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Finding your dream home that seems like the perfect fit on Rightmove, Zoopla etc is an exciting moment. The thrill, however, can quickly turn to frustration when you reach out to the estate agent marketing said property, for a viewing, and you are told that you can't view it. This situation, though perplexing, has logical explanations rooted in the interests of all parties involved: the seller, the estate agent, and you - the potential buyer.

At first glance, it might seem unfair or even counterproductive not to allow interested buyers to view a property. However, the reality of the property market, especially in competitive regions, necessitates a more nuanced approach. The decision to restrict viewings often stems from a desire to streamline the selling process and prevent unnecessary inconvenience and disappointment.

For homeowners, the process of selling a property is not just about finding a buyer but finding the right buyer. The effort involved in preparing a home for viewings—cleaning, tidying, and sometimes vacating the premises for the duration—can be significant. Consequently, homeowners prefer to ensure that only serious and proceedable buyers are granted viewings. This approach minimises disruption in their lives and increases the likelihood of a smooth, straightforward sale. It's not about exclusivity but efficiency and respect for the homeowner's time and privacy.

Estate Agents act as intermediaries, balancing the needs and expectations of both buyers and sellers. Their goal is not to gatekeep or hinder the buying process but to facilitate a match that benefits all parties. When an Estate Agent advises that a viewing cannot be arranged, it's often a matter of vetting prospective buyers to ensure they are in a position to proceed with a purchase should they like the property. This vetting process includes assessing whether buyers have their finances in order, whether they have a property to sell and if so, whether it's under offer, and their overall readiness to move forward.

Agents aim to avoid situations where a buyer falls in love with a property only to find they cannot proceed due to unresolved financial arrangements or other preparatory steps. This not only leads to disappointment for the buyer but can also disrupt the selling process, affecting the seller and the agent's ability to efficiently conduct their business.

To increase your chances of being allowed to view properties, preparation is key. Here are steps to ensure you're seen as a proceedable buyer:
  • If you’re selling a property you will ideally have an offer accepted on this property. If that's not possible, ensure your property is on the market and that you're actively seeking a buyer. This demonstrates your commitment to moving forward.
  • If you require a mortgage, secure an agreement in principle from a lender or have a detailed discussion with a mortgage broker about your borrowing capacity. Knowing your budget and having financial backing makes you a more attractive prospective buyer.  If you get to the position of making an offer on a property an Estate Agent will ask for a copy of this document.
  • For those using savings, ensure your funds are readily available. If your money is overseas or tied up in investments, start the process of making it accessible.
  • Having a solicitor ready to go shows you're serious about proceeding quickly. If you've already got a quote or engaged a solicitor, mention this to the Estate Agent.

While it may initially seem frustrating to be restricted from viewing a property, understanding the rationale behind these decisions can ease this frustration. Estate Agents and homeowners are not trying to make the buying process difficult but are striving to ensure efficiency, respect for everyone's time, and ultimately, a successful transaction that meets the needs of both buyer and seller.

As a buyer, by preparing thoroughly and demonstrating your readiness to proceed, you significantly increase your chances of being able to view—and potentially purchase—the home of your dreams. This preparation not only positions you favorably in the eyes of Estate Agents and sellers but also gives you a clear advantage in a competitive market, bringing you one step closer to securing your ideal property.

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