Estate agents can visit your home in order to take photos and videos; prospective buyers are able to view your property and removals companies are able to facilitate home moves. However, the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved is the most important thing.
In all instances, it is important to adhere to social distancing measures and any physical appointments should be postponed immediately if anyone's self-isolating or showing symptoms of coronavirus.
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Moving house during COVID-19
All parties are encouraged to adapt and be flexible, altering their usual practices and agreeing on alternative dates to move if necessary. Government guidance states that anyone with symptoms, self-isolating, or shielding from the virus should follow medical advice which means not moving for the time being.
Clinically vulnerable and shielded individuals must carefully consider their personal situation and may wish to seek medical advice before decided whether to move. It is important to take a patient approach if you are in a chain with a vulnerable person to allow them time to move safely.
Much of the anxiety around house moves comes from the contractual terms, the Government has eased this pressure through:
- Laying down sector-specific guidelines
- Asking banks and building societies to extend the period prior to the expiry of a mortgage offer
- Working with conveyancers to develop a standard legal process for delaying moving completion dates
Property viewings during COVID-19
Government guidance across the UK allows for physically distanced viewings that carefully adhere to public health guidance. Safety comes first and this is reflected in the guidance with several measures to adhere to in order to conduct a viewing safely:
- Physical viewings should only take place if the property has been deep cleaned or unoccupied for at least 72 hours (Wales only)
- Viewings should initially be carried out virtually, your estate agent should be able to help you with this
- Physical viewings must only take place with serious buyers who are genuinely interested in the property
- Physical viewings should be carried out by appointment only—open houses are not permitted
- Open all windows and doors beforehand and leave them open during the viewing
- Leave the property for the duration of the viewing if possible
- Everyone involved must wash their hands prior to the viewing
- Handwashing facilities should be made available with separate paper towels if possible
- Estate agents will restrict the number of people present in order to follow social distancing guidelines
- Everyone must wear a facemask, including the homeowner if they host the viewing in place of the agent
- After the viewing, the homeowner should ensure surfaces such as door handles are cleaned
Something as significant as a property transaction will always take a bit of time, but there are ways to speed up the process. Download and complete our questionnaire which has been proven to help.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Before the viewing, your estate agent will ask you to confirm in writing that you have appropriate PPE—they may cancel the appointment if you don't. Our members are working to best practice guidance that outlines the equipment all parties should use during viewings, including gloves and face coverings.
The guidance is designed to protect everyone involved so it's important that you work with your estate agent to ensure everyone’s safety. Read the full Government guidance on property viewings here.
Are you Propertymark Protected?
If you need an estate agent, look for a Propertymark Protected agency. By using one of our members you are guaranteed to be consulting with a regulated, professional agent who will give you up-to-date advice, guidance and reassurance during this difficult time.