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 Safety Issues when Selling Your House Privately

It is important to take a common sense approach to safety when selling your home, and you may feel apprehensive about showing strangers around your house. The same applies if you are selling a car privately or inviting a salesperson into your home.
Here is an overview of recommended steps you should take. (To read or download the full HouseWeb Guide To Selling Your Home for free, click here.)

Contact Details on your Property Advert

  • We recommend leaving off your property number/name and street. You can release your full address details when you know someone is serious about viewing your house.
  • You do not have to put a phone number on your advert if you would prefer to only receive enquiries by e-mail.
  • Your e-mail address will not been shown on your advert. Prospective buyers can contact you through HouseWeb's private messaging system. This is good for two reasons - firstly, it will prevent people using your email for unsolicited mail and secondly, if you wish, you can remain anonymous until you want to release your contact details.
  • Virtual Tours - If you have a virtual tour with your advert, it is best practice not to show the full address of your property for obvious reasons.

Managing Enquiries

  • When someone contacts you to set up a viewing, ask them for their phone number and call them back. (Also, get their mobile number as well if they have one). This way you can be assured they are genuine. Ask them which number to call them at short notice should you need to change or cancel the appointment.
  • Make a note of their name and address for your records.
  • Ask them for their car registration and type.
  • Do not agree to travel to meet a prospective buyer at their request, especially if they have previously not viewed your property in person. We know of a few cases of a "cash buyer" (property investor) from France who contacts homeowners and asks them to travel to France to discuss a deal. Although we cannot prove whether this is a genuine buyer, we recommend to simply ignore any enquiries of this or similar nature. Remember - common sense prevails!
  • If someone makes you an offer on your property without having visited your property, treat their approach with caution.

Setting up and Preparing for Viewings

  • If you live alone, make sure a neighbour, friend or relative knows that you are showing people round. Ask them if they could be in the house when the potential buyer comes round.
  • Confirm your appointment time after you have talked to your friend or relative, to make sure they are available to come round at the proposed time.
  • Find out how many people are coming round, and ask whether they will be bringing children. If your house is not use to accommodating youngsters, put away any breakables.
  • Put away any valuables.

During the Viewing

  • Pre-arrange some phrases or code words with your friend or neighbour, so that during the viewing, should you feel uncomfortable for any reason, appropriate action can be taken. If you feel begin to feel really worried for whatever reason, call the police, or have your companion call them by using a specific codeword.
  • Don't leave you guests unattended. They should not feel pressured by your presence and most people would not realistically expect to be left alone.
  • Do not divulge any confidential information, such as how security system or safe works until you have exchange contracts.
  • You can find general tips on showing people round your home in our Guide to Viewing

After the Viewing

  • It is good practice to call the potential buyer one to two days after the viewing to get their feedback (assuming they have not already contacted you back). You can then get a sense of how interested they are.

For more hints and tips about preparing your house for viewing, visit our Seller's Guide to Viewing

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