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. 

For buyers:

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!

For sellers:

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.

NAEA The Property Ombudsman Trading Standards Institute Rightmove Rent Smart Wales