ASK THE EXPERT

A. The short answer is yes. Leaving a set of keys with your agent has a number of real practical advantages. For one thing, it will make it a lot easier for her to conduct accompanied viewings on your behalf. After all, you probably won’t want to be making a special trip to her office every time to drop off a key - and it’s a lot safer than leaving one under the mat.

If you are absent for any length of time – particularly over the autumn and winter period - handing over a key also means that your agent can pop round occasionally just to keep an eye on the place, or give it a bit of an airing. And of course, if the worst were to happen while you’re away - like a burst pipe or even a break-in - it means she would be able to alert you in good time and make suitable arrangements for the necessary repairs.

Then again, even in the current market there’s always the chance that the perfect buyer might turn up out of the blue, just when you’re not at home!

Above all, however, leaving a key with your agent basically enables you to continue leading your normal life - despite the fact that your home is on the market.

Finally, if you are concerned about security, then relax. As part and parcel of the duty of care we owe our clients, all agents who undertake to hold keys are legally required to have clear procedures in place to eliminate any possible risk. So, all keys will be stored in a secure location - generally an office safe or strongbox. As an added precaution, individual keys will normally only be tagged with a reference number. The list identifying which number goes with which property will always be kept separately - either elsewhere in the office or in a different location altogether. So, even if by some chance your key were to fall into the wrong hands, it would be next to impossible to link it with your property.