ASK THE EXPERT

A. Most good estate agents these days will handle viewings, at no extra cost. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that like your agent, most of us would actually prefer to do them.

Why? Well, basically, because the viewing is arguably the single most important stage in the entire marketing campaign, and the idea of leaving it in the hands of a rank amateur (i.e. you, the seller!) simply doesn’t make any sense at all. Although your agent obviously doesn’t have your detailed knowledge of the property, he does have (or certainly ought to have) all the skills, training and experience required to identify those features that are particularly relevant to the needs of the prospective buyer.

Agents also enjoy a degree of professional detachment, which buyers tend to prefer. Brought face to face with the proud owner, people often feel uncomfortable; unwilling to pass comment or ask sensitive questions, for fear of giving offence. Much easier to deal with a middleman - after all, they’ve come to look at your house, not to meet you.

Of course, if you feel there are particularly important features about your home that would appeal to a buyer, then you should make your agent aware of them. And on the day – in addition to making sure that the place is clean, tidy and looking its best - you should certainly take the basic precaution of putting any valuables out of sight.

But once you’ve done that, I would leave everything to your agent. And by that, I don’t mean that you should hover in the background - or worse still, flit from room to room like the family ghost, pretending to be invisible! I mean, quite literally, leave. Take yourself off for a long walk or a trip to the shops while the viewing is taking place. And if you’ve got children, or pets, (or both), make sure you take them with you.