Should I make myself scarce for property viewings?

Q: I’m selling my property. Should I be present during viewings or make myself scarce?

A: I always recommend that a seller should try not to be present during a viewing, certainly not the first viewing.

When buyers visit a property, it’s much better to give them space to walk around and feel at home. This means being able to speak freely about what they do or don’t like about the property or what they might change, without fear of offending or alienating the seller.

I do over 500 viewings per year with clients and the difference between the atmosphere when a vendor is present and not is immense. Buyers are usually much more relaxed when they’re not ‘tip-toeing’ around and being mindful of what they’re saying and how they come across. They can actually focus 100% on the property itself, rather than making small talk with the seller.

I’ve been on some viewings where the vendor is clearly very proud of their home and insists on shadowing the entire viewing, which makes the whole experience slightly uncomfortable and a lot less productive or successful.

If you’ve appointed a good estate agent then you should give them your keys and let them do their job. Of course, sometimes it’s not possible to be out of the property, in which case it’s better to let the viewing go ahead rather than the buyer missing out on seeing it. But if you have a choice, try to give them as much space and free reign as possible.

For a second viewing, however, it’s different. I would recommend asking your estate agent to ask the buyer if they’d like you present. If a buyer is coming back for a second time, chances are they’re quite keen. So during this viewing they might find it quite helpful for you to be there to give them more detail about the refurbishment work you did five years ago, or explain how the heating or audio visual system works. But check with the agent as some buyers will want you there and others won’t.

Whilst it’s very personal inviting buyers into your home, you should try to put emotion to one side and focus on making the viewing and marketing stage as effective as possible, and that means listening to your estate agent’s recommendations and potential buyers’ viewing preferences.

If you have a question you’d like Jo to answer please email or tweet her @joeccles.