Q. Is there any way we can avoid having all sorts of people nosing around our house when we put it up for sale?
ASK THE AGENT
A. Obviously, it’s your house, and within reason you have a perfect right to choose who you allow into it. After all, it isn’t a very pleasant prospect, having a string of complete strangers traipsing through your home.
However, the fact remains that if you are really serious about selling, then I’m afraid there really isn’t much of an alternative. After all, even with the internet and the wonders of online property marketing – which these days includes everything from 360-degree virtual tours to computer-generated 3D walkthroughs - no-one is likely to buy your home without actually physically looking round it.
Of course, it’s a key part of your agent’s job to weed out the real time-wasters. And just in case you’re inclined to take that comment with a pinch of salt, it’s worth remembering that we only get paid when a property actually changes hands, so it’s hardly in our interest to spend time arranging viewings for people who clearly have no real intention of buying. Nevertheless, the truth is that some people really do buy on impulse. This might sound unlikely – after all, we’re talking about the biggest purchasing decision most of us ever make in our lives. Still, almost every agent you talk to will have stories of the most casual applicant turning into a genuine, committed buyer, once they see a property they really like at the right sort of price. Even the dreaded “nosey neighbour” has occasionally been known to buy the house next door!
What this all amounts to is this: unpleasant though the prospect might seem, you would be well advised not to seek to limit the number of prospective buyers viewing your home. This is particularly true in the current market, when buyers are already spoilt for choice.
So, trust, your agent to do any vetting that’s required – and grit your teeth!
Of course, if it’s the whole question of security that bothers you, then most agents will happily conduct viewings on your behalf. Indeed, many prefer to do so. But in any case, whenever you have strangers in your home, it makes sense to take a few basic precautions, like ensuring that any valuables are kept out of sight.