The Haigh Report – w/e 05MAR16

My weekly article for the Bristol Post and its sister publications.

Property Viewings – Some Different Advice

The internet is full of blogs and advice for property sellers who are having to endure viewings of their homes. Decluttering, painting, air fresheners, cleaning windows, tidying up kids’ toys, removing the pets and all their paraphernalia, sweeping paths … the list is endless.

But what about the people doing the viewing? What should they be looking out for?

Obviously, everybody’s different, but I think there are a few things that people could think about doing, especially if they’re not particularly experienced at looking around properties.

Firstly, try to arrive early for the appointment. Give yourself time to have a look around the immediate area, and to just stand outside for a while to gauge what the neighbourhood’s like.

Don’t book too many appointments in one day. I regularly encounter people who have viewed ten or more houses by the time I see them; they usually admit they’ve forgotten the first half a dozen, or they can’t remember which bathroom went with which kitchen.

Fresh flowers: a lovely touch or an evil ploy?

If there’s an abundance of air fresheners, or the vendors have carried out all the bloggers’ instructions of baking bread, putting out fresh flowers and having a pot of coffee on the go, just wonder whether they might also be trying to hide a smell. It might just be they have a dog; or it could be something more serious.

Ask for a bit of peace and quiet. If the estate agent won’t stop rabbiting on, pointing at things and telling you what they are (“that’s a fireplace” – yes, thanks, I kind of guessed that), or if the vendor has left the radio on full blast, ask politely for both the agent and the wireless to be turned off for a while.

Then pause, and listen. Can you hear the motorway and would that get on your nerves? Are the people next door particularly noisy? If you can, ask someone to go upstairs and walk around while you listen below; are the floorboards creaky?

And, most importantly, if it’s at all possible… SIT DOWN!

Tell the agent to shut up … and sit down!

Nobody spends the majority of their home life walking around the place. Much of our time is spent sitting down (watching TV, eating, working, having a nap on a Sunday afternoon), so this is your opportunity to “test drive” the house and get a feel for what it’s really like to live there.

Yes, of course, structure, décor, fitments all need to be taken into account too, but these can all be changed. But that won’t necessarily change what your home “feels” like.<