Normally at this time of year I would be writing about the madness of the Spring market – phones ringing off the hook; rushing between viewings; offers; negotiations and generally the excitement of moving to a new home. COVID-19 is seriously impacting our lives bringing with it worry, sadness and loss. We send our sincere warm wishes to you all, stay safe, but let’s not linger here – let’s take a leaf out of Monty Python’s book and “look on the bright side of life” with hope and optimism!
For a start the weather has been wonderful! The streets are full of the most glorious blossom – pink, white and yellow – and we can at last throw open our windows and let the sunshine in! I’m delighted to report that our team are all working remotely from their homes and they have managed this ‘relocation’ with capable enthusiasm.
We log on remotely and chat as required by phone or face-to-face on Zoom (a video conferencing tool). Our phones are answered promptly by a computer and directed to the appropriate team by audio email. Our more creative team members are busying making video ‘walk-throughs’ of our available properties and are sharing these with buyers in lieu of traditional viewings. We don’t carry out physical market appraisals but prospective sellers and landlords can walk us through their properties with video on their phones – it’s not perfect but it works!
New enquiries are obviously reduced and we are not carrying out any sales viewings. We are ONLY showing empty lettings properties to tenants (individually) who are either key workers or under threat of homelessness.
We are also using this opportunity to upgrade our software systems and we will also be making changes to our website to make it more user friendly. Our fantastic team of contractors are working carefully through the lockdown looking after our tenanted properties, following government guidelines, carrying out the essential and legally required safety tests with appropriate precautions in place.
You probably find yourself with more free time at home than you have ever had before! It’s time for creativity – reading, writing, painting and constructing! Not to mention getting around to all those ‘little’ jobs we’ve been promising ourselves we’ll do! Those weeds in the garden don’t stand a chance! Cupboards will be cleared, taps will stop dripping and fences will probably get their first coat of preservative since they were put up! Some of you might feel even more ambitious – converting attics into temporary office or dens for unruly teenagers; redecorating, tiling – the list is endless! Along with the NHS and all key workers I have nothing but absolute admiration for you all – including those parents who have had to become ‘home teachers’ this Spring!
Many of us may be reaching new culinary heights! After all if you can’t go out to a restaurant you have to create your own delicious dishes at home. By the time we are able to socialise again we’ll be able to dazzle our friends with exotic new dishes we’ve been perfecting along with a newly-discovered cocktail or two! By the time the restrictions are lifted our homes will look new! Others may decide to move on and it will come as no surprise if their search criteria stipulates a home office and a garden!
Of all the things I have learned whilst building this business the two most important elements are our wonderful staff and you, our customers. In all the years nothing has tested our business more than this pandemic. We are still a small business that has grown organically and we have stuck to our key values of loyalty, good humour and camaraderie – we stay the course and we thank you for your ongoing support. Our office might be closed but we are very much here – our phones are still being answered and emails responded to. Business continues so if you need any help or advice just give us a call or drop us a line and one of us will be in touch.
Well that’s it for now. Good luck, stay safe and we’ll be back before you know it!