Updated Nov 2020
11 months after the first case in the UK, coronavirus continues to impact businesses and lives as we endure a second national lockdown. But unlike the first lockdown, the government hasn’t frozen house sales — the housing market remains open and thriving. Property sales are booming, and the average price for homes has hit a record high.
However, people are still advised to exercise caution and social distance, and the government’s house-selling guidelines should still be followed. So what does this mean for sellers and buyers? How can you stay safe when selling your home?
We’ve created this house-selling checklist to keep you and your potential buyers safe:
Stay up-to-Date with the Latest Government Guidelines and Advice.
The UK has never confronted anything quite like the coronavirus pandemic. Government regulations and advice can change almost daily in line with fluctuating infection rates and new scientific research. Stay up-to-date with the latest guidance to keep you and anyone visiting your home safe by regularly checking the government website.
Do a Safety Check with Property Professionals before They Visit Your Home.
If you need to arrange for an estate agent or surveyor to visit your home — to conduct a property valuation, for example — they should contact you first to check whether anyone in your home has COVID-19, has displayed symptoms or is in a high-risk category. They should also reassure you that the representative that will visit you is symptom-free and will follow government guidance on working in other peoples’ homes.
Before arranging for anyone to visit your home — be it a conveyancer to conduct a valuation or a professional visiting to assess the energy performance of the property — be sure to check what services are available under the current COVID-19 regulations. Some companies may be offering a limited service or they might have specific requirements to keep you and their employees safe. It may take longer to complete the task required due to the need for stringent cleaning and hygiene procedures.
Conduct Virtual Meetings and Viewings Where Possible.
Online meetings and video calls eradicate the risk of transmission and can easily be used for valuations, viewings and any other meetings that might have been conducted face-to-face before the coronavirus pandemic.
Avoid Open-House Viewings.
Open-house viewings are a great way to allow multiple buyers to view your property at once, reducing the need for countless individual appointments, which can be time-consuming and inconvenient. However, during the current lockdown, inviting a group of people from different households into your home would contravene government regulations. In-person viewings should only be offered to members of the same household.
Limit the Number of People in Your Home at Any One Time.
If an estate agent is managing your viewings, you should leave the property when potential buyers visit. Property professionals such as surveyors and estate agents should visit one-at-a-time.
Time Viewings Carefully, and Limit Their Duration.
Schedule viewings for quiet periods when there will be fewer people around. This means avoiding lunchtimes and commuter periods. Keep viewings to a maximum of 15 minutes where possible.
Prepare for Viewings.
Before potential buyers arrive, prepare your home to minimise the risk of transmission. Open windows and doors, turn lights on throughout the house, wipe handles with antibacterial gel, keep pets and children away from the property and clean your hands. During a visit, discourage visitors from using the bathroom. After the visit, wash your hands and wipe handles and surfaces with disinfectant.
Use Hand Sanitiser and Face Masks.
Before passing any items to a person outside of your household — such as handing over keys to an estate agent — use a sanitising gel to clean the item and your hands (where possible). If the person viewing is especially vulnerable to infection, they may ask you to wear a facemask, so have one to hand.
House Buyer Bureau’s COVID-Secure Working Practices
Reduce the risk to yourself and others by selling to House Buyer Bureau. We have adapted our working practices so that we can work entirely remotely. There is no need for an estate agent or property viewings. Our property experts can generally complete a valuation using photographs, videos and desktop research.
If we do need to arrange for someone to visit — to complete an RICS survey inspection, for example — we will ensure that the people we work with follow the government guidance on COVID-safe working practices. House Buyer Bureau is one of the best quick house sale companies in the UK and one of the few recommended by the independent information hub, The Advisory. We offer a simple, honest and fast service.