Since the government reopened the housing market in England, physical property viewings have restarted for home-movers up and down the country.
Estate agents have introduced new working practices to ensure they’re sticking to new government guidelines, so we spoke to two agents to find out how they’re keeping home-movers safe.
If your home is currently on the market, or you’re planning to sell soon, we hope this article addresses any concerns you may have about prospective buyers viewing your property.
It may also help you if you want to know how to make sure an agent knows you are a serious buyer or renter, to give you the best chance of getting the property that you want.
Lisa Tyler, a managing director at Willowgreen Estate Agents in North Yorkshire, said that only serious buyers are being given the green light to go on a viewing. Here’s what she told us…
We’re being extra cautious and diligent, so we’re not entertaining buyers who aren’t already on the market, and sellers are absolutely on board with that.
We’re in a touristy market town so we usually get a lot of day trippers wanting to view properties but we’re not getting any of that at the moment, which is great as we can focus on the serious applicants.
We can be far more effective with our time. Sellers are happy for us to reject non-serious buyers, and it also means we’re minimising contact and reducing the risk of spreading the virus.
Most people bring their own masks and gloves to a viewing, but we have our own PPE to hand out should anyone need it, and of course we take hand sanitizer everywhere we go.
We only have one member of the team doing house viewings, again to minimise the risk of spreading the virus. We’re checking that people don’t have any symptoms when they book in for a viewing, so we can put sellers’ minds at ease as best we can.
We ask sellers to stand in the garden whilst we show people around.It’s the same with valuations, too; we ask homeowners to wait outside whilst we look around and take notes.
The buyers and sellers that we’ve been dealing with are all motivated to move and understand that we have do to things slightly differently now. No-one has kicked up a fuss at all.
At the office we keep the front door closed and people can knock if they want to come in. Then we greet them at a distance.
We’ve seen a real stampede of London buyers driving up here to view homes. We’re obviously far less densely populated than London and only 20 minutes from the beach and it seems people are really starting to value that and think differently about what they want.
I’ve never seen so many people from down south come to view homes up here, but it just goes to show that perhaps rural areas are becoming more popular now.
We also spoke with Claire Kendall, who is director at Richard Kendall Estate Agents in Wakefield. She explained that managing expectations is hugely important. This is what she had to say about…
Speaking to sellers
Communication is key and we’re really just making sure that all parties are fully aware of the requirements and how we need to operate.
Ahead of every appointment we’ll ask vendors what specific measures they need in place or what they need us to do to help things go as smoothly as possible.
It’s all about asking the right questions, checking no-one has any symptoms, or is isolating, or shielding. We want to make sure that everyone feels comfortable and reassured that we are doing everything we can to keep people safe.
We’re following the government guidelines; we’ve been sending digital leaflets to viewers and vendors which explains all about the measures we’re taking.
We arrive half an hour before the appointment, open all the windows and doors, and then stand outside while people look around the house.
There’s also no more than two adults from the same household allowed on a viewing.
A lot of our new ways of working rely on people being sensible and using common sense. The virtual tours that we’ve been doing have definitely helped highlight the serious applicants.
Since the market reopened
It’s been really hectic since the government said people could start moving again; enquiries have been coming in thick and fast.
We’ve seen lots of people who are in a position to proceed and are very motivated to move.
The sellers we’ve been working with have been very understanding. They’re keen to move and appreciate that the quickest way to crack on is to be accommodating.
We employ a health and safety consultant and she has checked all our new measures and given them the green light.