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Showing your house to prospective buyers can be nerve-racking. Suppose a Boeing 747 flies over during the tour of the garden. Or your neighbours choose that afternoon to have a noisy barbecue.

I remember being shown around a house in Sussex whose owner kept an Irish wolfhound. It was a beautiful home and an equally beautiful dog. Unfortunately, the dog had an accident in the kitchen, and when Irish wolfhounds have accidents, it is hard to miss them.

‘Drat that washing machine,’ said the owner, with admirable presence of mind, reaching for the floorcloth. Too late. The damage had been done.

So many home-owners have committed similar own goals that it is a wonder homes ever get sold at all. According to research by My Online Estate Agent, one in five buyers have encountered ‘something unusual’ while being shown around a property.