Our homes – the ultimate private space, made of brick, stone, concrete and cement.
Walls surround us and fences keep away unwanted visitors and unwelcome prying eyes. Our home is our sanctuary from the stresses of the outside world.
That is, until we wish to sell, at which point we chuck a set of keys to the local Estate Agent, hastily de-clutter, have a tidy round and then it’s viewing time.
Out at work or picking the kids up from school, walking the dog or nipping to the shops – the Estate Agent could pop in, with your keys, either announced or unannounced.
As they do they see our homes in a unique way, they see how we behave in our natural habitat.
It can be safely said that a typical estate agent is difficult to embarrass and they are well accustomed to walking into homes, sometimes knocking first, sometimes not.
And like any job, they become used to the general detritus of everyday life.
You may be surprised to know that your children’s toys across the living room floor may not send them running in horror, according to one it can even help to promote a family atmosphere.
But every now and again they do come across something that sticks in the mind. Something that surprises or even shocks them and worse still, something that can actually devalue the most Dez of Rez’s.
We conducted a unique, confidential survey of Estate Agents to find out what they had found that had such an effect.
What Is The Worst Thing You Have Seen On A Viewing?
Pets and their by-products feature heavily with 60% reporting that overflowing litter trays are especially unpleasant and others who have left a property to return home to change due to flea infestation.
Unmade beds don’t appeal much either with over 50% stating that discarded clothing on the floors was far from ideal.
Ventilation seems to be important with over half of all questioned telling us that stuffy, airless homes, unlike the fleas, rarely got buyers to bite.
Bluebottles lazily circling the room aren’t especially popular either say 10%. According to the agents, cosmetic items such as these can knock as much as £20,000 off the average house price.
What Are The Tell-Tale Signs Of Trouble From The Outside?
Agents have a sixth sense when it comes to property trouble and they know what to look for. Rubbish or cars on bricks in the front garden are obvious but who else would think to look at the number of bins next door to see if it’s next door to an HMO? Or that a green door was unlucky? (yes, that one was new to us too).
What’s The Worst Thing To Happen On A Viewing?
30% have interrupted occupants sharing some ‘quality time’ together but pity the 10% who have been threated (usually by an uncooperative tenant), one with a baseball bat in hand (the tenant, not the agent).
Spouses unaware of an imminent sale are common with agents reporting that a returning husband or wife have been surprised to find an agent in their house – it would seem a quick divorce sale would follow shortly after.
A supposedly haunted property spooked one agent who made his excuses to cut the tour short.
Have You Ever Actually Fled From A Viewing?
Over 30% have either through fear of the occupants – dead or alive – or purely through embarrassment due to whatever they had walked in on.
So spare a thought for your poor (not in a financial sense of course) agent. They run a daily risk of infestation, embarrassment and threats, all in the name of commission. And when you next sell a property, be sure to request that they knock!