We are still living in worrying, highly unusual, unprecedented times, with the whole country in lockdown and urged to stay at home as much as possible. There is a high likelihood, too, that these lockdown measures will be extended for the foreseeable.
It has meant all of us – from businesses to individuals – have had to change the way we live and adapt to the new normal of social distancing, self-isolating and working from home.
All these things, as you would expect, are posing significant problems for buyers and sellers looking to move home. The property market, for obvious reasons, can’t function as it usually does – but the industry is finding different and innovative ways to keep things moving to ensure that the market is ready to bounce back when lockdown measures are lifted or relaxed.
Below, we explore how here at Balgores Property Group we are utilising video viewings and video valuations to help buyers and sellers put in the groundwork for a future sale.
We can perhaps be glad of one thing in this awful crisis – it happened in 2020, when tech is so advanced and things like Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, FaceTime and various other products and apps make remote working and keeping in touch that much easier. We would all have been a lot lonelier without social media, video conferencing software and calls via WhatsApp and FaceTime.
It also makes the prospect of an agent valuing your home – a crucial part of the sales process, to ensure you are setting the right kind of asking price – achievable and realistic without having to physically visit the property in person.
Whilst we are continuing to offer face-to-face market appraisals with strict PPE and social distancing measures in place, a video valuation is the next best thing and allows us to ensure the safety of our clients and staff. And, thanks to the quality of our tech devices nowadays, your agent can feel like they are there in person. They may even spot things that they might have missed during a physical valuation, or be able to get a more rounded view of your property by viewing it virtually.
Video or virtual viewings/tours have been around for some time, but – for one reason or another – haven’t really entered the mainstream. Now, however, thanks to the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in, many agencies across the country are turning to virtual/video viewings to keep the cogs of their business turning during the coronavirus outbreak.
While the government has encouraged buyers and sellers – even those who have exchanged – to delay house moves until a time when stay at home guidance is less likely to be in place, unless the move is critical, the house being moved into is unoccupied or a new date cannot be amicably arranged for contractual reasons or otherwise, this doesn’t mean that the pre-exchange elements of a house sale can’t still happen.
The government advice for those sellers who have yet to put their house on the market isn’t that it can’t be done, just that the process is likely to be different from normal at present, and the transaction is likely to take much longer to complete. However, it’s still possible, and you are still able to promote and market your property in the usual ways.
That said, there should, of course, be no visitors to your home at present – whether that is people coming to view your home, an Energy Performance Certificate assessor, a surveyor or an agent looking to value your home or take internal photos. But you can still conduct virtual viewings.
As stated, this is something we’re offering at Balgores, alongside video valuations and free advice as all our staff are currently working from home to support our clients during these unprecedented times.
While virtual viewings can’t fully recreate the experience of visiting a home in person, and many buyers will still want to do a physical visit when this is allowed, it does offer an excellent first taster of a home and can actually help to root out those buyers who aren’t serious about your property. If a buyer isn’t won over by your home during a virtual viewing, they are unlikely to progress further to an in-person viewing when this is feasible, or making an offer on your home.
The property market, like the economy, is expected to bounce back once the peak of the epidemic has been reached and the government’s exit strategy of how to get us out of lockdown – whatever that is – is implemented.
Recent research from home moving comparison website Reallymoving said current home movers are resolute about pressing ahead at the earliest opportunity with their transactions.
The results from a survey it conducted showed overwhelmingly that movers intend to pick up where they left off as soon as restrictions on movement have ended. Three-quarters (75% )of those who are planning a move still want to go ahead as soon as possible, while a further 18% are still hoping to move later in the year. Of those who are currently in the middle of a transaction, 62% are using this time to get as far ahead in the process as possible.
As we all know, sentiment is so important in the property market, and at present most buyers and sellers still feel confident in moving home once lockdown measures have eased. The first few months of the year, with the Boris bounce, were some of the best the property market has seen in years – and it’s hoped that this activity will return when it is allowed to.
As a seller, now may still be a good time to list and put in the groundwork for a move once life returns to something close to normal.
Our branches are currently closed for the safety of our staff and clients. We are, however, still able to conduct business as we can offer video valuations, video viewings, financial advice and our staff are working from home.
Please call or email us for any enquiries, or submit any form on our website and a member of our team will get in touch.