How to conduct house viewings properly during the latest national lockdown

With the country in lockdown again in a bid to combat the rising levels of Covid-19, many homeowners and new buyers may be feeling concerned about the state of the housing market.

The good news is that the housing market remains open during the lockdown, and there are still ways to safely conduct a property viewing.

Pete Mugleston, MD and Mortgage Advisor at www.onlinemortgageadvisor.co.uk, said: “Since the start of the first lockdown last March, the housing market has managed to pivot and adapt successfully, and many estate agents are now utilising modern technology to reduce the spread of Covid-19 whilst continuing to help people find new homes. Here are just some of the factors that need to be taken into consideration during lockdown viewings...”

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Estate agent showing a property (picture taken before current restrictions).
Estate agent showing a property (picture taken before current restrictions).

Whilst the government has stated that those looking to purchase a new home CAN attend a viewing in person, it is highly recommended that a virtual viewing, organised by the estate agents marketing the property, is the first port of call for any interested buyers.

Virtual house viewings are essentially videos or live streams of a property for sale that works through all the similar steps and information that one would receive during a traditional appointment.

As such a large number of buyers can tell almost instantly if a property is the right fit for them, an initial viewing can be perfect for assessing whether a buyer is ready to make an offer, or if they’d like to visit it in person before making the commitment.

Follow government safety advice during physical viewings

For those individuals who feel that a viewing in person is necessary, there are strict rules put in place during lockdown to ensure the safety of the homeowners, buyers, and estate agents.

Firstly, there are to be no more than two households inside the property at any one time, including the estate agent showing buyers around the property. This means that sellers will need to vacate the premises for each viewing, and that a couple looking to purchase a home that are not currently living together or in one another’s support bubble cannot take the viewing together.

During viewings, all parties should adhere to keeping a 2-metre distance between themselves and anyone not from their household or in their bubble, which might be easier said than done if viewings are taking place within a small flat or apartment. Sellers happy to invite other households into their home for the purpose of viewings should also aim to make the process as safe as possible by wiping down all surfaces and door handles with anti-bacterial cleaning products before and after each separate booking.

They should also – where possible – keep all internal doors open in order to minimise the amount of handling potential buyers and agents need to make and also to keep windows open to circulate fresh air.

Finally, all those entering a property for a viewing will need to wear a face mask and could also consider wearing medical gloves for additional peace of mind.

Prepare for cancellations/offer flexibility

It goes without saying that those still happy to take part in physical viewings should cancel immediately at the first sign of any COVID-related symptoms or illness they might be experiencing, or that they have been exposed to, and this could mean a delay of up to 10 days of isolation before the pre-arranged viewing can take place. This therefore would be a good opportunity to make use of virtual house viewings where possible.

As schools are also currently closed, it’s also worth bearing in mind that many people with children will need to call on the support of a childcare bubble in order to arrange a viewing in person. Therefore, there is likely to be a higher demand for weekend and evening viewings.

To summarise, whether you are attempting to buy your first property, sell a home or both during lockdown, safety and logic should act as the paramount factors during the coming weeks and months when it comes to keeping the UK housing market afloat.