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Viewing guidance

Last week’s column advised, in accordance with coronavirus precautions, that in most instances estate agents would only arrange interior viewings of a property for applicants who are, in agent speak, ‘proceedable’. We generally quantify ‘proceedable’ buyers as being those who have one, sometimes more, of the following qualifications – Sufficient funds readily available; if a mortgage is required that one has been approved by a recognised lender; if a purchase is dependent on the sale of a property, that the sale is agreed, to in turn, a proceedable buyer. If the buyer’s sale is in a chain of other sales, it is incumbent upon the agents involved to check with one another that all buyers involved are proceedable. If not, the chain is incomplete and a sale should not, in the usual course of events, be formally agreed.

Although the new procedures may be frustrating to some, they won’t be to others – especially estate agents having encountered the dreaded ‘tyre kickers’. A tyre kicker can be defined as someone who appears to be interested in buying something and asks a lot of questions but doesn’t buy anything. In my 35 years I’ve met so many it’s surprising I have the amount of hair on my head that remains! A number of head scratching encounters come to mind …..

I’ll never forget arriving at an empty house for sale in Greenway Road, to meet an elderly chap who had arranged a viewing. I spent a good half hour showing him around whilst he undertook a detailed tour, asking question after question, before venturing out to the back garden. Having reached the rear boundary, he took me aback as he pulled a carrier bag out of his pocket and brazenly filled it with rhubarb sticks from a healthy looking clump in the corner. ‘Thanks a lot my friend’, he chortled, ‘that’s all I needed. I live over the back here, had my eye on it for a while – with them in a care home, they’ll not be needing it!’.

Equally galling was my meeting a little while ago with a local resident who had asked to view a cottage we were selling in North Curry. Off the beaten track but always a treat to visit, this charming village boasts a good many ‘chocolate box’ cottages and this proud place was no exception. Nicer than nice and full of praise, the lady strolled lazily round, patting the furniture and commenting cheekily on the individuals she recognised in the family photos before arriving in the kitchen whereupon she switched on her phone. ‘I’ll just take a few photographs Mr Willey’ she announced, ‘I know they’ve just had this new kitchen installed and we’d like some ideas for our own’. I was all set to make a polite attempt to apprehend but it was fait accompli - ‘I’ve always fancied a look round here, thanks very much’, she concluded, and was gone.

There are a good many more similar tales to tell but the discomfort of recollection, supported by a limitation of space, deters inclusion in this blog. Suffice to say, with the rigid set of regulations now governing the arrangement of property viewings, tyre kickers must, at least for the time being, go to ground. They say it’s an ill wind that blows no-one any good but despite the dreadful effects of the pandemic, it’s blown us more than a little good here!

By Chris Willey
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