5 tips to make your 15-minute viewing count

Viewing a property is drastically different now when compared to the start of 2020, but while most of us are aware about keeping spaces ventilated, wearing PPE and sellers having to vacate the property, there is a less publicised aspect that is impacting property tours – a time limit.

The Housing Secretary used the start of national lockdown 2.0 in October 2020 to repeat the current guidance that viewings can only last for 15 minutes. While it seems such a brief amount of time to evaluate the suitability of probably a person’s most expensive purchase, research in the carefree, pre-Covid year of 2014 found house hunters only spent an average 25 minutes and 30 seconds viewing a house before deciding to buy it.

Realistically, today’s viewers have 10 minutes less to investigate bedrooms, nose in cupboards and admire the décor. Still, with the clock ticking and quite possibly no chance for a second viewing (the property industry is being asked to limit the number of times a property is visited), it is best to turn up focused and with a firm agenda in mind. 

We’ve produced these top 5 viewing tips to help you get the most out of every minute:-

  1. Study the form before you arrive: spend time looking over the photographs and floorplan before you go on any viewing – you’ll have a better idea of what rooms and corners need investigating in more detail.
  2. Take a copy of the floorplan and tick off rooms/features as you go: even if you’re not viewing a palace, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and miss details or even entire rooms. Use a floorplan like a map and you’ll be sure to see everything.
  3. Don’t waste time asking questions: if the estate agent accompanies you, don’t be tempted to stand around asking lots of questions that could be answered afterwards outside the property, by email or over the phone.
  4. Keep an eye on the time: you don’t want to spend 12 minutes admiring the kitchen and leave precious little time to look elsewhere. If you’re a daydreamer (or just like military-style precision), set a ‘phone timer to go off every 2 minutes as this will prompt you to move on.
  5. Make a permanent record of the viewing: take your own photos and videos, so you can hone in on what really matters and remotely revisit the property as many times as you like. This suggestion needs a little advance planning, as it’s essential to ask the estate agent/the property owner for permission ahead of the viewing.

If you’ve seen a property you’d like to view – or would like advice on progressing your moving plans during lockdown – get in touch today.