A traditional problem for agents has been ‘tyre kickers’ who come to view a home out of curiosity with little or no intention of making an offer - or perhaps having no financial ability to afford the property anyway.
Now one of the high end agencies, Savills, has come up with a way of reducing the overhead of catering for people who view but would never buy.
Savills in the Republic of Ireland has asked prospective buyers interested in one particular new-build scheme to show detailed financial information and proof of their ability to buy, before they are even allowed to view the development.
Media in the Republic have reported that a financial questionnaire has been sent to prospective purchasers of homes on a scheme in Lucan, County Dublin.
It asks whether they’re first-time buyers, investors or existing owners, and wants “evidence of all savings that will be used in the purchase” or “evidence of gifts from family members, if applicable.”
They are also required to provide “full proof of funds” in order to view the houses, which range in price from €395,000 for a mid-terrace to €565,000 for a detached house.
If it’s a cash purchase, Savills requests “a bank statement or letter from your solicitor confirming funds are available” and, at the very least, a mortgage approval in principle document, which includes the amount the bank is prepared to lend.
“Please note that if submitting letters from your mortgage broker, the loan amount must be visible. We cannot accept a redacted Approval in Principle” the email tells those who expressed an interest in viewing.
Estate Agent Today has been told by Savills in the UK that its staff in Ireland were following Covid-related advice from the Republic's Property Services Regulatory Authority. "This is not policy over here" says a spokeswoman.
Last week EAT reported on an incident in London when a notice appeared on a property which said viewings were available for £5 cash per person.
Although many of the comments left below the story queried whether £5 was a sensible sum, and whether it should be payable in cash, at least some of the agents felt a barrier of some kind to viewings was actually a good thing.
Kristjan Byfield of Base Property Specialists in London wrote: “Whilst we have never considered charging for viewings we have often considered taking card details and charging a cancellation fee if they cancel less than four hours prior or are a 'no show’ - especially for weekend viewings. Never implemented but always thought this would be a great way to establish who is really serious about a property. Charging to view though- that's not good.”
Another agent leaving a comment, James Phillips, wrote: “Time is money, there are seriously serial viewers out there who just want to rubberneck a property just for the sake of it, they are intrigued or just plain nosey. I can't see anything wrong with charging a late cancellation, perhaps even popping the said £5 charge into a local charity.”