In this three-minute read, we investigate whether the home moving regulations announced in England last week will shape the way things are done in Oxford post lockdown.
On Wednesday last week, it was announced that estate agents in England could go back to work as part of its Government’s phased relaxation of the lockdown.
It’s already clear that some English agencies have rushed blindly out of the traps, not adequately prepared for the new way of working and have dived straight back in.
That certainly wouldn’t be our approach when restrictions are relaxed here in Oxford.
When Elvis Presley sang “Only fools rush in’ he could have been talking about some agents getting back to work without proper preparation.
Whenever the lockdown ends, we will be ready to go thoughtfully and steadily because we’ve been preparing for this moment for weeks.
We have Personal Protective Equipment, we have stocked up on sanitisers, social distancing signs and prepared our Be Clean Be Safe protocols and policies.
Below are some of the regulations English estate agents have been advised to work to:
· Initial viewings should be carried out virtually wherever this is possible, and estate agents should help you to do this.
· All physical viewings should be limited to members of the same household, and open house viewings should not take place.
· When physically viewing properties, where possible, you should avoid touching surfaces, wash your hands regularly, and bring your own hand sanitiser. The number of people on a viewing should be minimised to those from your household that have to be there. If you need to be accompanied by small children, you should try to keep them from touching surfaces and ensure they wash their hands regularly.
· If people are being shown around your current home, you should open all internal doors and ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned after each viewing with standard household cleaning products.
· As most people choose to, we recommend you leave your property while viewings are taking place to minimise your contact with those not in your household.
· Anyone involved in any aspect of the home moving process should practice social distancing in line with public health advice.
· When moving between properties, you and those in your household should try to do as much of the packing yourself as you can. Where this is not possible, you should speak to removal firms in advance.
· If you are particularly worried about the risk of infection, then speak to the professionals involved, your estate agent, landlord or removers as they may be able to put in place extra measures.
It will be interesting to see how these guidelines work in practice over the next few weeks.
Our preparations ahead of being told we can go back to work include creating a Safe Homes Hotline where we will answer any questions you have about the measures; we are taking to protect people.
Once the lockdown is relaxed, we’re expecting a very busy few months as buyers and sellers who have been put on hold by lockdown re-enter the market with enthusiasm born out of frustration.
Property portals in England reported record numbers of people visiting their sites in the 24 hours after lockdown.
We think the same will happen here and we look set for a busy summer, especially as overseas holidays look unlikely to happen.
Whenever the lockdown is relaxed, we will be ready to start serving our clients safely, sensibly, and successfully.