The rest of the world may seem to be in lockdown to greater or lesser degree, but the property market is buoyant.
Months sitting at home looking at the same four walls have motivated some to sell up, while others have found lockdown productive in terms of focussing on what they really want out of their homes.
Either way, the government has been very clear that the property market is open for business.
Mindful of the circumstances we are all in, there are adjustments that all estate agents, vendors and buyers can make to the process that will keep all parties safe and compliant with COVID-19 guidelines:
Firstly, initial viewings should be done virtually, wherever possible.
Where prospective buyers will actually be entering a property to view, there should be no more than two households inside the property at any one time – including the agent. If viewers are from separate households, the official advice is one should leave the property to allow the other to enter. Vendors should vacate their home to minimise unnecessary contact.
The government is reminding everyone to practise social distancing and, where possible, viewers and I will wear masks and use hand sanitizer before and after a visit and remain vigilant to avoid touching surfaces wherever possible.
I am advising vendors to maintain a routine pre and post viewings beyond the usual deep clean and property staging:
- Before a prospective purchaser arrives, disinfect door handles, turn on lights and leave internal and cupboard doors open so visitors need to touch a little as possible but still get a full impression of the property and its fixtures and fittings.
- Give visitors access to handwashing facilities and separate hand towels.
- To ensure fresh circulation of air, leave windows open if weather allows.
- I always remind vendors to redisinfect touch points – think banisters and light switches – throughout the home after the viewings too, to protect them and their families.
These restrictions are not making homes more difficult to sell. On the contrary, they are doing vendors a favour by weeding out unserious buyers in advance of viewings and forcing buyers to really zero in on what they want in a home instead of aimlessly looking at ultimately unsuitable properties.