It’s likely that your agency or one of your clients has recently fallen foul of an old-fashioned trend which has been given a new name.
Often associated with online dating, the term 'ghosting' is now being used to describe consumers who show an interest in properties and then 'ghost' the agent or seller by cutting all lines of communication.
Some 96% of people have looked at properties despite having no intention of moving or buying, according to a survey of over 1,000 consumers and industry experts carried out by agency Savoystewart.co.uk.
With the majority of these people browsing online, some have taken more drastic steps including attending an open house viewing (10%) or attending a personal viewing (8%).
When asked what their motivation was for attending a viewing, the majority of consumers said it was purely down to being nosey, while others said they were looking for inspiration or considering purchasing a property nearby.
Half of people confessed to actively looking for homes that were out of their price range with 'high-spec and desirable features’ such as swimming pools and home gyms.
Almost half of survey respondents admitted to looking at properties at least once a month, despite having no desire to move to a new house.
Savoy Stewart says agents are becoming increasingly aware of window-shopping enthusiasts. It identifies a number of red flags for agents to look out for.
These include: not wanting to give out multiple points of contact, not knowing what they're looking for when being asked qualifying questions and getting offended when being asked personal questions.
Savoy Stewart spoke to a Winkworth agent who gave details of their experience of being 'ghosted'.
"I’ve been working in the industry for close to five years and I find that the best thing to do is to treat each applicant and enquiry exactly the same. As long as you follow the protocol and ensure you’ve asked the qualifying questions, it tends to make it clear who is serious about looking and who is purely window-shopping," they said.
"After being ‘ghosted’, the best thing I’ve found is trying to touch base once a week directly after the date of their enquiry or viewing. After that, we’ll send them a courtesy email or call at the six-month mark but then they’ll be archived.”