During this time, many people in the property industry from buyers and sellers to solicitors, estate agents and removal firms have many unanswered questions and may be struggling with what to do over the next few months as the UK tries to tackle the pandemic.
We have been closely following information being released from the UK Government as well as industry regulators and leaders, as they become available. The information released so far has hinted that there is likely to be medium to long-term changes for the way businesses operate. Due to operational changes, people such as buyers and sellers may also have to adjust their usual activities when purchasing a property. Because of these adjustments and our knowledge so far, we now feel ready to put together some top tips for buyers and sellers. The following tips will aim to answer some of the pressing questions which are circling the industry at the moment, to address what possible changes may look like for buyers and sellers as well as useful tips to take on board over the next few months.
1. Talk to agencies!
Our staff are busy working from home by taking calls and answering emails daily. We have answered various questions ranging from viewings, house prices, general enquiries, valuations and more. We have lists of interested buyers for various properties that are currently on the market and for those that are due on the market soon. It is highly recommended you talk to us whether it is a general enquiry of expressing an interest in a particular property.
2. Take this time to research new areas
Whilst most of us are being advised to stay at home during this time, it is a perfect opportunity for buyers to research new geographic areas. Perhaps you have always wanted to do so but never had enough time. You can research local schools, amenities, outdoor areas, commuter links and more (all available online)....and don’t forget google maps! You can virtually see houses and streets clear as day. So why not take a virtual tour of new areas and broaden your property search!
3. Identify what’s really important to you in a property and where you are willing to compromise
When buying a property, the ideal scenario is all your boxes are ticked. However, sometimes we see customers struggle to find that “perfect” property which fits into their budget. With time on your hands, this would be a good time to identify what’s really important to you in a property and whether there are some areas that you are willing to compromise on. As stated in tip no.2, perhaps you never thought of broadening your search to different areas but may be pleasantly surprised!
4. When viewing restrictions are lifted, be safe
Just something to bear in mind, on the 20th May 2020 Propertymark’s Mark Hayward highlighted the importance for buyers to take responsibility for their safety whilst on viewings. This includes wearing your own appropriate PPE such as face masks. In addition, he explained that there is a strong possibility that viewers may be required to refrain from touching any surfaces, for the safety of themselves and the sellers. So, when viewing restrictions are lifted, be safe!
5. Try to refrain from taking your house off the market
Seeing as many people are at home now and over the next few weeks at least, this is the time people are more likely to be searching for properties. Thanks to google analytics and Rightmove stats, it has been very interesting and exciting to see that figures are showing that people are starting to think about properties again. It’s only a matter of time before the market picks up again. So, if you can hold out, do.
6. Viewings: Disinfect house surfaces and leave the house while viewings are taking place
As many are aware, the changes that businesses will have to make over the next few months may be a medium to long-term change. In the case of the property sector, this may well include changes to the way buyers and sellers operate during viewings as well. The UK Government have advised that people must keep hygiene up including washing of hands, social distancing and disinfecting surfaces. During one of Rightmove webinar’s, Mark Hayward from Propertymark discussed the fact that it is more than likely that sellers may be required to disinfect all surface areas of the house prior to viewings taking place. It was also highlighted that sellers will probably be required to leave the house while viewings are taking place.
7. Think about re-arranging your room and fixing odd jobs and presenting your house clean and tidy.
With more time on your hands, why not fix odd jobs in and around the house, think about re-arranging rooms and ensure you present your house clean and tidy. First impressions are key on viewings and any odd job or re-arranging that you can do to improve any aspect of your house will be of benefit. Perfect examples are things such as paint jobs, fixing/replacing broken furniture, decluttering and re-arranging rooms to create more space. Addressing jobs like this go a long way in creating a pleasing environment for buyers.
8. If you are thinking about putting your house on the market, check out Williams Estates’ new social distancing virtual valuation tool!
As businesses are having to adapt to changes, some of the innovative businesses such as Williams Estates have implemented virtual tools for potential sellers.
We are now offering a brand new social distancing valuation tool. Developed as part of our COVID-19 strategy, we now offer an alternative to a face to face valuation so that you can get a more accurate valuation estimate of your home than by using an automated online valuation tool. The benefit? ….you are able upload photographs and fill out a brief form to give us all the information we need to produce a more accurate valuation.
So, whether you are just curious or ready to move, now is the perfect time to find out how much your home is worth. After you submit your request, a member of our team will then produce an accurate and informed digital valuation presentation.
With the current government lockdown in place, it has affected every industry, including the housing market. This has raised many questions for those looking to buy or sell their property.
People who were thinking of buying or selling a home before the pandemic may be wondering what to do, possible market opportunities, mortgages, what to do if in the process of selling and what is likely to happen in the next few months. So, we have aimed to answer these questions for you.
1. Is the pandemic an opportunity for First Time Buyers?
Basically……Yes. Because of various factors such as putting property chains together, it will give FTB’s a strong negotiation power. This may well be a good time for first time buyers to slowly start searching for properties and arranging mortgage in principle, ready for when the market picks up again.
If you are a first time buyer interested in purchasing a property in the near future, we would recommend you firstly find a mortgage broker, as they have access to many more mortgage options than your typical bank or building society. Secondly, we recommend you try to arrange a mortgage in principle with your broker, sooner rather than later.
2. Are any properties likely to come on the market in the next few months? And what about mortgages?
Between all of our six branches across North Wales, Williams Estates have upwards of 40+ properties ready to be placed on the market as soon as lockdown and restrictions are lifted. All of our staff are still busy given the circumstances, lots of future viewings waiting in the wings and remote valuations are taking place.
According to Rightmove statistics, as of around 25th March 2020, people were starting to think about houses again, with people increasing their internet time on Rightmove and sellers beginning to enquire about valuations again.
As for mortgages, they are still available to people. We have customers who are still placing offers during lockdown with mortgages being secured. According to Money Supermarket, the current pandemic is different to the 2008 financial crisis in the sense that, banks and building societies are not faced with liquidity issues this time around. They do have mortgages available to people but some of the lenders are reacting differently from others.
3. What do I do if I am in the process of selling my house?
As per government guidance, there is no need for those in the process of selling their house to pull our completely of transactions. However, people are advised that they must follow guidance on stay at home and away from others at all times, especially for those who have symptoms, self-isolating or shielding.
The guidance for those moving to a vacant property is that they can continue with this transaction although they should follow the guidance on home removals. Where the property is currently occupied, we encourage all parties to do all they can to agree alternative dates to move, for a time when it is likely that stay-at-home measures against coronavirus (COVID-19) will no longer be in place.
4. What is likely to happen in the property market next few months?
Over the next few months, customers are likely to continue to see changes to the market. It is likely that as the weeks/months go by and restrictions are lifted, more properties will appear on the market, more mortgages are likely to appear and other associated businesses such as solicitors etc will begin operations again. However, the way they operate may not be back to “normal” immediately. According to Mark Hayward from NAEA Propertymark, an increasing number of agents will offer virtual house viewing, 360-degree viewings, or if this isn’t viable, offer to show properties via video call or recorded film.
All we can hope is that the pandemic is handled properly by our government, which hopefully will reflect positively in the housing market in due course.
We are delighted to announce that our Williams Estates Mold office is now a drop off point for the British Heart Foundation.
We had an inspiring meeting with Andy Hill from the British Heart Foundation who explained to us just how important the donations are!
We are over the moon to have been shortlisted for the ESTAS Estate Agents Awards 2019! Thank you all for your fantastic feedback and for taking the time to vote for us.
London here we come!
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