/ Home & Energy

Have you ever had a bizarre property viewing?

Our annual moving house survey revealed some buyers face some real surprises when they turn up to view a house.

You never know what you’re going to face when you turn up to view a property.

When I was buying a place, I saw everything from much-loved family homes to ones that looked as though they hadn’t seen a lick of paint since the foundations were laid.

One smelled so strongly of fresh baking you practically inhaled bread. In another, the remains of various meals laid littered around the worktops.

And then there are the owners.

‘Oh, it’s you, is it? I forgot you were coming,’ one practically snarled at me. At another viewing, the man seemed to have lost interest in selling as we entered the second room and gloomily reflected on the various problems there were with the property, including the young lads who roared around on motorbikes on the open field at the back. ‘But only when the weather’s good.’

Bizarre home-viewing sights

Nothing I saw though was quite as bizarre as the sights reported by buyers in our annual home moving survey.

Of course, we all have our own ideas of décor, but what do you say about a tree growing through the ceiling or a medical hernia belt in an otherwise empty house, which buyers also reported. ‘Oh, it looks great. Love what you’ve done with the place’, perhaps?

In some properties, the position of the toilet was also a ‘feature’, with some reporting that they’d seen one installed either in a bedroom, a living room and even a hallway. It was at least situated in the bathroom at another property. You might think that this would guarantee a level of privacy – except that the room had glass walls.

Not all viewings are like that. Most of the owners I met when I was looking were happily and rightly proud of their lovely, family home where they had lived and obviously enjoyed many happy times.

I particularly remember the pride of one man who had rewired the entire house himself when his family first moved in, 50 years prior. He also recalled, as if it were yesterday, all the details of the happy day when they had first moved in and started their life together in that house.

What are your experiences of property viewing? Have you ever encountered anything unusual when you were being shown around a home?


The whole UK houxing market is in dire need of regulation. I recently pulled out of a new build due to the repositioning of the downstairs cloakroom and toilet from the hall, which was shown on the original plans, into the kitchen/dining room area. Apparently the law has now been changed from requiring a 2 door to a single door access between places where food is prepared in order to accommodate wheel chairs.

I have looked at second hand houses that have been beautifully restored on the inside with new state of the art kitchens and bathrooms but with steamed up doubled glazed Windows and rotting facias on the exterior.

The whole UK housing market is in dire need of regulation. People with a property to sell should not have to move into rented accommodation because developers insist on 28 day exchange of contracts through buying off plan 4/5 months before the new home is ready to move into. I have been fobbed off with misrepresentation and downright lies and sadly I was eventually left with no other option than to let my own buyers down and stay put.

It will be a while before I decide to look at any more houses for sale, unless something is done to implement a radical change in the present system.

The system does seem broken. I find it very very hard to say anything nice about the residential house building industry. I am sure that there are some very good small housebuilders but the mass market is awash with sharks.

You may wonders, as I do, that this is an area where Which? AFAIR have done nothing in the last two decades. Anyone with an interest will know that there have been many examples, on a regular basis of shoddy building, and of shoddy design. And not to forget the specially sized beds for the show houses.

Perhaps under most peoples radar is the enormous profits the building firms make based on the hoarding of land banks. Which? is so absent from a field that so affects all of us it is not very funny.

As for estate agents. I feel I know them too well. Recently we were looking at a rural property where the agents photos suggested a parking area. Perhaps including in the picture the house to which it belonged would have been useful.

I am a very great fan of all house details being required to feature a plan of the land and adjacent plots. This is a trivial requirement as a copy should be provided by the seller to the original buyer and provided nothing else has been done could form part of the basis of the contract.

Estate agents and conveyancers/solicitors can be a little weak on comprehending the finances of blocks of flats and this can be to the detriment of the buyer.

I’m sure there’s material in there somewhere for a gifted, observant comedian. Pity Mark Steel is so well known, he’d be too easily recognised, but if he could go round house viewing I bet he’d come back with a few gems.