How should we be managing property viewings during this time?
After nearly three months of strict guidelines we can all breath a sigh of relief following today’s government announcement further reducing restrictions. Good news for our communities and good news for our economy!
So, how should we be managing
The property market is moving
We saw the government make changes to their coronavirus guidelines in May 2020, effectively re-starting the housing market in England, and in doing so making it clear that people who wish to move home can do so. This meant that people in England were allowed to travel to visit estate agents and view properties and that surveyors, valuers and conveyancers returned to work.
Whilst it is great to see conditions improving this doesn’t represent a return to normality. We still need to continue to be careful, and vigilant, to ensure that these gains are banked.
Changes to home viewings
The process of finding and moving into a new home will continue to be different. The government has issued detailed guidance outlining how viewings and sales can go ahead whilst ensuring social distancing requirements, relaxed but still in place, are adhered to.
Virtual viewings – initial viewings should be done virtually wherever possible. Property agents should be able to help you with this.
Appointment only physical viewings – physical viewings should be by appointment only, be limited to members of the same household and should only take place where buyers are seriously considering making an offer on a property.
Open House viewings – Where an open house viewing is conducted these should be by appointment only and managed to ensure appointments do not overlap and sufficient time is available to clean in between appointments.
How to conduct physical home viewings
If you are going to receive visitors to view your property you should …
Before the viewing:
Agents are likely to accompany viewers however where viewings are unaccompanied agents should brief viewers and homeowners on expected conduct.
- speak to agents prior to the appointment to ensure that viewers are suitably briefed on the dos and don’ts of physical home viewings
- open all doors and turn on lights (minimising the need for a viewer to do this themselves)
- allow access to hand washing facilities and ideally separate towels/paper towels
During the viewing:
- vacate your property whilst viewings are taking place in order to minimise your contact with those not in your household
- follow social distancing rules wherever possible
- don’t shake hands
- ensure that prospective buyers avoid touching any surfaces
After the viewing
- once the viewing has taken place, the homeowner should ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned with standard household cleaning products and towels disposed of safely or washed as appropriate
Possible further changes to the guidance
Be aware that the new guidance could change quickly. The government guidance states: “It may also become necessary to pause all home moves for a short period of time to manage the spread of the coronavirus.”
This current information is dependent on the outbreak staying under control.