Boris says we are still on level 4, I am not entirely sure which level we are meant to be on, but it does seem as if there is the sense of a GRADUAL return to some sort of normality, whatever that may be! As estate agents in Bath and Bradford on Avon we have perused the government’s guidance with much interest.
Managing Director’s Thoughts
There was as usual, an immediate reaction from the press, of them jumping the gun with headlines that were rather misleading, in my view.
Firstly, when one reads the latest guidance for estate agency, it says that “agents may open for business”. It also says that “that agents should consider when and how they open their premises, taking into consideration the latest back to work safety guidance”
Estate Agents: Open for Business but Working from Home
The implication is, that we can be open for business, but they are not encouraging us to open our doors to the public at the moment. We have at Cobb Farr been open for business throughout this lockdown anyway, with three of us not furloughed and continuing to work as normal, but from home.
This I have to say has worked quite successfully, with many enquiries for property being received and dealt with and virtual viewings being used in many cases to offer people an insight into a particular property.
Positive News for the Property Market
The advice goes on to say, “that viewings of property are now allowed, under strict guidelines, but that virtual viewings are still ideally being encouraged, particularly in the first instance, until a short list has been drawn up”.
This is positive news and already we have arranged a number of viewings this week and for next, and have today as a result, agreed the sale of a property in Bath.
We can also now visit properties, again under strict guidance, to value and prepare them to put on the market. We know we have many clients who have been holding back placing their property on the open market, and with the strong interest and demand that their appears to be from prospective buyers, we would advise that now is the time proceed with marketing as there is definitely a dearth of certain types of property at the moment.
This is good news as I say. However, in conjunction with the advice that is currently being offered by the government, I personally as the managing director of Cobb Farr, do not feel comfortable re-opening our two offices in Bath and Bradford on Avon.
Firstly, I feel it is too soon. Everyone has differing views, but certainly many people are still very nervous of the situation and rightly so. We all should be doing everything to avoid a “second spike”. Some agents may choose to open their offices, but personally, at this stage I feel this would be irresponsible and unnecessarily would endanger people.
Secondly, when carrying out a viewing this week in Bath, the streets to me still seemed very quiet and I am not sure that opening the office doors would serve any purpose at this stage when there is still a reluctance from the public to over engage and instructions from the government still clearly
emphasize social distancing.
We will of course remain fully committed to doing everything we can to secure sales and I feel that we are best served spending our time conversing with potential buyers and carrying out viewings where appropriate together with appraisals of property. We are of course planning ahead to be
eventually re-opening our doors as things begin to be more relaxed. I anticipate that this will be at some point in June, all other factors being satisfactory.
Property Viewings and Valuations: Cobb Farr Estate Agents Bath and Bradford on Avon
Please note that whilst Cobb Farr, estate agents in Bath and Bradford on Avon are fully open for business, this is subject to the following.
√ Virtual viewings where possible, should be the first port of call for potential buyers, (we would actively suggest to all our vendors that they consider a professional virtual tour being carried out, quotes for which we can offer).
√ For viewings of property carried out by a member of Cobb Farr accompanying them, applicants should arrange these strictly by appointment. (Please note this also applies for any development sites we are currently selling, even if there is a show house open).
√ All applicants viewing properties will be required to adhere to the regulations regarding social distancing and PPE requirements laid out by the government. (Cobb Farr can supply masks and gloves if required).
√ We will also need to ensure that anyone visiting a property has had no contact with any member of the public who has had Covid 19 symptoms and that if they have, they have complied with the 14 day rule.
√ For valuations of property that we carry out, the member of Cobb Farr visiting the property will also be fully compliant with the social distancing requirements and PPE. We will of course comply with any of the owner’s requirements.
I do hope that this makes very clear the strategy and plan ahead for Cobb Farr. All of my staff, including those who are currently furloughed remain fully committed to selling your property/properties for you, but the safety of our staff and of course our clients together with the general public, must come first. These are very unprecedented and testing times, but hopefully we are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel. I believe and I also think the government are encouraging, a GRADUAL and SENSIBLE return to as normal as we can be given the circumstances.
Selling your Property in Bath or Bradford on Avon?
If there is any point in particular, or further advice that we can offer you, please do not hesitate to contact me directly by email email@example.com
Best regards and Stay safe.
Cobb Farr Residential