Q I’ve just had an agent value my house, and he says he wants to do a one-off viewing for someone who is waiting for a place just like mine.
Should I agree to this?
A Well it’s up to you, of course, but there are a couple of issues you might want to consider first:
To start with, there’s the little matter of the law.
This states quite unequivocally that you must be in possession of a signed agency agreement (which in any case entitles you to a 14-day cooling-off period), and the agent must have commissioned an Energy Performance Certificate for your home, before any marketing can take place.
If either of these two things have not been done, (and don’t believe the agent if he tries to claim that a quick advance viewing doesn’t constitute marketing, because it does!) then both the agent and you are breaking the law.
Now, of course, this might not overly bother you.
But just think: when it comes to selling what is almost certainly your single most valuable asset, do you really want to use a dodgy agent who’s prepared to break the law – even in return for a reduced fee?
Besides, there’s another crucial point to consider.
If you give this one buyer – who is clearly on some kind of inside track with the agent – the huge advantage of getting to see your home before anyone else, how can you possibly be sure that the price they offer is really the best you could get?
By the same token, even if you like their offer, how can you possibly know that they themselves are actually in a better position than anyone else to buy within your chosen time frame?
The simply fact is that in the current market, there are lots of buyers chasing too few properties, so the last thing you should be doing is jumping at the first offer that comes along.
Far, far better to let your chosen agent do what they are paid to do, and market your home properly to the widest possible number of potential buyers, using all their skills and all the tools at their disposal.
Part of the legal duty of an agent is to get the best possible deal for the client – you.
If this agent is trying to push you into a) breaking the law and b) waiving your right to have your home properly marketed, in favour of some ‘special’ buyer that he has got up his sleeve, then he is definitely not working in your best interests, but his own.