There is much delight in the property market that lockdown rules have been relaxed and that the property market is effectively open for business once again.
At the forefront of everyone’s mind should be safety and minimising the spread of COVID-19. This means that estate agents, law firms, removal companies, storage companies are all available and may reopen their offices, if they can safely do so. It also means that property viewings can commence although with some strict expectations on health and safety. Here are guidelines if you are a vendor or buyer.
Seller – Allowing Buyers to View Your Home
You must protect yourself and household at all times.
- Keep 2m distance. This may seem difficult to achieve but you should have a plan of what order you will show someone around your home. Once you know the order of the rooms you can work out how the distance can be maintained. If a room is small allow the buyers to go in the room whilst you remain in another room.
- Keep doors open. Minimise the need to tough door handles by having the doors left open. If a door needs to be closed open it yourself, rather than allow the buyer to do it.
- Open windows. Opening windows throughout the house will help a flow of fresh air and ventilation.
- Doorbells. Ensure you thoroughly clean doorbells, knockers before and after each viewing.
- Wash your hands. Wash your hands with soap and water before and after any viewings.
- Less people. If you live with other people it is better that there are less people in the home when anyone comes to view it. If you have a garden that could be used. Alternatively the government’s outdoor exercise permissions could be taken advantage of at this time. Some estate agents will require you vacate entirely whilst they undertake the viewing on your behalf.
- Hand Sanitiser. If you have hand sanitiser available you may wish to offer it to the buyer on arrival and leaving your property.
- Clean afterwards. After anyone has been in your home you should clean thoroughly. Keep windows open for as long as possible to ventilate.
Buyers – Viewing a Property
You must protect yourself at all times.
- Keep 2m distance. Allow the vendor to move around the property whilst staying at a safe distance. If any rooms are small ask the vendor if you can go in without them in order to maintain a safe distance.
- Doors open. Hopefully the vendor will have left all internal doors open to minimise having to touch anything. If not, ask them if they would mind opening the doors so you don’t have to.
- Minimise touching. Try not to touch anything. If you need to press the doorbell take hand sanitiser if you have some available. If not ensure you thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water after your viewing. Don’t touch your face in the meantime.
- Wash your hands. After any viewing wash your hands with soap and water.
- Online viewing. If you can conduct an online viewing first this is preferable, many agents offer virtual and video viewings. This means you might be able to reduce the number of properties you visit. You should only view a property you are seriously considering buying.
- 2 Viewers. No more than 2 people should attend a viewing and children should not attend viewings.
- Travelling to the property. You should where possible not use public transport. If you are able use your own car or walk to the viewing.
- Questions. Where possible ask any questions after the viewing, over the telephone to minimise the time spent at the property.
Some useful ideas to help if you are either a buyer or seller:
- Take or provide hand sanitiser if you are able to.
- Wear a face mask. Face masks are not a government requirement but may give yourself and the other party reassurance and demonstrates respect.
- Wear disposable gloves. Always wash afterwards or dispose of carefully.
If you or anyone in your household displays any symptoms of Coronavirus the viewing should not go ahead.
The vendor and prospective buyer should all be asked the following questions by the estate agent prior to a viewing being agreed.
- Has anyone in your household had COVID-19?
- Has anyone in your household displayed COVID-19 symptoms or not yet completed a required period of household self-isolation?
- Is anyone in your household in the high-risk category?
If you have any questions about conducting or going on a viewing always ask your estate agent in advance.