13 May 2020
Last night the government lifted restrictions on the estate agency sector permitting viewings: BBC article.
Our top 5 tips for sellers in light of this are below. Do share this letter with those who are selling and get in touch on 0203 409 4350 for further guidance.
Proactive agents have been building applicant (buyer) lists getting ready for this moment. They have plans for bringing staff out of furlough, health guidelines in place for conducting viewings, hand sanitiser ordered already.
Sleepy agents have, in instances we have experienced, had the voicemail on at the office saying "Please don't leave a message we are unable to answer it at this stage".
Most property vendors will have run the clock down by 7+ weeks on any exclusivity agreement they have (normally 12 weeks long) since lockdown started, meaning they may now be free to switch to a proactive agent with no obligation to their existing one.
Many properties that went under offer around the time of lockdown have seen their buyers pause, hoping to negotiate a lower price or shopping around. Those buyers now have no excuse not to close the transaction, so if they are not proceeding to exchange now, relist the property.
Most conveyancing firms have furloughed all or some of their team, leaving just one conveyancer with, in some cases, as many 150 files on their desk. Some conveyancers have also refused to close transactions during the lockdown period. If your file is not near the top of the pile and your conveyancer is swamped you may want to switch to close your deal faster.
If your agent has been proactive at sales progression they will have been pushing your process along during lock down to ensure your file is at the top of the pile and should close quickly now. If your agent and your conveyancer are asleep you may wish to change both.
If you want to sell your property but are nervous about the viewings being conducted, your agent can arrange for a 3D virtual photography tour to be done - they should not charge you extra for this and Movewise can arrange. The average property has 15 viewings before going under offer. These tours will screen out all the early viewings meaning just a buyer who is informed and ready to make an offer can visit in person, allowing you to vacate the property safely with minimal disruption.
If you haven't been on the market yet but were thinking about it you should list now to ensure you capture the return of the market. In addition to the normal choice of an agent who is active in your price range and area, you also need to check that you are picking one that has been building an applicant list in lock down, has a full team and plan to scale activity back up, a proper plan for health and safety conducting viewings, is strong on sales progression and willing to do 3D virtual tours. There is a big split between the two types of agents so ensure you get the right one.
Movewise, as the only independent multi-agent property seller in the UK, speak to and use 100s of the best estate agents across the country giving us a unique position of visibility of what the different agents and different solicitors can and will do in response to this. Get in touch with us on 0203 409 4350 so that we can advise you on the best way to sell your property.