Viewing etiquette

Q: I’m looking for a property to buy, do you have any tips on things I should and shouldn’t do on viewings?

A: When viewing a property, it’s important to remember that it’s not just the property being showcased – you as a buyer are being showcased, too. Having done close to 2,000 viewings during my career, I can vouch for how important good viewing etiquette is, and it’s a two way thing.

Be mindful that you’re entering someone’s home; some vendors, especially developers or buy-to-let investors, aren’t emotionally wedded to the property and they’re not fussed about who buys it, they just want the highest price. However, I would say that approximately 80% of home owners really do care about who buys their property and, therefore, the way you behave during a viewing and the impression you leave can make a huge difference to whether you get the property – and the price you pay.

As a buyer, demonstrate your respect for the property – for example; offer to take your shoes off when you enter the property. Be enthusiastic and make positive comments, even if you do plan on tearing the property apart after completion, and, if you do want to make major changes or discuss the property in any way, do so when you’re outside – and out of ear shot as many buyers make the mistake of talking outside the front door when the vendor can often still hear you, meaning you’re not only disclosing your cards but you could unintentionally be offending the vendor at the same time!

Using a vendor’s loo is always a delicate issue, a client of ours once used the loo without asking and the vendor was shocked at her brazen approach and refused to sell the property to her. Also, bringing children to viewings can be awkward if you let them run riot, which, amazingly, some buyers do.

The more you click with the vendor the better, so if it’s a property you really like try to engage the vendor in conversation. We do this all the time with, and on behalf of, our clients and we’ve secured some amazing properties ahead of other buyers as a result. The same approach applies if you’re viewing a property at an open house day; the vendor is usually absent or too busy to speak, so if you can get a preview ahead of the open house, it may give you an opportunity to charm the vendor and convince them that you genuinely will love and care for their home as much as they have.

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