The new rules of house viewing: strict appointments, layers of cleaning, no time-wasters

Covid-19 has well and truly put paid to casual Saturday morning house viewings, say estate agents

While it requires far more layers of paperwork and cleaning, agents are delighted. Photograph: iStock

While it requires far more layers of paperwork and cleaning, agents are delighted. Photograph: iStock

 

Where weekend house viewings were once a leisure pursuit for some – a diverting and free alternative to shopping if you will – this is no longer the case.

Covid-19 has well and truly put paid to the Saturday morning tyre-kicker, the bane of estate agents’ lives. All that spontaneity of doorstep drop-ins has been replaced by strict appointments where contact details and a clean bill of health must be furnished before being assigned a time to view.

And while it requires far more layers of paperwork and cleaning, agents are delighted. Viewing numbers are still strong, says Susan Slevin, partner at DNG. “Would-be buyers have already looked at the video, floor plans and photos of the property online and so tend to be very motivated.”

The 'work from home' life has almost rendered smart dressing at viewings redundant

Rosie Mulvany, senior sales director at Sherry FitzGerald Dalkey, says it is “exceptionally busy”.

“Private viewings have reduced numbers but improved the quality of the buyers. What we’re seeing is genuine buyers at up to about €800,000, with activity in the €1.5million-plus market from ex-pats returning from London and looking for proximity to schools, shops and amenities within a 2km radius.”

“Buyers are very focused. Follow-up calls are much more productive because it is more structured now,” Mulvany says. What about seeking proof of funds before granting access to view – a measure suggested in the early days of post-lockdown viewing? Neither she nor Slevin have adopted it. They will only ask for proof of funds if a prospective buyer makes a bid.

Meanwhile the “work from home” life has almost rendered smart dressing at viewings redundant, with one agent seeing a visibly more casual approach. He cites the would-be buyer who factored her viewing time into her Saturday jog arriving in full designer lycra.

Mulvany says in her south county Dublin area it used to be common enough for people out for a walk or a swim to nip into an open view for a look but no longer it seems. “Time-wasters have definitely been eliminated.”