As we are all trying to come to terms with the enormity of the Covid-19 situation, there are many questions as to what we can or can’t do without putting our own health or that of others at risk. Many people will have been looking forward to spring 2020 after gaining some Brexit certainty. People were enjoying the flurry in the housing market, finally excited at the prospect of buying or selling a property. So where are we now? Is it still ok to be viewing properties or putting your home on the market? What should you expect if you are buying or selling during these unprecedented times? We asked Nick Moir of Andrews Estate Agents, who have 40+ offices covering London and the South of England some question that we thought you would like answers to.
There are still people who will need to move, and where the right precautions are taken that may still be possible.
Are you busier or quieter than usual right at this moment?
We are fielding a lot of enquiries at the moment, and there are still sales and lets going ahead whether that is because they are chains already in progress or simple because people still need to move because of their individual circumstances.
What should a prospective buyer be doing right at this moment? If they are healthy, should they be rushing to as many viewings as possible?
It is still currently possible to view properties, although we are of course respecting our clients where they may be isolating themselves or wish to protect a vulnerable member of the household. We would encourage customers to speak to an agent to find out what is possible. We have even held video calls with customers to show them around a property or even to talk through property descriptions.
What should people do who are considering going on the market shortly?
Talk to your agent. There are still people who will need to move, and where the right precautions are taken that may still be possible. It is also remarkable as to how resilient the market is – looking at Land Registry data on average house prices have been up by 7.54% 12 months after a 5%+ one-day fall in the FTSE 100 - and 42% after five years.
Whilst viewings are still going ahead what precautions have you taken to help keep everyone safe?
Of course we are following and encouraging our staff and customers to be following the NHS guidelines.
If we do enter a state of more restricted movement, where viewing will no longer be possible, are there any alternative ways people can show or view properties, or will this simply not be possible?
Andrews staff are all using mobile tablets and phones and are able to offer video calls. Even if we can’t do that live from a property, or even use a pre-recorded video, we’re happy to talk you through all the property details and photos we have.
If this happens do you expect, offers on properties to come to a halt?
Not necessarily, as there is such high demand for property, although we are seeing an effect whereby understandably, the time taken to complete a sale is starting to increase.
Do you expect a higher proportion of sales to fall through because of Corona Virus?
It depends on the individual circumstances of the people in the chain.
Are you particularly active in the community and if so in what way is this changing because of the Virus?
Andrews is a great supporter of local community events, and as they have been cautioned against by the government, this has decreased but this is of course the right thing to do, to ensure our communities stay safe.
Have I missed anything pressing?
As at the end of Wednesday, we are receiving a lot of enquiries from tenants and landlords concerned about paying their rent and mortgages. Whilst we want to help all our tenants and landlords in this difficult time, and are keeping an eye on the situation, we are waiting for further information from the government. It is likely that there will be no blanket scheme, so we will need to consider the situation of all tenants and landlords individually. Ultimately, these decisions will lie with the landlord.