Buy-to-let landlords hope that the housing market in England has embarked on a road to recovery after being given the green light to reopen after seven weeks of lockdown, with renters and buyers permitted to move home and view properties as long as they observe physical distancing.
To help ensure that we all limit the spread of Covid-19, Rightmove has created some guidelines on how to view property safely based on the government’s published guidance for home-movers.
Three key pieces of advice from the government:
+ Maintain a 2m distance from those on the viewing – we know this may be challenging, especially in smaller properties, but speak to your agent and together work out a route that makes the most sense for viewings to follow. If you ever forget what 2m looks like, imagine taking two long strides, or visualising the height of your front door!
+ Wash your hands regularly (and thoroughly) and avoid touching your face – we’ve all got the dry hands to prove it, but this remains one of the most important pieces of guidance right now to help prevent the spread of coronavirus and we’d recommend doing this both before and after each viewing.
+ Regularly clean items that are likely to be touched on viewings – Particularly door handles, doorbells, and window latches/locks.
Before the viewing
In line with government guidance, anyone experiencing coronavirus symptoms should be staying at home, to help prevent further spread of the disease. Viewings should not go ahead if any party is experiencing symptoms or has recently tested positive for coronavirus.
To give confidence to all parties present at the viewing that this guidance is being followed, and to help the agent manage the viewing in the most efficient way possible, you should be asked to complete a handful of questions before any viewings your agent has organised which should include:
+ Has anyone in your household had COVID-19?
+ Has anyone in your household displayed COVID-19 symptoms or not yet completed a required period of household self-isolation?
+ Is anyone in your household in the high-risk category?
When preparing for a viewing, follow our checklist to help it go smoothly:
+ Clean items and/or areas that are likely to be touched (i.e door handles, doorbells) with an antibacterial cleaner both before and after the viewing has taken place.
+ Open windows to boost ventilation prior to the viewing taking place
+ Open internal doors, loft hatches, and anything else you think may be of interest, ahead of the viewing to minimise any unnecessary contact
+ If possible, provide hand sanitiser by your front door so that the agent and viewers can clean their hands when they enter and leave your home.
+ Have a plan of where you can go while the viewing is taking place if you need to.
Ahead of each viewing, each prospective buyer will have also been asked to complete these questions, as will the agent if they’ll be present on the viewing. Don’t be afraid to check with the agent that this has happened if it’s a concern.
Preparing for the viewing
Most of us will give our homes a good deep clean before opening the doors to prospective buyers, as part of wanting it to look its best and attract a buyer. Now is no different, so use it as an opportunity to give everything a good clean before viewings start.
As much as you’ll not want the strangers in your home touching door handles etc, they will feel the same. If your agent is doing the viewing on your behalf, they should be opening all doors, cupboards etc for those on the viewing. If you’re doing the viewing, we advise you take the same approach as it will help you keep track of what you’ll need to clean afterwards.
To help minimise the number of people in your home at any one time, it may be required for you and your household to leave while the viewing is taking place.
We would recommend discussing this with your agent before any viewings so that, together, you can work out a sensible plan that works for everyone.
After the viewing
Once the viewing has finished, the agent may want to spend a couple of extra minutes with you, perhaps going through any feedback or comments with you. If you have an outdoor space that allows you to distance yourselves more easily, feel free to take the conversation outside, or ideally minimise physical meetings and book a follow-up video call.
They may have just found you a buyer, but don’t be tempted to shake hands!
Once the agent has left, you’ll want to wipe down any door handles, cupboard doors etc that were touched on the viewing, with an antibacterial wipe or spray, and wash your hands.