COVID-19 And The Property Market – Your Frequently Asked Questions Answered30th September 2020
If one thing is certain right now – it’s that we live in an uncertain time! We are leaving lockdown, but re-entering a real world that is different to the one we left back in March. You’re probably sick of hearing about everyone getting used to the ‘new normal’, but it’s certainly a big part of the rest of 2020. Here at JonSimon Estate Agents, we receive questions on a daily basis about the property market and how things have changed since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Things are, frankly, as unclear as ever and it can be difficult to know exactly what measures we need to be taking to keep ourselves and everyone around us safe and healthy.
We know that a lot of us still have many questions that need to be answered before being able to confidently re enter the property market. We know that’s the case, because people contact us here at JonSimon all the time with questions around moving house, putting in an offer for a house, holding a property viewing, hiring a removals team and more. As such, we thought it would be a great idea to create this blog where we would answer some of your most frequently asked questions about the property market during COVID-19.
Please bear in mind that when it comes to official guidance, things are prone to change over time. The situation we are currently in is constantly and quickly changing. Since March, Government advice has changed a great deal, and there’s every chance that things will continue to change between now and the end of the year. That’s why it’s so important to stay up to date with the latest official guidance and precautions.
What is happening to house prices and if I sell my house now will it have a reduced value?
Here at JonSimon, this is probably one of the first questions we always get asked at the moment. Needless to say, the uncertainty in the market has led people to become concerned about how house prices will be affected – both in the short and long term. Most predictions have forecast a short and sharp economic shock, but with this quickly balancing out.
In fact, there’s certainly reason for encouragement. Contrary to most professional predictions, buyer activity through the online property market remained higher than expected throughout lockdown. Activity peaked in May much higher than expected as buyers began to anticipate the lessening of COVID measures and the housing market beginning to get under way again.
Now that government restrictions are being lifted, the demand is incredibly high. There are a lot of us who had to postpone and/or cancel our house move when lockdown hit the UK. As such, there’s a backlog of demand that is likely to see property sales move quite a bit more slowly – but for house sellers this demand actually makes for a positive situation. There’s quite a good chance that you’ll be able to sell at a reasonable price – but for more guidance get in touch with the team here at JonSimon.
Can my estate agent show people around my property?
At the moment, due to social distancing measures and general health and hygiene, it is always recommended to hold a virtual viewing first if possible. This helps maintain health and safety by reducing the need for many potential home buyers viewing the same property. Virtual viewings allow you to screen buyers and ensure that only serious potential buyers arrive for a physical viewing.
However, when it comes time to invite potential buyers to physical viewings, your estate agent will be able to be present in order to guide the viewer around your home and help maintain good health and safety during the process.
If I want to hold a property viewing at my house, what precautions should I be taking?
Physical viewings should only be held when necessary and, preferably, after an initial virtual viewing has been held. Obviously, public health and safety are of paramount importance at the moment, and social distancing is a particular concern when inviting strangers into your home. Physical viewings should be held by appointment only, and there are a range of specific precautions that you can take to improve the process, including:
- Opening internal doors, windows and cupboards so that guests don’t need to touch door handles unnecessarily.
- If possible, leave the property for the duration of the house viewing. Vacating the property – even to just the garden or the outside street – minimizes contact between you and potential buyers.
- Cleaning all surfaces like door handles and counter tops after the viewing. Also, towels that have been used for guests to wash their hands should be safely washed or disposed of.
- Making sure that guests and visitors have full and easy access to handwashing facilities in the home. Preferably, supply separate towels for hand drying.
- It is always recommended that an estate agent actually attends the physical viewing to accompany the potential buyer around your home. This can help to maintain proper social distancing measures and helps to ensure that surfaces are not touched when it can be avoided.
I’ve seen a property I really like – am I free to make an offer or a reservation?
Current government guidance states that if you would like to make an offer for a property or reserve a property, you are free to do so. The entire process of buying a house requires extra precautions to be taken when it comes to property viewings, inspections and hiring a removal team as social distancing must be adhered to. And it remains the case that no one should enter any property in which a member of the household is self isolating due to showing signs of the coronavirus.
Get in touch
Want to find out more? Here at JonSimon we understand that people have a lot of questions at the moment. If you still have a question you would like answered about the property market, just get in touch with us today to find out more and to hear our expert opinion. We’re always on hand to help out and we can’t wait to hear from you!