It’s Lockdown 3… But Property Agents are Still Helping People to Move House!

As we near the end of our first week of Lockdown 3 in England, we’re still helping people move house!  Unlike the first lockdown in March 2020, sales and lettings agents are allowed to continue and people are able to carry on with moving house, but there are guidelines we have to follow.   So, let’s shed some light on what we can and can’t do for our clients, what you need to do in order to move house and government guidelines.

The search for a property is much more online than it used to be due to COVID-19.  Not only are sales and lettings agents offering virtual viewings, conveyancers, solicitors and surveyors are also conducting their work online, where they can, to reduce the risk.

Viewings

Virtual viewings are available on most of the properties we have listed for sale or rent.  We highly recommend anyone interested in a property uses our virtual guided tours of the property initially.  If you are actively looking to move and wish to view the property in person, please contact us to arrange as these are now by appointment only.

We are allowed to continue viewings of properties; however, the following government guidelines must be adhered to:

  • Face coverings must be worn at all times by the property agent as well as buyers and tenants throughout the viewing (if you are exempt from wearing a face covering, please advise us before booking a viewing appointment).
  • Hand sanitiser must be used on entering the property.
  • Buyers and tenants viewing a property are not allowed to touch anything at the property.
  • A 2 metre distance must be maintained from others in the property, where possible.
  • Homeowners (or the agent) should open all the internal doors to allow easy access and the avoidance of surfaces being touched. In addition, homeowners (or the agent) should clean all surfaces and door handles with an antibacterial cleaning product after the viewing.
  • Guidelines advise there should be no more than 2 households within the property at any one time. This includes the property agent.  Therefore, we advise a limit of 2 people viewing the property.

We would recommend to all our landlords and vendors that should a viewing in person be booked by a buyer or tenant, the government has advised that you vacate the property during the viewing to minimise risk.

Listing your property for sale or to rent

It is acceptable to list your property for sale or rent with us.  We are allowed to visit your property to conduct a valuation, take photos and videos for virtual viewings, brochures and list online.  In addition, energy assessors are allowed to enter your property to conduct their assessment for an EPC.  All of us will wear face coverings, avoid touching surfaces where possible, use hand sanitiser and maintain a 2 metre distance.  We would recommend that before we arrive, open all internal doors to avoid any risk.

All offers on properties for sale or rent will be processed as normal.  However, we would advise that a prospective buyer or tenant avoids re-visiting the property after an offer has been accepted.

Property surveys and searches

Your conveyancer or solicitor will be able to carry out the searches on a property online in order to progress the sale of a property.

With regard to property surveys, a surveyor is allowed to enter a property to conduct a survey. This also applies to surveyors from providers of mortgages.  It is recommended that all surveyors follow the government guidelines when visiting a property.  It must be by appointment only through the property agent and limited to just one person.  For vendors, we would advise that you open all internal doors and also areas where the surveyor will need access, i.e. in the loft and under the stairs.  We would also recommend that the owners of the property minimise contact with the surveyor, such as remaining in a different room whilst the surveyor carries out their inspection of the property.

Moving house

Tenants and buyers are allowed to continue to move house, including locating to a different area.  The government has advised that property owners who are moving do as much of the packing of their belongings as possible rather than rely on a removal service.

We would also recommend using a professional cleaning company to carry out a deep clean of the property you are leaving to reduce the risk of coronavirus as much as possible for the people moving into your property, and the removal company’s representatives.

Unless a person outside your household is part of your bubble, they are not allowed to help you pack or move house.  However, if someone is helping you, it is recommended that:

  • You clean/sanitise your belongings before they are handled, where possible.
  • All internal and external doors are left open.
  • No refreshments are provided.
  • Separate towels, or paper towels, are used for washing and drying hands, where possible.
  • Maintain a 2 metre social distance as much as possible.

Removal companies are still able to carry on moving people from property to property but they will be following specific guidelines to minimise risk.  They are extremely busy at the moment so it is recommended that you book a removal company as soon as possible once a sale or rental has been agreed.  Whilst the removal people are moving you in to your new property, please ensure that all internal and external doors remain open to minimise contact, and maintain a social distance of 2 metres.

Do not provide refreshments and ensure the removal people have access to hand washing facilities, separate towels or paper towels, where possible.  Everyone involved with moving house should aim to avoid touching surfaces and door handles, as well as regularly sanitise or wash hands.

Be patient!

These are difficult times for everyone involved in the property industry.  You may experience delays in moving house, be it with mortgage providers, solicitors and conveyancers, online searches and other aspects.  Be patient; we’re all in this together and we will get there!

At Elizabeth Hunt & Associates, we are always available to answer anyone’s queries and provide professional advice.  If you’re not sure what you should or shouldn’t be doing whilst moving house, please contact us on 01483 285255 or email elizabeth@elizabethhuntassociates.co.uk.