How estate agents are staying open during COVID-19

November 18, 2020

Whilst much of the country has once again come to a stand-still, the housing market remains open.  Throughout the global pandemic, estate agents in the UK are still operating.  Whilst it may not be ‘business as usual’, the market has adapted to the new normal.  In this post, we look at how estate agents are staying open during COVID-19 and how Area can support estate agents through this time.

The housing market has been exempt from the second national lockdown.  Viewings for both buyers and rentals and valuations can continue with social distancing measures in place.  Surveyors are also permitted to visit properties, as long as they adhere to social distancing rules.  And, unlike with the first lockdown in March, house moves too are permitted.  

In a message issued to the housing industry, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced that house-hunters are still permitted to go on property viewings, visit show homes and sales suites can remain open, and mortgage valuations and surveys can take place.  Additionally, tradespeople are still able to work in people’s homes, and builders’ merchants and hardware stores have remained open.

Jenrick added that “all parties involved should continue to play their part in reducing the spread of the virus by following the current guidance”.

Under the latest lockdown rules people living in England are permitted to leave their homes to visit Estate Agents branches, but Area allows 100% of initial communication to be remote as customers can reply to messages without having to visit branchesyou in branch. Specifically, the rules state that people may leave their homes if they are:

  • visiting estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes;
  • viewing residential properties to look for a property to buy or to rent;
  • preparing a residential property to move in;
  • visiting a residential property to undertake any activities required for the rental or sale of that property.

Whilst landlords are still allowed to put their houses on the market and look for a new property during the lockdown.  Estate agents can still visit to take photos of properties as normal, and it is recommended that home owners start to gather together the necessary documents to sell their home.

To limit social contact with those outside of your bubbles and help prevent the spread of infection, the government has advised that applicants carry out initial property searches online, and only visit a property in person when they are seriously considering making an offer on it.

However, home-movers and sellers are expected to follow social distancing guidelines and to follow best practices as closely as possible to ensure moving home is as Covid-19 secure as possible. Agents also have ways to support much of the sales process virtually with many agents now offering virtual viewings and tours as a first step. Additionally, for homeowners considering selling agents have tools to start the valuation process digitally as well.

If one of those involved with a home move becomes ill with Covid-19 during the moving process or has to self-isolate, then all parties must be contacted and the move postponed until it can be safely carried out and those who were ill have recovered.

With our software, we can ensure estate agents continue to operate safely and effectively during COVID-19.  Our software allows you to communicate remotely, customers can complete self-qualification and reply to messages from their mobile phones and tablets. Management can also see how their leads are performing while out of the branch, as well as business insights which allow them to be reactive to changes in the market.

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