We’re back! The Government allowed estate agency to recommence – albeit responsibly and Covid-aware – on Wednesday 13th May. It came as a huge surprise because we were only made aware at 10pm the previous evening but nonetheless we opened and within 48 hours had let two properties!
Unlike many businesses, we remained open, even if our offices have been physically closed. There were still properties to be managed, pre-agreed tenancies to move in and there were a number of sales to be progressed and completed. We have had to be creative to make it happen using technology at every opportunity. We’ve filmed most of our available properties and have asked owners to send us videos of their homes using their phones so that we can discuss guide values for selling and renting. It’s amazing how the property world never really stops turning.
We have a skeleton staff in the office and a “working from home team” who are either supporting or ‘feeding’ the office team. My thanks goes out to the whole team, including those dealing with life on furlough. They have all taken this dreadful time in their stride and have dealt with their roles and responsibilities with calm determination.
There are of course updated “rules of engagement” for appraisals and viewings, including making sure doors are opened beforehand, that social distancing is maintained and the number of viewers will be restricted to a maximum of two people from the same household and no children. Face masks and gloves will be worn and sanitising gels or sprays carried by staff. Visits to the office have to be by appointment for the time being and meetings will be held either in the fresh air outside the office or via voice or video calls.
Our staff will check up on the health of each other daily and we will be asking you about your health before meeting with you and requesting that you bring PPE when meeting you at a property (without it we cannot show you the property). We will also have to meet you at the property, we are unable to drive you to the properties in our cars. It is going to take more time to do everything and it is going to be strange as the “new normal” takes shape. Prospective buyers and tenants appear to be in two camps: one being ultra cautious about everything and neither being ready nor wanting to come out; the other is a smaller group who are motivated to buy or rent and want to get on with it. This means we can get moving again and we believe there is sufficient property coming to the market to meet the pent-up demand that’s been building over the last couple of years.
Right – it’s busy so I’d better get on but I’ll be back next month hopefully with continued good news!
Until then, stay safe and ‘alert’!