A number of estate agencies have signed up to a service which charges £30 to view a property.
The online service, called ViewRabbit, is being tested “by a limited number of leading agents, who use it for properties with very high enquiries” according to a statement on its website.
“The pay-to-view process automatically sorts serious movers from nosey neighbours, holidaymakers, wannabees and tyre kickers who rob serious movers of precious viewing slots” the service claims.
The successful viewer's booking fee is refunded by the agent when they complete their purchase or sign a rental contract.
The website continues: “It's so frustrating to miss out on a property because it was snapped up before you had a chance to see it. Especially if some of the people who did view were not as serious as you. With ViewRabbit's Priority View, you can secure early access to the hottest homes from just £30.”
Some properties listed on ViewRabbit can be viewed for free but these viewings can be cancelled, for example if the property is sold or let before people arrive.
Site founder Michael Riley says: “ViewRabbit is a UK company that has developed the world's first pay-to-view property platform. Allowing agents to create income, from the market's demand side, without creating a conflict of interest with their fee-paying client.
“Reducing ‘no show’ appointments and giving the most committed buyers and tenants priority access without fear of their viewing being cancelled.
“We started ViewRabbit because we believe the economics of the estate agency model are outdated, malfunctioning and misunderstood.
“There are around 60 million viewings carried out in the UK each year and millions more cancelled when an agent agrees on a sale or let.
“We believe the experience of booking viewings can be reimagined for the benefit of all owners, viewers, and agents."
The Times this morning says that the charge is currently £30, but a higher fee may be introduced for highly sought-after or more expensive properties.
You can see the new website here.