Holding viewings

Introduction

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If you are selling privately, or your agent doesn't perform this function, you will have to take the viewings of the property. If this is the case, then prepare yourself. Put yourself in the buyer's position and think about what questions they are likely to ask. Refer the next section for some tips on the sorts of question you are likely to face.

Try not get wound up if the viewers are critical of any aspects of your property. Maintaining a detached attitude is important. If you start losing your temper, you will probably put them off. But don't be so detached that you appear disinterested!

Follow what the viewers say and do, but allow them to make their own way through your home at their own pace. Don't rush them and try not to be right on their shoulder at every turn, as this may put them off. Be available to answer any questions, but don't be in their face.

Have a copy of all the particulars to hand. This can be a useful aid memoir. It should include facts relating to the running costs, local amenities and answers to anything that a prospective buyer might ask. If they have read our recommendations for how to approach a viewing, they will be well armed with dozens of questions to fire at you, so you need to be on your toes. You should also have a note of what items in the property are to be included in the sale and which aren't. If you are taking the lovely pine doors with you and putting back the old plywood ones that have been rotting in the garage, it is something that a buyer should be aware of.

If your estate agent is not conducting the viewing, it can be a good idea to make sure that someone is in the property with you when the prospective buyer comes to view your home. It's a sad fact that there are dangerous people around these days, so there's no point taking any chances.

Similarly, there's no accounting for opportunists. Don't leave any valuables in obvious places, or you may find that you are moving house with a slightly lighter load than you would like. If buyers want to have a quiet moment of discussion, lock them in the bathroom to talk, for safety's sake. No don't do that, it was a joke. But the point is, you don't know who you can trust these days, and you are asking for trouble if you leave strangers unattended in a room where you keep your jewellery not all that well hidden.

To help further alleviate any risk, only show people round if they have made an appointment and you have taken their personal details. Be especially wary of chancers who knock on your door having seen the sign out the front, wanting to have a look round. This is a trick not infrequently used by burglars, so the best thing to do is take their details and set a time for them to come back for a proper viewing. If they are genuine, this should not be a problem for them. Oh and for goodness' sake, don't use the excuse that you are just on your way out. That is like stripping off naked in a room swarming with mosquitoes and shouting, "eat me!"

Always try to emphasise the good features of your home. A good tip here is to look extremely melancholic and wistful, as though you really don't want to leave. For dramatic effect, you can even turn on the waterworks and start bawling that your life just won't be the same without this wonderful home. On second thoughts, they might think you're a wee bit bonkers if you start crying, so perhaps and few deep sighs and pensive looks are all that's required.

Make sure that you point out any security features - outside lights, burglar alarms, window locks (as long as they are to BSA standard), closed circuit video cameras, portcullis, satellite based intruder early warning system and any mobile nuclear deterrents you may have lying around. Actually, just point out the basics, you don't really want them to know what a complete psychopath you are.

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