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Selling from abroad - agent won't do viewings

(15 Posts)
SolasEile Thu 02-Jul-15 04:06:17

We are selling our house in the UK as we have decided to remain abroad. We had appointed a sales agent but they have just told me that they won't do viewings in my area even though this was not previously mentioned to me as a problem. So I am now in a situation where I need to find a new agent.

Is it typical for agencies not to do viewings on behalf of the seller? I thought this was a standard part of the sales service. If not, are there agencies that will do this for an additional fee? We are in a rural area so there are no agencies close to the house although there are a number of small towns in the area with different agencies of varying reputations. Do I have to pick an agency closest to my house or just call around until I find someone who will provide this service?

wowfudge Thu 02-Jul-15 07:44:02

Well there's an agent who is either lazy or overstretched. Why on earth did they not mention it sooner? I would ring round and see what others say - do not offer to pay an additional - surely it's part of what you are paying for? In a rural area then they need to organise themselves better to group viewings together.

Pick an agent who wants to sell your house - interview them by phone or Skype and make it part of the deal that they do viewing. You are paying them, they aren't doing you a favour.

PurpleWithRed Thu 02-Jul-15 07:48:00

What Wow said - that's ridiculous. Were they very cheap? Ring around local agents - you should be getting 3 round to value the house and come back to you with their sales approach.

Lolimax Thu 02-Jul-15 07:52:48

Hi. I'm selling my late mums house in a different part of the country and the estate agents are happy to do unaccompanied viewings. I get an email to say who and when, then feedback after. I met with 2 different firms and though both professional I got on better with the one. They need to fully understand and support you individual circumstances, if not they aren't worth your eventual money. Good luck x

CainInThePunting Thu 02-Jul-15 07:52:58

That is quite odd.
Is your house in a particularly remote/hard to get to place? Would a local be willing to do viewings for a fee?

I suppose the alternative in that situation is to advertise it with an open week/end for viewings and arrange to fly back yourself for the event. Bit of a gamble though unless you get definite interest in advance.
Agree re shopping around.

georgebaileyfan Thu 02-Jul-15 08:03:31

We've looked at a lot of rural houses to buy in a number of regions and yes, the more rural the less likely the agent will show people (which is annoying as I don't like being shown by owners).
Nevertheless, in all of them there were at least some agents that did do accompanied viewings. Not exclusively but in the main the larger, national chains.
But yes, you just need to make it a condition of getting your business.

LIZS Thu 02-Jul-15 08:14:32

That seems very irregular. They expect to get the commission for no effort hmm would they not even run an open day?

specialsubject Thu 02-Jul-15 10:49:09

where I came from in Surrey all agents do viewings. Here in the West Midlands a lot of them don't, but plenty do. Interestingly agency fees are higher here!

sack the agent and find one prepared to get off their backsides.

Rockdoctor Thu 02-Jul-15 11:22:52

I think that if you are trying to sell a house from abroad you need to choose your agent carefully and be prepared to pay a bit more. I'm not sure where you are trying to sell but I would be going for a local "brand" that is likely to have dealt with the situation before.

I have been in this situation and we ended up having to rent the house out for six months before we were able to sell it. The agent wasn't cheap but they happily organised everything remotely and kept us informed.

You might also want to think about how you will organise the paperwork once you come to sell. Will the agent accept email instructions? phone instructions? Will you travel back to sign paperwork or appoint a power of attorney? You'll need to sort all this out with the agent in advance - and if they won't even do viewings then I'd drop them tbh.

SolasEile Thu 02-Jul-15 15:39:36

Thanks for your responses - that was my reaction too when the agent said they don't cover my area, what am I paying them for?? We had chosen them because they say they specialize in rural properties and are a higher end brand with a good reputation but apparently they are not keen to cover my area. It's all very odd! It seems the market is quite buoyant right now so they don't need to make much effort to get clients. Upside: at least we have a chance of selling the house more quickly.

Good advice to call around and ask more specifics next time, making it clear from the outset that we are abroad and will need the agent to be aware of this. We are a longhaul flight away too so not just a short distance where I could get back if necessary to arrange paperwork etc. Good reminder from Rockdoctor to explicitly sort out issues like this in advance.

lalalonglegs Thu 02-Jul-15 16:41:07

Just out of curiosity, how were they expecting to sell your house if no one could get inside to view it? confused

wowfudge Thu 02-Jul-15 18:57:53

I don't think you would even need to come back tbh - use a UK solicitor and you'll then just need a notary to verify your ID documents and signature on paperwork, and send it by next day courier service, but probably not much more. Do check though!

SolasEile Thu 02-Jul-15 21:39:05

I have no idea, lala! I had the same question when they told me this. It's not exactly news to them that I live abroad so exactly how were they planning to sell the place?!? Just bizarre...

They seem pretty unprofessional and clueless generally. Just glad I found out now before getting too far down the road with them.

atonofwashing Thu 02-Jul-15 22:11:59

I agree with everyone above. That seems ridiculous, so yes you must find another agent and make it clear where the house is, where you are and what you expect them to do!

did you rent the property out at all? are you using the sales side of the rental agency?

If the market is moving and they are busy shifting properties in a town/ village, yes, you might be up against the convenience of the other properties. it probably comes as no surprise that many agents want properties on their books they can shift asap.
we live in a large UK city where houses move quickly. one of our neighbours tried to sell his house last year. Sadly he'd messed around with it so much that no agent wanted to attempt to sell it. Deemed "unsaleable" he remains in it to this day. Must be sickening to see other houses on the same street being sold in a matter of days/ weeks.
(I am not suggesting your property is, in anyway, unsaleable, OP!)

No excuse for lazy estate agents tho'...poor you.
good luck.

bilbodog Fri 03-Jul-15 15:41:08

sounds like there would only be a few agents locally to deal with so I suggest discussing your house with all of them and go with intuition as to who seems the most clued up. As long as the property appears on all the right portals i.e. Rightmove and Prime Location/Zoopla and has decent photographs and a floorplan that should do the trick -but you definately need someone who is prepared to conduct viewings for you.

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