Delighted might be too flippant a word to use today, at a time when there is still much justified anxiety around the coronavirus situation, but as an estate agent we are definitely relieved that viewings on properties can take place once again, now with social distancing in place.
As a rather unique, online agent, our day-to-day working at Bromley Property Company hasn’t changed since lockdown began: we don’t have an office premises to shut, or staff to unfortunately furlough like many high street agencies have had to. We have been able to carry on with processing house moves our end, as well as conducting online valuations, marketing of properties and our popular ‘vendor video tours’.
We’ve still had a large number of enquiries, both for people keen on properties that we’ve currently got on the market, and also for others who are chomping at the bit to get their place ‘for sale’ and to get moving. We are reassured by this, and it shows that overall the property market should recover relatively quickly over the coming year.
Judging by the number of enquiries we’ve had during lockdown, we suspect that all this extra time at home has made many people reevaluate what they want from a property, and encourage people to move.
Nothing like staring at the same 4 walls for 8 weeks to get you ‘window shopping’ for that dream home!
What has been tricky for us has been the fact that not all surveyors have been operating, meaning a slow down in the process for some chains, plus being unable to conduct viewings in person has obviously been a huge factor in people making offers on properties. We have had huge levels of interest in our vendor video tours, as well as people asking for online tours of certain properties not already featured (which has been great news!), but nothing beats seeing a property ‘in the flesh’.
So how are we going to ensure viewings are safe?
Obviously we need to ensure that social distancing is upheld within any property, and are looking to adhere to the following government advice that has been published within the past 24 hours:
- We will be asking whether any party is showing symptoms or has been asked to self-isolate before going ahead with any viewing.
- We will be operating using an appointment system for conducting viewings.
- We will not be carrying out any open house viewings.
- We will strongly encourage our clients to view properties virtually in the first instance via our vendor video tours if possible, and then only physically inspect properties which they have a strong interest in.
- We will accompany physical viewings if requested and seek to maintain a minimum of 2 metres distance from others wherever possible. Where social distancing is not possible and the visit is within an enclosed space, we will wear face coverings in line with government guidance.
- When and if we do not accompany a visit, we will make sure that both buyers and sellers clearly understand how the viewing should be conducted safely.
- All parties viewing a property should wash their hands with soap and water (or hand sanitiser if not available) immediately after entering the properties, with internal doors opened and surfaces having been wiped down before they enter. Separate towels or paper towels should be used if possible and washed or disposed of safely after use.
- We will do what we can to promote flexibility when arranging move dates, for example advising our clients to ensure contracts have explicit terms to manage the timing risks presented by coronavirus.
- We will work with our clients and other agents to broker a new date to move where sales are due to complete and one of the parties falls ill with coronavirus or has to self-isolate.
- We will ensure that any keys are appropriately cleaned before handover.
As well as the above we would also be happy for vendors to stay outside their property whilst a viewing is conducted (eg in the garden) if they would feel more comfortable doing so. Our official, professional photographer will also be adhering to the above.
Whilst we want to get things moving again, we want everyone to be safe and happy, and hopefully with the above in place we can achieve this.