Well, yes…and no.
There have certainly been occasions where I have been to see a house and thought to myself when looking around, “there’s not going to be any trouble with this one”. If the property has been cleverly designed, has spectacular views or a main feature that a particular viewer will not compromise on then, yes, it happens. On the whole though (and especially when there is very little stock available and the buzz word ‘compromise’ reveals itself) I would say no.
So, when it comes to showing the house, who should conduct the viewing – the owner or the agent?
On the rare occasion there have been some home-owners who, for various reasons, I would not even allow a prospective purchaser to meet, let alone show around their own house. Some owners insist on doing their own viewings. Thankfully, the majority wouldn’t dream of it.
What I have found is that is that very often when an owner does the viewing they are left feeling “pretty sure we’ve sold it.” The trouble is, viewers are nice people (mostly) and are sometimes overly complimentary to owners. It is very disappointing to call the owner the following day to say “actually, Mr Smith, they really hated it.” (We would never say that, by the way.) We believe owners should relax and let us take care of it.
As agents, acting for our clients, our first priority is to sell the viewing. Once we have arranged this and are inside the property, our next job is to show the house. Understandably, each viewing takes a different amount of time. We tend to give the viewers an initial tour while pointing out all the important features, hopefully without being boring. We then ask the viewer(s) to do another lap, while we shadow them. All the while we are listening to comments (good or bad). We may try and interject at any point where we feel we can offer advice such as how they could improve the space to suit their needs, brighten things up, replace this or that, try for planning, convert the loft, garage or plant this or that in the garden. We may encourage them to have a seat on a sofa or kitchen chair – rooms always look different and usually better when you’re sitting down.
Our primary job is to sell the property and also to help realise the potential of a property for a buyer. At Brearley & Rich, we live and breathe houses. Over our careers we have seen hundreds – no, thousands. We do not pretend to be builders, tradespeople or architects but we do have first-hand experience of all things property-related including planning applications, new builds, extensions, loft conversions and replacing kitchens and bathrooms. (We also have the best local contacts to get the jobs done.)
Viewings are the first cog in the sales wheel and having worked hard to extract one, we need to make sure that we maximise the opportunity. We’re also experienced at the kind of things that buyers want to do with a property and can sometimes suggest how changes can be made. To a seller, the house might have been their home for 20 years and it’s hard for them to imagine it laid out in any other way. To a buyer, it might be a piece of raw material, full of potential certainly but in need of serious changes to suit their different needs. This divergence of opinion rarely leads to a mutually satisfactory viewing: but an agent, being more able to see both the current advantages and the future possibilities with an objective eye, usually produces a better outcome. It is, after all, something we have a lot of experience of.
So while it is true some houses might sell themselves, most need selling to a greater or lesser extent – and sometimes, the person who knows it best is not best placed to do this.
Brearley & Rich
If you would like any further property buying tips or home sales advice please feel free to contact me on [email protected] or 01672 514820