ASK THE EXPERT

A. It’s perfectly understandable that you don’t want to waste your time with people who aren’t serious about buying. Neither does your agent, by the way. Remember, we only get paid when a property actually changes hands, so it’s hardly in our interest to waste time and trouble arranging viewings for people who just fancy spending an afternoon nosing round someone else’s home!

In this context, it’s worth pointing out that thanks to the internet and all the wonders of online property marketing – which these days includes everything from 360-degree virtual tours and computer-generated 3D walkthroughs to Google Streetview – even a nosey neighbour can get a pretty good idea of what your home looks like and how it is situated, without going to the trouble of registering with an estate agent. Bear in mind in any case that it is a fundamental part of your agent’s duty of care to you, his client that he will endeavour to ensure that he only sends you genuine prospective buyers. He certainly won’t be handing out full particulars and contact details to any Tom, Dick or Harry who simply wanders in off the street and asks for them!

Nevertheless…the truth is that some people really do buy on impulse. 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: normal vetting procedures aside, on balance it is probably not a good idea to try and impose too tight a limit on 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 weeding out that’s required. And remember, most agents will happily conduct viewings on your behalf, saving you the trouble. Indeed, many prefer to do so.