Bell Ingram’s new rules for house moves will make finding a perfect home Covid-19 safe
Scotland has moved into the second stage of the Coronavirus lockdown exit plan which means restrictions on house moves will ease from 29th June.
During phase one, Bell Ingram laid the groundwork for safely reopening our residential property department in line with government guidelines. In a nutshell, this has meant extensive training for all our staff in safe operating procedures and ensuring that our premises have the correct signage and equipment.
Phase two will see restrictions lifted and a “new normal” evolving for buyers and sellers. However, one aspect that has many people understandably worried is house viewings. To put your mind at rest, Bell Ingram has developed Covid-19 viewing protocols which are designed to keep you safe during these challenging times. Here’s what our new normal looks like:
1. Virtual viewings
Bell Ingram want to encourage homebuyers to do most of their property search online. That’s why we are advising that initial viewings should be done virtually wherever possible, and physical viewings only conducted when buyers are seriously considering making an offer on a property. We are asking our sellers to conduct virtual viewings, by taking potential buyers on a tour of the property via a pre-recorded video or smartphone video call. This will help reduce the number of properties people need to visit before finding their future home.
2. Safety briefing
Before a physical viewing can take place, our agents will fully brief both the homeowner and viewer on how they should conduct themselves to minimise any health risk. If any member of either the household being viewed, or the household undertaking a viewing is showing symptoms of coronavirus or is self-isolating, then a physical viewing will be delayed. All viewings will take place by appointment (no open house viewings!) and only involve members of a single household
3. Masks and gloves
Bell Ingram agents will wear masks and gloves when entering a property and we are advising potential buyers and sellers to do the same.
4. Look don’t touch
When viewing a property, all parties will be asked to wash their hands and avoid touching surfaces where possible. If your property is being viewed, you should open all the internal doors and turn on lights prior to the viewing, and allow access to handwashing facilities and ideally separate towels/paper towels.
5. Let’s go outside
We are encouraging our sellers to leave your property while viewings are taking place in order to minimise your contact with those not in your household. If the weather is good this could mean waiting in the garden or perhaps co-inciding the viewing with your daily exercise. If this is not possible the advice is to remain in the property but practice social distancing.
6. Wipe down surfaces
Once the viewing has taken place, the homeowner should ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned with standard household cleaning products and towels disposed of safely or washed as appropriate.
“The Scottish Government’s announcement that the housing market will open up on Monday 29th June is not just great news for sellers, buyers and estate agents,” says Carl Warden, Bell Ingram’s head of Estate Agency. “It’s a real boost for all the associated businesses like solicitors, removal firms and tradespeople.”
“The relaxation of restrictions on house moves is hugely welcome news as many transactions have been delayed, preventing people from moving into their new home. I’m expecting things to begin to move forward a vengeance and market activity start to increase substantially.”
Looking back at the last 12 weeks Carl adds: “I’m delighted to report that Bell Ingram’s residential property department showed good levels of demand and activity during the lockdown period.
“Our team dealt with over 200 enquiries since the end of March, with buyers and sellers making good use of virtual viewing platforms while travel and home visits were banned. In fact, one of our properties completed this week without a physical viewing. The new owner bought the property on the basis of a video filmed on the seller’s iPhone!”