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Viewing a property when yours isn't on the market

67 replies

mixedupmartha · 24/09/2010 21:12

We have our house on the market. We've had five viewing requests in four weeks, everyone who comes loves the house, we have two couples who almost certainly want to put an offer in once they've sold theirs.

Today I refused a viewing from somebody who doesn't have their house on the market. Cleaning and arranging the house for a late morning viewing takes me three hours from start to finish and DH takes the children to soft play.

I can't see why you'd go viewing houses when yours isn't on the market...we won't view until we've sold - partly because I don't want to set my heart on anything.

What does everyone else think? My estate agent mate says I should only take viewings from people who have actually sold but I think that's a step too far...

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sethstarkaddersmum · 24/09/2010 21:16

well if you're that confident one of the others will buy I suppose....
I wouldn't, personally, though I might do the viewing with minimal tidying up and without kicking the children out.

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sethstarkaddersmum · 24/09/2010 21:17

I mean I wouldn't refuse the viewing.

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BellasFormerFriend · 24/09/2010 21:21

Well I am looking and will not be putting a house on the market at all...

I think you are cutting off your nose to spite your face to be honest, people have so many different situations that you can't really judge can you?

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sethstarkaddersmum · 24/09/2010 21:25

yeah, if they see it and like it enough they might work out a way to make a cash offer.

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mixedupmartha · 24/09/2010 21:47

I don't think it's that sort of market, is it? What's the chances of someone coming in and making a cash offer without even putting theirs on the market?

The way I see it, if they seriously want to move, they'll be putting theirs on the market and then they'll still be free to come and look. If they decided not to - well that's them cutting off their nose, not me.

My estate agent friend has warned me about (1) nosey people (2) people who want to get ideas to extend or renovate similar houses (we have an unusual extension which can be seen from the road).

Last weekend a friend of mine went on a viewing down her road just because she's always "wondered what that house is like on the inside". She doesn't have her house on the market and has just been made redundant so has no intention of moving either. I felt a bit Hmm about that and thought it was shit for the vendor.

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VivaLeBeaver · 24/09/2010 21:50

Someone did that to me once. We were in the process of putting ours on the market but he refused to let us view, so we went to see about 20 other houses instead. We put ours on the market 4 days later and sold it the next day. Never did bother going and viewing the house that the vendor hadn't let us see earlier in the week, was too busy and we'd seen a few that we liked by then.

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VivaLeBeaver · 24/09/2010 21:52

And the house we bought was the one that made me want to move. We had no intention of moving or selling but was flicking through the property paper as you do and fell in love with the photo. Rang the agents for a viewing and saw it the next day.

We moved in about 9 weeks after that day I'd bbeen looking through the paper. So people can me serious if slightly impulsive!

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mixedupmartha · 24/09/2010 21:56

There was so much on the market in the past though. We have been looking on RM for about 2 years and seen appx 3 houses we'd have considered buying. ATM there's nothing at all and hardly anything in the price range of this house either (not a single family house of the same size in our village).

It's a buyers market but at the end of the day, in my area at least, there's hardly anything to buy.

My EA mate says it's very common for people to refuse viewings unless you've actually sold - now that would put me off - how do you know a viewer's house won't sell in the near future? However - my nosey mate last weekend really made me think!

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nameymcnamechange · 24/09/2010 22:05

Don't blame you, Martha. There are too many people out there who are "just nosey" or "want to get a feel for what's available". Why should you make your home available for them to mosey around in la la land?

Most Estate Agents worth their salt will ignore anyone who isn't in a position to purchase today or tomorrow, too. Infact, the real skill in selling as an agent is to sift out the people who are serious about buying and find them the right house.

But do remember, as someone mentioned further up the thread, that people are able to buy properties without selling their own first. It is not always a sequential chain. But you are perfectly entitled not to let them into your house until you are confident that they are in a position to buy and aren't just out window shopping.

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nameymcnamechange · 24/09/2010 22:09

Although, having said all that Grin, we viewed the house we are living in now before we'd put our previous house on the market. We viewed, put ours on the market, got an offer within a few days, made an offer on this plce.

The house we bought had been on the market for yonks and was in a dreadful state but just happened to be in the location we wanted. Our house was in good condition and we weren't greedy with the price when we put it on the market, which is why we sold so quickly.

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mellifluouscauliflower · 24/09/2010 22:11

We were "only looking" when we bought our second house and didn' have our flat on the market, so you never know

I agree with the posters above, show it as is, don't spend 3 hours cleaning etc. That way the most you have lost is 20 minutes.

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ZeroZeroOne · 24/09/2010 22:16

I was once browsing houses in my lunch hour. I had no intention of moving and so my house wasn't up for sale. I knew I loved the house and went to see it the next day. I went again the day after that and put an offer in for the full asking price. The seller turned it down as I hadn't sold mine.

3 months later someone put an offer in on mine and I made another offer on the house I loved. He turned it down again as mine wasn't sold. The local estate agent told me that the house 4 doors down from the one I wanted was up for sale and, tho it needed some work, was larger and less money. I bought it and am still there now.

for the first 18 months after I moved in the sellers in the first house were still there - unable to find another buyer. He ended up selling it for £5k less than I had initially offered 2 years earlier.

Up to you tho I would, in this climate, show it to everyone who wants to come. You just never know.

Good luck

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lalalonglegs · 24/09/2010 22:18

I think if you are relocating to a different area then you will put your house on the market first but other people, like me, might only want to move if the right house comes up locally. I would prefer to sell my current home first but if I needed to, I could juggle my finances and let this one out in order to buy so I think you may be turning down a potential buyer in a tricky market. With our last house, which was very unusual, we just did a couple of open houses to get rid of all the nosy parkers and then knew most people who showed up would be more likely to be genuine buyers. I'd always recommend that for people who thought they might get a lot of timewasters.

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BellasFormerFriend · 24/09/2010 22:21

"I don't think it's that sort of market, is it? What's the chances of someone coming in and making a cash offer without even putting theirs on the market?"

Not too shabby actually, lots of people buy and rent current houses, others will take a bridging loan (stupidly IMO,) some may have an inheritance, others could have sold one house and be living in another following an amalgimation of two families and so on and so on.

It is, of course, your choice but I suspect you are cutting down your chances, I also think you are taking a lot of advice from one person. They may be in the industry but that does not make them an oracle. Different approaches work for different people. What does your own estate agent suggest? After all it is in their direct interest to sell your house ASAP.

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JaynieB · 24/09/2010 22:21

My DP and I viewed a house before we put ours up for sale - it was exactly where we wanted to live and viewing it prompted us to put our house up for sale. Sadly we didn't sell quickly and someone else bought the house. But had our house sold, we would have bought it.

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MeganMog · 24/09/2010 22:31

We viewed a house, despite having 2 houses to sell and which weren't yet on the market. We didn't think from the details that we would want to buy the house, but needed to get an idea of how much you could get for your money in this particular village.

In the end we loved it, put our 2 houses on the market, sold them and bought the house. So I guess it depends on how many other viewings you're having, and how keen you are to sell it, as you never know...

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watercanary · 24/09/2010 22:51

I think you're really limiting your options by doing this tbh. I've never actually discussed what's happening with my own property when doing viewings in fact - it's never been relevant when I've bought (due to keeping current place and having enough cash to keep both). I'd be a bit insulted if someone implied that I was just being nosy and I wouldn't expect to be given the third degree about my own circumstances. You're selling something, someone else is interested in buying, that's all there is to it.

Personally I'm quite happy to show off my home and it's not too difficult to arrange viewings at short notice - it really shouldn't take too long to prepare for one.

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Fiddledee · 25/09/2010 06:18

Are you only cleaning your house when you have a viewing? 3 hours cleaning just for somebody to view is weird sorry. Only 5 viewing in 4 weeks seems very very low - have you priced it right?

Lots of people can sell their house instantly and not find anything to buy so many people are trying to find houses and then sell however, it doesn't put you in a strong position.

However if you have had so few viewings I would take any viewing you can get

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ben5 · 25/09/2010 06:34

people who look before putting there own on market could be doing abit of homework, to see if they really want to move and if they did what the competion is

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traceybath · 25/09/2010 06:55

It think its fair enough to only allow viewings from people who are proceedable - be that via inheritance/sale agreed or going to let out their property.

Went to view a nice house yesterday which was lovely but had 3 buyers fall through in last 6 months because of finance.

Its a tough market at the moment and I totally understand you being reluctant to allow viewings from people who are not serious.

Interestingly we're renting at the moment as sold our last house couple of years ago - you'd think agents would be biting my hands off to do viewings but oh no.

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FattyArbuckel · 25/09/2010 07:26

If you really want to sell you should show to everyone who wants to see it. It's a buyers Market.

Expect some non serious viewings, but don't expect to accurately discern which they are.

If your buyer hasn't found a place to buy then their agreeing a sale on their own house is meaningless really.

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BudaisintheZONE · 25/09/2010 07:26

Well we looked at a few houses a few years ago although were not planning on buying immediately. We were honest with the agents though as we had been out of UK for a long time and really wanted to get a feel for what we would get for our money. Having said that if we had found the perfect house we would have bought it and rented it out. As it was we looked at a few last October and again it was really to see what was out there. Ended up buying the first house we viewed. But we are still living in Hungary and house is in UK! Moving back next summer.

The house we bought had had 2 lots of people look and really like the house and show interest but they didn't have their houses on the market so lost out to us as we were in a position to buy quickly.

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sethstarkaddersmum · 25/09/2010 09:00

also some types of house sell faster than others. If a buyer has a very easily saleable house but yours turns out not to be, it is entirely possible they might see yours, put theirs on the market and get a buyer within a few weeks, before yours has shifted.

getting a house on the market can happen very very quickly.

anyway, it's up to you!

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sonotboden · 25/09/2010 11:32

at the mo, i would go and look before putting house on market. my reasoning is quite simple. we could only move locally, i know the area well, the houses i like only come onto the market infrequently. if i saw one i liked, i would view it, put mine on the market at a price designed to sell, then offer.

sympathy though....

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mixedupmartha · 25/09/2010 19:50

OOh only just got back to this!

I'm still chuckling at the poster who thinks I must only clean once a week if it takes me three hours to prepare for a viewer!

One of the problems is that we have two small children and the house is reasonably large. We have a cleaner on a Tuesday but all of our viewings have come at weekends, by which point all of the (cream) tiled floors need mopping a second time. There are three bathrooms to clean, patio furniture to uncover...the list is endless. We also have several adaptations to the house which are designed to prevent our toddler from falling onto all the hard floors, so these have to be removed and stored away.

I'd never consider showing the house in anything less than this state and yes, it really takes about three hours to get it sorted out from top to bottom. It's worth it when viewers comment on the "wow factor" the house has, but my goodness it's hard work!

The reason we've had only five viewings is because we are selling with an internet estate agent. High street estate agents often send viewers who aren't suitable because it's not the sort of house they are looking for or it's not in the right village. They often do this to keep the vendor happy or to fulfill their "viewing quota" rather than because they think the person is a serious buyer (see comment from another poster who says a good agent can pick out "serious" buyers). I guess we're just busy and haven't really got time to entertain window shoppers when it takes time to get the house ready.

Every viewer we've had has loved the house, nobody has commented about the price. We have a mix of (1) people who want to buy it but need to sell theirs and (2) people who were trying to decide between our village and a neighbouring one and chose the neighbouring one.

What we don't have is all that crappy feedback about "overpriced" or "fourth bedroom too small". The viewers come because they are motivated rather than because the agent has twisted their arm. My friend has has thirty-odd viewings on her house without even a sniff of anyone being genuinely intereted. You might think this was better than five viewings in a month, but is it really?

It's an interesting question, because I think the days of the high street estate agent are numbered.

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