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any tips on doing your own viewings? What do you look for as a buyer?

(61 Posts)
alicethehorse Sun 08-Jul-12 22:30:05

Got our first viewer coming round tomorrow.

Have you got any tips on showing them round, from a seller's or a buyer's point of view?

All I've got so far is:

- Let them go into rooms first and for me to stay by the door.
- Don't state the blooming obvious ("this is the kitchen, it has an oven" etc).

Any tips gratefully received!

TIA smile

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Busyoldfool Sun 08-Jul-12 23:01:27

Avoid telling the story behind the wallpaper/ carpet/ extension, ( It is suprising how often people do this - it is instinctive to explain where you bought the paint, why you extended the kitchen and how much difference it has made etc but the buyer is thinking about what he would like to do).

Don't point out too many features - instead ask them if there is anything they wd like to know. They may say nothing at all - be comfortable with that

Watch them for signs of interest. If they know it's not for them the moment they walk through the door they will be itching to escape. (I once did an excruciating viewing in a five bedroom house in which the owner/ vendor insisted I looked at every single "feature" in the place including every loo, cupboard and appliance!)

Ask questions about what they are looking for, where they live now, how old the kids are or whatever THEN you can drop in snippets about excellent schools, sunny garden etc

Good luck

jollydiane Sun 08-Jul-12 23:05:48

What do you love about your house? If you have a south or west facing garden that is a definite plus point which a first time buyer might not necessary think about.

Be prepared for questions such as:
1. Why are you moving
2. Have you found anywhere
3. What do you like about living here
4. What is the local school?
5. Which council tax band are you in
6. How much is the gas/elec bills?
7. How old is the boiler

Do you know who is the target market? For example professional single (mention restaurants or easy of getting around) or family (mention nearby parks)

Busyoldfool Sun 08-Jul-12 23:08:17

PS should have said make sure that you don't leave them alone in a room where there is valuable stuff lying around, (cash, jewellery, ipods etc)

And make sure that you mention that your DP/ neighbour/ another potential buyer is due round soon. It might sound ridiculously over suspicious but actually it is just common sense, ( so you probably thought of it already!!!)

alicethehorse Sun 08-Jul-12 23:16:11

Thanks everyone, useful advice.

I should have said, we've already cleared almost all our stuff out - we put it into storage to renovate - and only have the bare minimum there, so not too worried about them nicking stuff, there's practically nothing to nick!

Also, it's a one-bed flat in a newly-fashionable area. I reckon we'll be selling to wealthy first time buyers (or first time buyers with wealthy parents!) or maybe a buy-to-let investor.

Also I'm not going to do any viewings alone. Either DP will be there or if he can't make it then my good friend (with adorable baby in tow!), purely for safety reasons.

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ATruthUniversallyAcknowledged Sun 08-Jul-12 23:20:28

Give them a quick tour, then retreat to one room with a cheery "now you know your way round shall I leave you to have another look on your own? I'll be in the kitchen/living room/conservatory if you need me"

I say this as someone who genuinely would have offered on a house if the owner had just left me alone. I like to have a real think about houses, imagine my stuff in them, tap walls, etc and find it hard to do that with the owner trailing around after me. I much preferred seeing houses with estate agents or with owners who left me to it.

alicethehorse Sun 08-Jul-12 23:25:48

Great stuff all of you, thanks very much smile

jollydiane I'll give your questions a go.

What do you love about your house?

- very big and nice layout, which unusual for conversions round here. It took me six months of searching to find it, and I love it.

1. Why are you moving

Have DS, it's too small for us now.

2. Have you found anywhere

No but will go into rented accommodation as soon as sold, as prices falling in the area we're moving to, we're very happy to do this, and get a feel for the place while we house hunt.

3. What do you like about living here

Near parks and open spaces - love going to the marshes for walks at the weekend
Sense of community (rare in London) - thriving local shops with friendly people running them
Some great pubs nearby
Can be in Central London quickly

4. What is the local school?

Secondary, the one round the corner gets excellent results.
Primary, um, no idea! We've been looking in our new area!

5. Which council tax band are you in


6. How much is the gas/elec bills?

Um. I'll dig out a bill!

7. How old is the boiler.

4 years. Been checked, I've can supply the number of the excellent, very professional plumber who put it in and checks it.

OP’s posts: |
Sinkingfeeling Sun 08-Jul-12 23:41:00

Don't talk too much - avoid babbling! Don't follow potential buyers around - let them look around themselves in their own time. We offered on a house recently where the owner was present at both viewings (and the estate agent) and he insisted on filling us in on all kinds of information that we didn't really need and distracted us from the house. We're polite, so felt we had to engage in conversation rather than being able to look really carefully at the house itself. Take your lead from the viewers - answer their questions honestly, but don't volunteer extra information.

alicethehorse Mon 09-Jul-12 00:08:21

OK, these are the things I'm going to point out as we go, what do you think?

- the large cupboards in the hallway are big enough to fit a washing machine and you could plumb through to the bath next door, should you wish to move it out of the kitchen

- the walls the cupboards are made of are really thin, if you'd like to knock them down you could do it really easily, perhaps to make space in the hallway for an office area.

- there is currently no fridge in the kitchen. I'll show where we had it, and point out other spaces it could go.

- we've finished renovating - nearly. Two jobs left: in the garden we've painted up to about 4 metres on the wall, will be getting large ladder and finishing job this week, and also front gate.

- carpets are new, and come with 7 year guarantee

That's it I think.

I may mention something about the local area, and why we're leaving if they seem interested.

I plan to show them around, then say please feel free to look at anything you like, take your time, we'll be in the garden. I'll tell them I'm going to do this before showing them around.

What do you think?

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notsomanicnow Mon 09-Jul-12 07:19:26

you'll be fine - let us know how it goes!

Excellent advice from Busyoldfool. I would second the finding out as much as you can about the vendor (without sounding too nosy) as you can tailor your showing to address it

e.g. if you find out they are currently living with parents/living in a flatshare/living in zone 6/both work in the city/have a DC who stays each weekend

then you can make sure you showcase the flat with this in mind.

My opening gambit as you invite them in would be 'have you travelled far today?'

RuthlessBaggage Mon 09-Jul-12 07:38:37

For heaven's sake, don't say you're moving because it's too small, even though it will be obviously true. Don't put the idea in their mind! Ditto "the walls are very thin" when you could say "this is not a supporting wall".

It sounds like you aren't looking for a family to buy it anyway, so you can say you have a small child and are planning more (if you are) and want to move to somewhere with a garden, etc. Things that are not true of any flat, rather than being a particular disadvantage of your flat, IYSWIM.

I sold our flat - our buyers came from one of the few viewings I did. There are lots of things an owner knows that am agent doesn't, such as the aspect, the neighbours, the parking, the bins, local amenities such as shops, pubs, walks, etc, transport links, that kind of thing. Briefly explaining why you were attracted to it in the first place, and what will make you sorry to leave, definitely helps.

Work out what people expect to find wrong with a flat - noisy, not enough storage, insecure, cramped, etc - and drop in comments saying why these things are not true of yours, or at least be prepared to defend the flat against such accusations!

Don't point out obvious things unless you are saying something non-obvious - "that cupboard goes all the way under the stairs".

Good luck!

alicethehorse Mon 09-Jul-12 09:05:56

Thanks for the tips smile

"don't say you're moving because it's too small" the rooms in the flat are massive compared to other flats in the area. The viewer will know that if they've viewed any others or live in London currently. It is too small for a family though! I take your point though I will use more positive language.

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CMOTDibbler Mon 09-Jul-12 09:19:47

If you think it will be viewed by wealthy singles, then things you might want to talk about are the quirky local deli/ interesting shop/fab restaurants, and the proximity to(and travel time from) the tube station/bus route into the city.
Don't assume they know anything ! All the things you know about your flat to be superior, mention. 'We've been very lucky with this flat, as you can see its an Edwardian conversion, which is unusally spacious, and the soundproofing is excellent' 'We love the light in this room in the evening - its so nice not to put the lights on till late when you've got people round' - sell the idea of them in the flat enjoying the lifestyle they aspire to.

hamncheese Mon 09-Jul-12 09:20:59

Prepare yourself for all the people who go "OH MY GOD I LOVE IT IT'S PERFECT I'M GOING TO PUT MY DRESSING TABLE RIGHT HERE !!!!!!" and then give your estate agent the feedback "not interested" or you never hear from them again.

GraceK Mon 09-Jul-12 09:28:44

Possibly do a dry run with a friend - get them to pretend they're an buyer & go round with them. They can point out when you're babbling then.

Dillydollydaydream Mon 09-Jul-12 09:29:40

We've just put our house on the market last week. At the weekend we had a couple come for a second viewing. I gave them the option of showing them around or them looking themselves, I was quite surprised they wanted me to show them around again!

Whenever we've looked at a house a second time we've always preferred to wander around by ourselves.
I hate doing viewings and do actually find myself pointing out the obvious! blush

FireOverBabylon Mon 09-Jul-12 09:40:29

We've also been asked, and have asked, how long the property has been on the market. It gives a prospective buyer an idea of how much leaway they have in terms of making an offer. It also made us wary of a house where we asked this and the vendor said it had only been on the market for 6 weeks and we knew we'd seen its sale board up for closer to 3 months. They were trying to put their sale in a better light to get a higher price - sure enough, they wouldn't accept any lower offers, didn't accept it needed a new bathroom and kitchen because they'd put one in with a tiny sink for a retired couple but wanted to sell the house to families. They wanted the asking price for their house as it stood. In the end they took it off the market because it didn't sell.

Sorry for the waffle but it's worth having a planned answer for this as a simple 6 months answer can ell a lot to potential buyers.

helpyourself Mon 09-Jul-12 09:45:48

Perhaps reconsider having DH and or friend with baby around...

I know you're thinking of safety, but they'll clutter the place up. It's risky because it'll probably be raining hmm but bung them in the garden!

thisoldgirl Mon 09-Jul-12 09:48:32

I'm afraid the best advice I can give is that you don't conduct the viewings yourself, but ask your agent to do them.

Even if yours is only a very small, first-time buy flat, it is worth a significant amount of money and you owe it to yourself to sell it in a professional way.

For many years I worked in property management, and have seen hundreds of houses and their vendors. The best vendor is not as good as the worst agent, simply because they are not a disinterested party and this inevitably makes the potential buyer feel very ill at ease. Not what you want when you need them to instinctively feel at home!

Unfortunately people are not good at picking out really good estate agents. The ones who are very gung-ho about possible improvements are the ones buyers like (because they make them see the potential in a property), but they're the ones vendors detest (becauset they feel the agent is undermining their beloved home).

Mintyy Mon 09-Jul-12 09:50:54

Just say that you are moving in to rented - don't say that its because prices are falling (might give your buyers the same idea). And, as others have said, do NOT under any circs say the place is too small for you now!!

People really want to know about neighbours and the general neighbourhood in London so if you have anything positive to say about those then make sure you do.

alicethehorse Mon 09-Jul-12 10:27:55

We're definitely doing the viewings ourselves! We're using Housenetwork. They are an "online agent". They do the pictures and manage the sale like normal EAs. But they don't do viewings.

They charge a flat fee of £600, rather than the approx £6K the traditional agents wanted! They come recommended from mumsnet so they must be good wink. Seriously though, if you google them, their customer rating (on independent sites) is excellent, much better than the traditional EAs.

Also I think it can be a fallacy that traditional EAs make you more money. Actually it's in their interests to sell it quickly and get onto the next sale, the commission they make on a few extra grand doesn't actually mean much to them.

Even if they do manage to talk the buyers into upping their offer, unless it's more than their extortionate fee, we're still better off without them, money wise!

Our target market is young professionals, who are all internet savvy and will be finding out about flats on the property sites, so I don't think we'll miss out by not having an EA's database.

The flat is lovely, and it will pretty much sell itself. It did to me ten years ago - I was looking for six months before I found it.

It's also in a fast moving market, I expect it to be sold within a matter of weeks. (The two other flats in the same building met their buyer on the first, and third viewings).

Also, my background is marketing, I reckon I have a good go at selling it in a professional way! Just printing out a brochure for the viewer to take away now.

Also, I have always been told that people find me easy to talk to - I am good at putting people at ease (virtual strangers confide in me all the time! I know loads of secrets. Not telling any though wink) So I think I'll do OK there too.

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alicethehorse Mon 09-Jul-12 10:38:56

"The best vendor is not as good as the worst agent" I'm sorry but that's rubbish!

We went to look at a house recently and the lady was so lovely it made me want to buy it from her more!

We also saw another place where the husband showed us round and told us how they were going through a divorce. Didn't put us off at all as the house was lovely!

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alicethehorse Mon 09-Jul-12 10:49:14

"Perhaps reconsider having DH and or friend with baby around..."

I was open minded about this until I remembered about Suzy Lamplugh. (She was an estate agent, who was killed by a viewer.)

Not budging on that one now, definitely not doing viewings alone. The risk is infinitesimally small, but I'm not happy taking it.

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alicethehorse Mon 09-Jul-12 11:16:08

thisoldgirl I would go as far to say that traditional EAs are doing a job which is based on a very outdated business model, and their days are numbered if they don't adapt.

Traditionally, we paid EAs for their expertise and access to information such as how the market is doing, and ability to market to many more people than we could reach as individuals.

But the internet has changed all that. We can get up to date, reliable, independent information without needed to go through an estate agent. We can market through the internet or pay agents such as Housenetwork to do it for us, reaching the same number of people that EAs do. Their large fees simply aren't justifiable these days, and once the internet agents catch on (which they will, it makes financial sense), their days are numbered.

Also, sorry but I find your attitude is exactly the kind of self-justifying and patronising nonsense that reinforces my distrust of EAs!

Of the three viewings we've done as buyers, the worst was with the EA! He didn't do anything wrong, he just didn't have the warmth of the owners, nor their inside knowledge or honesty.

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thisoldgirl Mon 09-Jul-12 11:16:43

I can see you're very, very confident, and hopefully that will translate with your buyers.

I am no fan of estate agents and letting agents, as my previous posts confirm, and their fees for doing very little are nauseating. I'm very interested in your internet agent and I can definitely see this being a way to avoid agents' fees.

Good luck with it all.

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