A new website, ViewRabbit, is charging the fee, sending a link to prospective buyers and tenants where they can pay the £30 to secure the property viewing with a range of estate agent companies. ViewRabbit founder, Michael Riley, was inspired to introduce the charge after seeing estate agents fed up of being left waiting at homes for no-show buyers.
The ViewRabbit website does claim there is a benefit for buyers too – as they will be guaranteed a viewing after paying the fee – instead of falling in love with a property online only to be told an offer has been accepted before they have a change to see it.
They do offer free viewings – however these are not guaranteed, and the website warns “currently, over half the sales and lets agreed in England have outstanding viewings cancelled”.
Marketing Director Ryan Woolfenden said for every 12 viewings for a sale, seven prospective buyers didn’t show.
He told The Times this was often because those buyers had bought another property, but didn’t bother to cancel their remaining viewings.
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In some good news for viewers, ViewRabbit confirms that successful buyers or tenants will have their booking fee “refunded by the agent when they complete their purchase or check-in to their rental”.
Competition for property is fierce this year, with the market enjoying a boom thanks to the Stamp Duty holiday, which ended in June.
Asking prices have increased by £21,389 since the start of 2021 which is a staggering surge of 6.7 percent.
Rightmove, the UK’s largest property site, found that the most recent data found that the first six months of this year have been the busiest they have ever recorded.
Despite the massive spike in sales, there were 85,000 fewer properties that were put on the market.
Shockingly, this means there was a shortage of 225,000 homes for sale meaning prices haven’t been able to stabilise.
The lack of homes has made it difficult for buyers looking for certain property types.
Three or four bedroom homes have been in high demand so have been snapped up quickly by keen buyers.