Should I get an agent to conduct viewings of my home or can I do it myself?

A major factor in choosing your estate agent should be finding out who will carry out the viewings

A major factor in choosing your estate agent should be finding out who will carry out the viewings - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The property viewing is perhaps the most important part of securing an offer and selling your home. Get it wrong and you could lose thousands of pounds, or you may not even find a buyer.

How your property is presented can significantly affect a buyer’s decisions, but once they are through the front door, the way the viewing is conducted can make or break the possibility of getting an offer – and the price that is offered.

A major factor in choosing your estate agent should be finding out who will carry out the viewings. Some sellers may think they are best placed and want to conduct the viewing, while many cut price agents won’t offer a viewing service as standard, and will rely on the owner to show potential buyers their property. This can be a very costly mistake.

Although the owner will know and love their home, both they and inexperienced agents make the common error of overselling. This can overwhelm a viewer or make them feel rushed, not giving them the opportunity to properly look round the property.

An experienced agent is best placed to conduct a successful viewing. They will engage with the buyer and guide them round the property making them feel relaxed and comfortable. They will be able to emphasise the things that are most important to the buyer and also highlight features of the property or the area, the buyer may not have first considered.

Knowing the area and the prospective buyer they can point out local amenities that will be important to the buyers.

An agent can then get honest constructive feedback from the buyer who may not offer their candid thoughts in front of the owner. Constructive feedback can be vital in dealing with issues that are putting off buyers.

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There are certain steps you should take before a viewing. No one expects you to live in a show home but clear up as much as possible.

If it’s possible you should go out. This is particularly a good move if you have dogs or small children who can get in the way, especially if your agent has organised an open house where they have lots of prospective buyers overlapping to create a feeling of urgency.

Be as flexible as you can in the times people can view. Don’t restrict times unduly, and ideally give your agent a key so they can carry out viewings when you are at work. However, unless previously agreed, the agent should always phone before.

It is important to remember it’s quality, not quantity, that counts and a good agent will have vetted buyers to be certain that your property will be suitable before conducting a viewing.

Unfortunately too many agents still believe the more the merrier and will arrange viewings for people that are unsuitable or can’t even afford the property. This wastes everyone time.

Any agent worth their salt will know their buyers requirements and will be able to guide them to the most suitable properties including those the buyer may not have originally considered or had crossed off their list.

Simon Gerrard is the managing director of north London estate agents, Martyn Gerrard. If you have a question for Simon email ham& or Tweet @HamHighProperty