Now that estate agents across the country have been given the go-ahead to resume business, an obvious question is being asked by the public: How do we stay safe in the property market while COVID-19 is still active?
There’s no doubt about it, buying and selling property during the coronavirus pandemic is going to be a lot different to what we’re used to, but what exactly is going to change? This post will lay out what we’re doing to keep you and your loved ones safe and offer a few pointers on what to expect as the world continues to battle against the virus.
Petty’s = Proactive Precautionary Procedures
Let’s kick things off with what we’re doing to keep both buyers and sellers safe during this difficult time.
From the get-go, Petty’s have been first in terms of putting the wellbeing of our team and customers before anything else. We took the initiative and closed our offices before we were told to do so and have now put in place measures that will help you feel safe when you move with us.
Virtual viewings and valuations
Prior to any physical viewings taking place, we will encourage buyers to take advantage of our virtual viewings wherever possible. This will help to reduce the amount of contact between buyers and sellers significantly during the initial viewing phase.
Valuations, too, will be conducted virtually for the foreseeable future wherever it makes sense to do so.
For those who wish to move on to a physical viewing of any given property, social distancing will be strictly adhered to. We will insist upon all parties remaining at least two metres apart at all times to minimise the risk of transmission.
Fewer viewers, all from the same household
In the past, viewers were encouraged to bring along parents, siblings, and even friends to viewings, but that, unfortunately, will have to change for the time being. From now on, we will be limiting the amount of people viewing properties and we’ll also make sure they are all from the same household prior to the appointment taking place.
Stringent hand hygiene
During any physical viewings, our staff will always wear disposable gloves and will also carry hand sanitiser with them at all times. Hand hygiene is an incredibly important part of transmission reduction and all of our team will be proactive in their approach to cleanliness and disinfection.
Post viewing cleandown
Once the viewing has taken place and your prospective buyers have left the property, we will ensure that all touchpoints, such as door handles, are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before we leave. Again, this will help keep you and your family safe while you sell your home with us.
Further advice for those wishing to buy or sell property during the coronavirus outbreak
With lockdown restrictions for moving home eased from the 13th May, estate agents, conveyancing solicitors, and removal companies can all get back to business. However, it’s important to remember just how much the landscape has shifted over the last couple of months.
As touched upon above, buyers should now do as much as they possibly can online rather than face-to-face. Thankfully, technology allows you to do just that, and virtual viewings are the ideal next step beyond trawling through agents websites and property portals.
Should you wish to view a home in person, awareness is key. Wear disposable gloves, have your own hand sanitizer with you, and restrict contact with surfaces as much as you possibly can. While it may feel unnatural to moderate your desire to touch surfaces, doing so will help protect yourself, your family, and the seller whose home you are visiting.
In terms of those who accompany you on a viewing, you are now requested to limit this solely to members of your household. Again, this has already been highlighted above, but it’s worth reiterating as it’s that important. You should also avoid bringing the little ones with you if you possibly can, as controlling their urge to feel, touch, and pick things up can be difficult to say the least.
Sellers, too, can do their bit as well. If you have a viewing booked, you should ensure that all surfaces, especially touchpoints, are cleaned before your buyers arrive. Make sure all of your internal doors are open so viewers can walk freely about the home without having to touch handles unnecessarily.
External doors and windows can be opened, too, weather permitting, to increase airflow throughout the property. You should also seriously consider vacating the premises altogether and allowing your agent to handle the viewing, which will reduce contact further still.
Once the viewing has taken place, all surfaces should be cleaned down, with specific attention given to touchpoints. As we’ve already stated, our agents will clean your door handles for you before they leave, but you can always go over them again if it will give you greater peace of mind.
Finally, there’s one golden rule that applies to both buyers and sellers: If you have any symptoms whatsoever, regardless of how minor they may be, do not conduct or attend a viewing. While you may feel as though you are inconveniencing the other party by calling off the appointment at short notice, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
If you have any further questions about moving home during the coronavirus outbreak or simply have a property question you’d like answered, we’re here to help. While our offices remain closed for the time being, our staff are still on hand to take your calls or answer any emails you send, so please do reach out if you have anything to ask us.