There’s no doubt that the last few months have taken their toll on all sorts of businesses, not just here in the UK but around the globe.
While estate agents in England are beginning to take tentative steps to reopen their operations, keeping up to date with the current guidance can be challenging.
Here we take a closer look at what a world in the shadow of Covid-19 will look like and how estate agents can continue to prosper and provide a service to buyers and sellers alike.
What Does the Government Guidance Say?
Once you start researching and reviewing how your estate agency will operate from a Covid-19 point of view, the list of things you need to have in place can seem overwhelming.
- How do you run your office so that your agency staff can distance and reduce risk, not only to themselves but to clients as well?
- What restrictions do you need in place when arranging physical viewings?
- How much of your normal operation can be conducted in a virtual world through 3D tours and video conferencing?
- What training do you and your staff need to ensure that the risk of infection is greatly reduced?
- How do you demonstrate to potential buyers and sellers you are taking all the right measures to keep them safe?
These are just a few fo the questions that businesses all across the UK are trying to find answers to. The guidelines for England have been out for a few weeks now when it comes to buying and selling a house and they are worth taking a closer look at. Check out the current guidance here.
Going Virtual Will Be Key for Estate Agents
Estate agents, under normal circumstances, will undertake numerous viewings on one property before a buyer comes forward. Fortunately, there is a lot of technology available nowadays that can help streamline this process and reduce the number of physical viewings.
3D tours and virtual reality viewings give potential buyers the chance to take a much closer look at a property and decide whether it meets their needs and if they want a physical visit to be arranged.
Any way that you can incorporate technology into your sales process will help reduce physical contact and reduce risks. That includes using video conferencing, for example, rather than face to face contact.
Giving People Confidence
Coming out of lockdown isn’t about lifting restrictions and going back to normal. Your estate agency may be open for business but that doesn’t mean people will want to come out for viewings. Certainly, they won’t want to if they aren’t confident you have the appropriate safety measures in place.
Communication is vital here. It’s important to make sure that you have the relevant and easily accessible information about viewings on your website and talk directly to people to lay down the ground rules and set their minds at ease.
Physical Viewings and the Precautions You Should Take
Once you get to the stage of running a physical viewing, the Government advises having a set process in place that you stick to each time.
- Estate agents should operate an appointments only system and give themselves enough time to clean and prepare a property for viewing.
- They should ask if any in the viewing party has Covid-19 symptoms or has been advised to self-isolate before agreeing to any appointment.
- Windows and doors should be opened in the property and surfaces wiped down before anyone enters.
- If social distancing is not easily possible, everyone should wear a face mask.
- Parties that are taking part in the viewing should wash their hands on entering the property or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
Another safeguard that estate agents might like to consider is asking the vendor to vacate the property when someone is being shown around. This means there is less of an issue with distancing and the environment can be better controlled and cleaned properly afterwards.
Maintaining Standards Post-Lockdown
Most estate agents in England are implementing changes such as these to their business practices right now. One of the biggest challenges is how this new reality is maintained over a longer period.
Covid-19 is likely going to be with us for some time to come and it’s not a process change that we need to put up with for a few weeks but many months and perhaps for much longer.
Ask us how we can generate more qualified leads to your Estate Agency in 90 Days