Despite the second national lockdown, the property industry remains open for business. So, if you’re in the process of selling your home or looking to buy a new home, the lockdown certainly brings complications, but it doesn’t stop progress.
It’s important that estate agents can keep operating. Not only does the economy depend on a healthy housing market, but if the industry had to close, even momentarily, it would result in an awful lot of people’s purchases or sales falling through. They must, therefore, reward our trust with a high standard of professionalism.
The nature of an estate agent’s job requires them to meet people face to face and enter their homes. At a time like this, such things require great care. To ensure that your agent is taking the appropriate precautions around you and your home, we’ve put together a Covid-safety checklist.
All estate agents have been implementing these measures internally so, if your agent is failing to meet the required standard, you should feel confident when requesting they follow these guidelines.
Keep their distance
Simple. Your agent must observe the social distancing rules. You have your own part to play in this, of course, but if your agent is either not wearing a mask or is not ensuring they keep their distance from you or those viewing your home, you should kindly request they do so.
Keep record all physical meetings
Your agent should be keeping a comprehensive record of who they physically meet with, where, and for how long. This includes you and your home. There should be no reason at all for you to actually come in contact with your agent, but simply being in close vicinity is cause enough to keep record.
The NHS track and trace app is great, but if agents themselves keep their own records, were they to contract Covid themselves, it is clear and obvious who needs to be alerted.
Keep you updated on the rules
Your agent should be keeping in close contact with you to update you on any changes in the rules surrounding the housing market. These rules might be handed down from the government, or they may be set internally by the agency. Either way, it is your agent’s job to keep you in the loop at all times of any changes that might impact your purchase or sale.
A good agent will also check on your wellbeing from time to time to see if there’s anything they can do to support you and protect your health and safety during the sale or purchase of your home.
Many estate agencies have also made it very clear to their agents that further compassion must be demonstrated towards those most vulnerable at this time.
Keep it clean
If you’re selling your home, your agent will need to come in and out of it, especially when it comes to hosting viewings for potential buyers. They should be fastidious about cleanliness. They should ensure both they and the viewers are masked and sanitised. They should sanitise any surface which is touched during the viewing. If you are viewing homes yourself, you should restrain from touching stuff.
Keep the doors open
To help with cleanliness and to mitigate contamination, a simple trick is to keep all of the doors within the home open. This way, nobody needs to open them which helps minimise surface contact. If you have gone to the effort to open all doors and you return to find one or more closed, you need to request your agent not repeat this next time around.
Keep it to a minimum
If you’re selling your home, your agent should keep physical viewings to a minimum. They can do this in two ways. First, only offer physical tours to serious buyers. Agents have a knack for telling the serious buyers from the tyre kickers, the latter or which should not be viewing your home at a time like this.
Second, virtual viewings are now commonplace in the housing market and your agent should ensure, where possible, that every potential buyer is taking a virtual tour before they embark on a physical one.
Keep out of the way
It’s often preferable for the homeowner to be out of the way when potential buyers come for a viewing – the presence of the owner can often create an awkward atmosphere. In the age of Covid, you should be out of the house for more serious reasons – to avoid unnecessary physical contact with your agent or the buyers.
If you’re not comfortable leaving your home unsupervised, take yourself into the garden. Having said that, if you really don’t trust your agent to be in your home without you, we would strongly suggest dumping them and finding someone you do trust.
If you’re concerned that your agent isn’t taking the necessary precautions around your or your home, you can feel very confident in complaining and resolving the situation. We have a full step-by-step guide on how to complain about your estate agent. It takes you through every step of increasing severity, from a friendly chat, all the way to full-blown legal action.