From Sam and Laura at Newton & Co
Although we are waiting for specific guidelines from the Housing Minister, Chris Pincher, we wanted to give you an update on what we know right now, and how it might affect your moving plans. This way, you can make an informed decision going forward. At the time of writing, the situation hasn’t changed, and we still cannot conduct face-to-face meetings such as viewings or valuations, but this could change very quickly. We have systems and procedures in place to ensure everyone’s safety. Here’s what you need to know right now:
Once we are able to offer viewings to buyers once again, we expect an initial surge of requests. This will really help to kickstart the housing market, but it may be fairly short-lived, and could peter out within a few months. Over the last few weeks, we have taken lots of calls from people wanting to view our homes as soon as viewings are possible, and these enquiries are increasing daily. To date, we have a list of around 50 buyers who have made viewing requests, and as soon as we have a definite date, our first priority is to book in those viewings. But we need to make sure our clients, our buyers and our team are safe:
Once we receive viewing guidelines from the Housing Minister, we can make sure we accommodate our processes to adhere to them. These have yet to be confirmed but we expect them to include:
• Personal protective equipment (PPE) –we now have gloves and masks available for our team to use while conducting a viewing, and also for the use of buyers, if they do not have their own.
• Limits on viewings – possibly no more than one viewing on a property, per day. Or for viewings to be a prescribed time apart, eg with a two-hour interval.
• Time limits on viewings – possibly no more than 15-30 minutes to view one property
• Viewings to be ‘contactless’ – where possible and appropriate, we may need to leave doors and main cupboards open, so buyers don’t need to touch them.
• Distance viewings – we/you may need to remain out of the house whilst the viewing takes place, in the car or the garden.
Valuation guidelines may be further down the line. We have a list of homes that would like us to visit once it is safe for us to do so. We expect similar guidelines for valuations as we will see for viewings.
There are some owners that would like to move a little quicker – and we have been able to offer advice via live Zoom videos. If this is something you’d be interested in, you can call us on 01204 329975 or email us on [email protected] and we will arrange this for you.
Homes waiting to go on the market
We have a list of homes ready to be photographed and launched on Rightmove. These will go ahead as soon as possible, because we know there are buyers waiting to view, and move home. With an average of 54 property sales per week in our area, we expect there to be an initial swell of homes available to buy, but it may take many months for availability levels to get back to normal. If demand from buyers remains near-normal, there will be a lack of supply of homes. As a result, we don’t expect house prices to fall in our area, but to remain at their pre-lockdown levels. However, this situation could change very quickly, so that’s why it’s important to talk to us, whether you’re buying or selling a home, to get specific advice on your individual circumstances.
Changes to lending and conveyancing
It’s possible that lenders may conduct distance valuations, and conveyancers may accept electronic signatures. However, these measures may not be uniform across the industry, with some lenders insisting on a surveyor’s visit for a valuation. This may delay some moves, so buyers and sellers may need to accommodate this in their planned timescales. We’ll advise our clients on an ongoing and individual basis if this is the case. A Stamp Duty holiday has been mooted as one move that will help re-vitalise the housing market, which would be a welcome one.
Public Health England and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government are working closely with the National Association of Estate Agents Propertymark, to make sure our industry is safe to re-open. Estate agents, conveyancers, surveyors and removal firms will all be working in accordance with the new guidelines, which will affect everyone involved in the industry. Of course, as soon as we receive further clarification, we will provide further updates on an ongoing basis.
How you can help us, to help you
If you’re selling your home with us right now, it’s important to be viewing-ready, so if you haven’t already received our ‘Preparing to Sell Checklist’ you can email us on [email protected] and we’ll send it to you straight away.
To make sure your home is safe to view, and reassure viewers, all surfaces need to be sparkling clean, using a bleach-based cleaner where possible and appropriate. A home that smells freshly cleaned will help a buyer to relax, so they can better focus on the features of your home.
Not sure whether to sell right now? Talk to us:
Whatever your moving plans were before lockdown, they may well have changed now. If you were planning on moving home, and you’re now reconsidering, a chat with us may help to clarify your options. On the other hand, if you have recently decided you need to move house because your circumstances have now changed, let’s chat as soon as possible, so we can help you to put a moving plan together.
Whatever your plans, we’re here to help. A chat with us now may reassure you and help you make an informed decision for you and your family. Just call on 01204 329975 or email on on [email protected] and we’ll respond quickly and in confidence.
Laura & Sam