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Property Viewings In Light Of Coronavirus (Covid-19)

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The government guidance estate agents are required to follow to keep people safe on property viewings in light of coronavirus, is causing confusion and frustration with some home buyers.

There’s been a lot of commentary across social media on the subject but rather than join a debate, here is my view.

Why Is There Frustration?

Following on from government guidance there came cross party industry guidance. This goes into a lot more detail on the protocol agents and others in the property sector are required to follow.

The current frustration comes from lack of education.

It seems some agents are not aware of the cross-party guidance. Therefore, we have some agents doing a good job and some who are woefully unprepared.

We are all having to get used to changes in our lives; and its important to keep perspective and remember to look at things from both sides. 

Yes, viewings can go ahead, and yes there are both keen buyers as well as keen sellers. But now there are detailed restrictions and protocols that everyone must follow.

The property market may be open but it is not able to operate in the the same way as it did before lockdown.

The Impact of Viewing Guidelines

My previous post on the new guidelines shares in practice how the guidance will be implemented.

Agents may not have shared this with a home seller or home buyer when they should – you can find it here.

It’s perfectly understandable for a seller to feel reluctant to go through the rigmarole to enable a viewing to happen in a ‘safe’ environment if the person viewing is not able to proceed.

The same applies for agents who are in the majority are short staffed. They will certainly be feeling the pressure for the next few months in terms of time and income.

If you’re a genuinely keen buyer who is ready, willing and able to proceed, then I don’t see a problem with proving that to be the case.

Buyers Should Be Prepared

I constantly advise home buyers to be prepared before going out and viewing a property.

My advice is that you should already have:

  • Paperwork confirming you can financial proceed
  • Your solicitor instructed
  • Clarity on what you type of property you want

Being prepared and sharing this with the estate agent proves you’re a committed buyer. It can only be a good thing.

It is going to get you better access to properties that might suit you.

You Do Not Need to Use an Agents Mortgage Broker

It is not right for estate agents to pressurise any home buyer into discussing finances with their in-house mortgage broker or broker in any way connected to them.

A home buyer is perfectly able demonstrate their ability to perform with any of the following:

  • bank statements
  • own mortgage broker involvement
  • written approval in principal from a lender  

Its understandable buyers can be nervous about vendors or their agents knowing too much about their personal finances or total borrowing capacity. But it’s important to find the middle ground.

Mortgage Quotes

Virtual Viewings

Virtual tours should be very useful right now in order to give buyers an introduction to a property.

I don’t expect anyone to commit to offering on a house without physically viewing it first, and neither would I recommend it. But it will help reduce the number of viewings, in turn, helping everyone stay safe.

Now is not the time to be getting frustrated about not being granted a physical viewing until either you can demonstrate a financial ability to do so straight away.

If you also have a property to sell, is it on the market and generating viewings from prospective buyers? If the answer is ‘no’ then there is no point in viewing a property to buy.

To ensure you stay focused and don’t miss anything important on a viewing, download our free ‘property viewing checklist’ – just sign up (or log-in) to access yours now.

Phil Specner's Checklists

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Last Updated: July 30th, 2021

Phil Spencer

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