A recent post on one of the French property forums prompted this note. A British vendor had set very strict rules relating to visits, on the grounds that he owned two large dogs who were albeit friendly somewhat intrustive, and likely to distract potential buyers. He insisted that viewings were by appointment at a fixed time - when the owners would then leave the property with the dogs - and after the visit, the agent was to telephone them with an 'all clear' at which point the owners would return. The system had broken down within days, the vendor complained. In my reply I tried to point out that while his intentions were undoubtedly laudable, arranging property viewings is not always straightforward for the following reasons:
- Almost all buyers leave too little time for viewings, sometimes unaware of the distances involved, and want to rush off to another appointment (with a rival agent!) instead of completing a series of pre-arranged visits.
- Buyers can turn up late without warning, arrive unannounced and without an appointment, and still expect to be taken immediately on a series of visits.
- Many vendors prefer visits by appointment, with adequate notice, and may refuse to receive visits during meal times, evenings, weekends etc.
- Visits may take longer than anticipated, resulting in a series of delays and sometimes the need to re-schedule appointments en route.
- Vendors sometimes "forget" they have arranged an appointment and are not at home when the agent arrives with his potential client.
- Keys are not always where they should be! Some vendors insist on giving out only set of keys to be shared among a number of different offices or even different agencies. If a negotiator has arranged a series of visits he may be holding several sets of keys which will not be available until he returns to the office - perhaps some hours later.
These are just a few of the hazards drawn from my time as a negotiator inside a busy agency, with four offices, and eight or ten negotiators. The rule was that keys would be held at the office nearest to the property and returned as soon as possible after a viewing. Human nature being what it is, this did not always happen.
Vendors should try to understand the practical difficulties involved in arranging property viewings and be as flexible as possible in what is still a very competitive property market;