While it’s good news that the housing market in England will remain open throughout lockdown, there are several measures that need to be followed to conduct viewings safely.
‘Since the start of the first lockdown last March, the housing market has managed to pivot and adapt successfully, and many estate agents are now utilising modern technology to reduce the spread of COVID-19 whilst continuing to help people find new homes,’ says Pete Mugleston, MD and Mortgage Advisor at Online Mortgage Advisor.
From wearing face coverings to unexpected cancellations, viewing properties during the ongoing pandemic may present new challenges, so it’s always best to be prepared for any unforeseen glitches along the way — especially if you’re a first-time buyer.
Not sure what to expect? Take a look at some of the helpful tips below…
1. Use virtual viewings where possible
Properties might be welcoming prospective buyers, but it’s recommended they make the most of virtual viewings online. Many houses listed online have virtual video tours, guiding prospective buyers with a clever 3D format. It might not be the same as visiting in person, but it will still give you an indication of whether it ticks all your boxes.
‘As such a large number of buyers can tell almost instantly if a property is the right fit for them, an initial viewing can be perfect for assessing whether a buyer is ready to make an offer, or if they’d like to visit it in person before making the commitment,’ says Pete.
2. Follow the government safety guidelines
If you need to visit a property in person, ensure you adhere to the guidelines put in place by the government. Some of the things to remember include…
- There should be no more than two households inside the property at any one time
- You must always a mask
- All viewers should adhere to keeping a 2-metre distance in the property
- Keep all internal doors open in order to minimise the amount of handling by potential buyers
- Wash hands before and after
- Avoid touching internal doors and furniture
- Consider wearing medical gloves for peace for mind.
3. Prepare for cancellations and offer flexibility
Due to the current circumstances, it’s worth preparing for any cancellations which might occur. Some viewings may be cancelled, for example, while others could be postponed until virus rates drop.
As well as this, prepare to be flexible with your offer. Due to the high demand of properties on the market – and everyone wanting to beat the Stamp Duty holiday – there have been cases of properties going into bidding wars. To ensure you have a seamless sale, always be prepared to potentially put in more on your property.
The team advise: ‘As schools are also currently closed, it’s also worth bearing in mind that many people with children will need to call on the support of a childcare bubble in order to arrange a viewing in person. Therefore, there is likely to be a higher demand for weekend and evening viewings.’
For more information about the government’s restrictions surrounding house viewings and moving, visit gov.uk.
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