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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

alicethehorse Mon 09-Jul-12 11:17:12

Cross posts I feel bad now blush

alicethehorse Mon 09-Jul-12 11:17:49

Sorry you caught the brunt of my anti-EA rant and I apologise!

I thought you were <shh!> one of them.

alicethehorse Mon 09-Jul-12 11:20:06

It does look like a great way to avoid fees, like I said they check out fantastically well if you google them.

I'll let you know how it goes, if you're still talking to me that is blush

<slinks away with tail firmly between legs>

thisoldgirl Mon 09-Jul-12 11:22:03

How very dare you! smile

Nope - I used to be a director of a property management company, so agents were very definitely the enemy grin. There are some good ones though, and I'd never sell my own place myself as a result.

alicethehorse Mon 09-Jul-12 11:28:21

Thanks for your understanding! smile <phew!>

We saw four traditional agents. I was very impressed by one of them actually. I'd had several personal recommendations for her, and if we'd gone down that route we'd have chosen her. Just really professional and human. When we told her we'd chosen to try the online agent she wished us luck and sounded like she meant it, which was the professional thing to do IMO. The others tried to tell us what a mistake we were making, which just annoyed me as we'd already made the decision! If it doesn't sell and we change our minds I know who I'll be going to!

The worst agent was a very charming, well presented man, who enthusiastically declared the value to be significantly more than the others, while trying to tie us into a 16 week contract. (None of the others wanted a contract - the market is very strong here). 16 weeks to beat us down in price I have no doubt!

Bunbaker Mon 09-Jul-12 11:30:58

We sold our last house within a week of putting it on the market. Admittedly it was a boom time, but it would never have occurred to me to get the agent to show people around and they never suggested it.

I showed potential buyers into the kitchen first (because it had wow factor), then the rest of downstairs. Upstairs I showed them into the smallest bedroom, which was quite large and said that it was the smallest bedroom. I could see they were thinking "if this is the smallest the others must be good". DD, who was two at the time, also did her bit and she would say "this is my bed" etc and although it sounds twee, she won the viewers over. We had three offers on the house and sold at the full asking price.

But that was 9 years ago.

Follyfoot Mon 09-Jul-12 11:34:24

As has been said, dont mention your home is now too small for you. Also, I wouldnt mention the fact that there is no fridge in the kitchen unless they raise that, or that the cupboard wall is very thin (oh no). Nor about moving the washing machine. In fact, I wouldnt say very much at all.

Most of us know pretty quickly whether we could live in a particular house we are looking round, and need a bit of quiet to picture it how we would have it.

I once showed 11 sets of people in one day round a previous home. By the end of that day (and a fair few mistakes) I'd worked out that taking my lead from the viewers was the best way rather than pointing lots of things out. The only things worth pointing out were those which were real positives but werent necessarily obvious such as the garden/certain rooms facing south, and the ease of parking.

thisoldgirl Mon 09-Jul-12 11:46:25

I've dealt with a lot of agents for work and can therefore tell which ones are the really good ones. Most people only buy or sell three times in a lifetime, and therefore don't have much of an opportunity to find out.

The test of a good agent is what they do before you go on the market. Good ones will prepare a factsheet with your assistance about every conceivable question your buyer may ask, and help you assemble all the relevant paperwork. Heading off trouble, if you like.

They will also tell you - in quite precise terms - how to present your property, first in photographs and secondly in viewings (two different things, which most vendors don't realise).

They will also know about local precedents - what has sold and what's possible structurally and architecturally. Thanks to all the berluddy wanky telly programmes, everyone wants to "add value"; but vendors resist talking about this because it implies their choices are wrong.

Great agents also really pursue the sale. Most of their work happens after an offer is accepted - chasing the chain and all the people in it in order to get the deal done. This can take a lot of energy and the hide of a rhino, and frankly most people don't have the stomach for it. Having said that, it sounds like you're deliberately appealing to cash buyers and FTBs and are moving into rented, so this will make life much more straightforward for you.

Don't forget that you can always instruct a regular agent if you decide selling online isn't getting you the results you want.

alicethehorse Mon 09-Jul-12 12:22:53

"how to present your property, first in photographs and secondly in viewings (two different things, which most vendors don't realise). "

Ooh, that's interesting! How should we present it differently for viewings?

kensingtonkat Mon 09-Jul-12 12:42:55

Enthusiastic vendors can be a bit overbearing, IME.

The best approach is to be quite low key and answer questions as they arise rather than bombard them with information whilst they're trying to get a feel for the place. First viewings are all about gut reactions and if they're not feeling the love, nothing you can say will change their minds.

The best vendor viewing I've had was the chap who said, "I'll carry on reading the paper, you have a good look round and see for yourself if it's your cup of tea." He was sitting in the window seat with his teapot and paper, bathed in glorious sunshine like a cat. Obviously the only way to swap places was to buy his flat!

hanahsaunt Mon 09-Jul-12 13:52:29

We've been house shopping for a year now. I really hate it when the EA shows us round as they don't have the 'living in' knowledge that I want need to know. They also tend to be stalkers - I want shown round to get an overview, then I want left alone.

Rhubarbgarden Mon 09-Jul-12 14:37:03

As a buyer, I much prefer being shown round by the vendor because you can get so much extra info from them. But the advice not to say too much is a good one; I remember looking round one house where I was keen to hear about it's history, and while the vendor was telling my husband all the stuff I wanted to know, his wife was prattling onto me about how cute our baby is. Nice of her, yes, but really annoying because DH did not retain the info I was keen to hear and I couldn't really ask the guy to repeat it angry

Rhubarbgarden Mon 09-Jul-12 14:46:58

Also, don't spend too much time worrying about it! If someone loves your flat they are going to want to buy it whatever you do or don't say. We were once shown round a house by the vendor's teenage daughter, because the agent failed to show and her parents were out. She was in her pyjamas and had a hangover; we loved the house and made an offer the next day.

frostyfingers Mon 09-Jul-12 15:36:22

I agree about the EA not doing the viewings, a good vendor is a much better sales person than the EA - the love and enthusiasm for house (fake or real!) comes through and many questions buyers ask can't always be answered by the EA straight away.

Obviously it won't work for you, but our EA took us round our house and showed us the best order to do the viewing, where to finish, basic questions to be prepared for and a rough guide as what to say and what to avoid. You could always be cheeky and go to a viewing of another property to see how someone else manages it. Tread carefully though, no one loves a sightseer!

I think you need to be wary of not overloading them with information but make sure that you get across the points that made you buy the house - assuming they're similar sort of buyers.

Stokey Mon 09-Jul-12 17:17:26

I just sold through house network. TBH apart from the bathroom which is on the way upstairs to kitchen and living room, I didn't show any of the rooms. Just told people to go and look around and I'll be waiting in living room to answer any questions. Worked pretty well as people who weren't interested just said thanks and left, and the others came and had a chat, then I could show them anything they had specific questions about. We had 15 viewings in 2 weeks and 5 offers, so was definitely successful. Best of luck mother

oopslateagain Mon 09-Jul-12 17:35:19

How did your viewing go OP?

(I'm stealing your tips btw! grin)

alicethehorse Mon 09-Jul-12 19:10:05

First one went well, nice couple, didn't stay very long but I overheard him saying "i really like it" as they left. Didn't catch her reply though, damn!

Got another one in 20 mins ...

kensingtonkat Mon 09-Jul-12 20:56:46

OP, sorry if this is a daft question, but does the buyer offer to you directly?

Will you have to do the negotiations on price?

I'm quite tempted to try out internet selling myself next time so very interested to know how the nitty gritty works.

alicethehorse Tue 10-Jul-12 00:13:11

not a daft question, kensingtonkat!

The buyer deals with housenetwork like they would a normal agent, so they make the offer to them, not us - except that they do it over the phone (or Internet if they prefer). So HN do all the stuff a traditional agent does, except the valuation and the viewings.

thisoldgirl Tue 10-Jul-12 09:41:13

Sorry Mother, bit late replying to your question about presenting/stageing now you've already had viewings.

The not very helpful answer is I don't know confused. I just remember accompanying the agents and photographers on their walk-throughs. Some odd things I do remember:

Blinds must all be suspended to the same height all the time, and curtains must always be open unless they're truly spectacular, when they should be photographed closed but left open during viewings

During viewings, all windows should be slightly open and all internal doors closed. Should all be closed in photographs

Loo seats down, loo paper hotel-folded

No loo brush

No doormats

No tablecloths

No evidence of pets

Cupboards clean on the inside and the fridge should be spotless and only sparsely stocked

Hang a designer dress or coat on the back of bedroom doors during viewings

Remove family photos on tables for photography but re-instate them during viewings

All books and DVDs should align with the edge of bookshelves

Coffee table clear during photographs but staged during viewings

There should always be a smart invitation on the mantelpiece (the stager used mock-ups!)

A bottle of champagne should be in the fridge, especially if it's integrated into the kitchen units

The dishwasher must be empty

Every large house should have evidence of children, even if no children live there

Bunbaker Tue 10-Jul-12 12:59:43

"No doormats"

In this weather! You have got to be joking! I wouldn't ask a potential viewer to remove their shoes, so somewhere to wipe their feet is a necessity.

alicethehorse Tue 10-Jul-12 13:11:22

thisoldgirl thanks for that, really useful. Some good tips there smile

We've done lots of those. Flat is decluttered in the extreme!

We're have got a doormat, but it's a brand new one, with a contemporary design. We've laid new carpets last week so a doormat is a must!

alicethehorse Tue 10-Jul-12 13:16:27

About the viewings, both couples seemed fairly keen, although I know that could just be politeness!

The second couple were really nice too. Turns out they have a friend on the same road, so they know the area well. If I had to guess, my money's on them at the moment I think.

The viewings went well I think. I told them that I was going to show them round, then leave them to it to have a proper look themselves, and we did just that.

I think it worked well. The only problem was that I had intended to wait while they looked in the garden so they had access to all rooms, but it was raining. Never mind!

I forgot to give the first couple a brochure (damn!) but I remembered for the second. Waiting impatiently for feedback from the agent now smile

alicethehorse Tue 10-Jul-12 13:18:38

Sorry that was terrible grammar!

I meant I intended to wait in the garden while they had a look around.

(Not that I intended to wait while they looked at the garden!)

kensingtonkat Tue 10-Jul-12 13:30:39

Good news on the viewings, Mother.

Grubby doormats are a bit of a turn off, I agree, especially when they're damp and stink.

Though we once went to a viewing where we had to put blue plastic shoe protectors on. I wouldn't have minded if the carpets were new, but it was to view a house that had been let to students

Turned out the students had insisted, so any stains to the carpet didn't affect their deposit. Smart thinking.

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