Hear from the people keeping the housing market open for business
The coronavirus is impacting every facet of life in the UK and the housing market is no different.
Home-movers who’ve already spent months in chains are need help to make sure things still go through, while others are simply unsure what to do in this unprecedented period of uncertainty.
Rightmove has spoken to three estate agents to ask how they’re making sure people can still buy, sell and rent property.
In a move that’s indicative of the wider industry, each agent has introduced new measures to ensure that they are available for home-hunters when they’re needed.
So here they are in their own words…
‘We are still available and still open for business’
Claire Kendall, director at Richard Kendall Estate Agents in West Yorkshire, said: “We’re still doing lots of valuations and people are still letting us into their homes. Of course, we’re still washing our hands and staying safe with social distancing, but we are still available and still open for business.
“We’ve got an internal system that allows us to work from anywhere in the world. I was logging on from Australia earlier in the year, so we’re geared up for working remotely if we have to. Our office phones can ring through to our mobiles so we can take calls in our pyjamas at home, we can do valuations on FaceTime and will be available for customers.
“There are ways and means of doing anything and everything in this industry. As long as people trust us, we’ll be hear for them if they need us. The cliff that people are saying we’re going to fall off hasn’t reached us yet.
READ MORE: How to get your home ready to sell
“But we’re still busy because people will always need somewhere to live. That’s what keeps us going. I’m just so proud of our staff because they’re doing all they can to help people through this. It’s difficult for everyone but I’m confident we’ll still be here for our communities and it’s business as usual.”
‘It’s business as usual – keep calm and carry on’
Max Cutsforth, associate at Cheffins Estate Agents in Cambridge, said: “We are very much open and it’s business as usual for us. From Monday, we’ll be split into two teams, with half working from home and half manning the office, so there is no cross-contamination. Staff are taking computers home so they can still access our software and emails and so on.
“We’ve actually had our best sales week year-to-date, which is unfathomable I suppose, given the current climate. Our viewing conversion rate is the best it’s been in years. I think we’re seeing the market mainly made up of people who are very serious about buying. People are at home with time on their hands and lots of us are searching for property.
“My message to buyers and sellers is simply: keep calm and carry on. We’re open normal hours and are still doing viewings. Obviously we’re checking for symptoms and are being extra careful around pregnant women and the elderly, so we are proceeding with caution.
“The desire to move is intertwined with life, so people can only hold off moving for so long. There was lots of hesitation already off the back of the Brexit delay, so people really are getting on with things and still moving.”
‘We’re doing all we can to keep the market going’
Chris Holroyd, managing director of Holroyd Estate Agents in Bradford, said: “This coronavirus outbreak hasn’t stopped us, we’re still carrying on and it’s business as usual for us. We’re still doing viewings but have put a number of measures in place given what’s going on right now.
“We’re waiting outside properties, using wipes everywhere we go, avoiding contact and just making sure that we have that safe distance. With valuations, we’re taking videos as we walk round properties and then writing up the valuation when we get back to the office. But you can book a viewing with us 24/7.
“Enquiries are down about 50%, but I think we’ll see a recovery about September time. We’ve got a steady pipeline to keep us going for the meantime.
“All the team here are doing everything they can to keep the market going. They said that two thirds of buyers have to move so my guess is that we’ll see the other third of buyers delay their move over the coming months.
“In January we did see a Boris Bounce and we had our most market appraisals in five years, but now we’ve just got to hunker down and get through this period and come out the other side.”