution of putting any valuables out of sight.
But once you’ve done that, you should leave everything to your agent. Take yourself off for a long walk or a trip to the shops, and if you’ve got children or pets, take them with you.
At the end of the day, it’s your choice but remember, your agent does this all the time and should know the best way to present any property – yours included.