The rental market is open for business and here at Home Made we’ve been back on the road for a couple of weeks. A lot has changed since we’ve been away and the physical distancing measures required to control the coronavirus outbreak have transformed the process of viewing a property. While these necessary restrictions do mean that your property search will require more time and effort, we’ve been working hard to deliver high quality virtual walkthroughs and safe, covid-secure physical viewings for those who need them.
Using the collective wisdom of our intrepid sales team, we’ve put together the following guide to help you prepare effectively for a post-covid property hunt in London.
Narrow your search with a virtual property tour before committing to an in-person viewing.
Unfortunately, renters have far less freedom to hit the pavement and shop around than they did before the lockdown. Government guidelines advise that we all limit the number of trips we take outside the home, public transport is operating at only a fraction of its previous capacity, and physical distancing requirements mean that where viewings do occur they can only take place with members of the same household and take far longer to complete.
However, the emergence of COVID-19 has forced the industry to adapt and create more digital marketing solutions to support remote viewings. The long-term benefit of this is that renters can refine their search by shortlisting properties using high quality video viewings. We encourage you to complete a virtual tour of any promising properties and use this to rule out anything that won’t work for you. In doing so, you can be confident that you are only making the effort to visit a home when there is a strong chance that you will make an offer.
Leave in plenty of time to arrive for your appointment.
Capacity on TfL services is likely to be severely limited for the foreseeable future, meaning we’re all going to need to get used to planning ahead before undertaking even the most routine journeys. Make sure to leave early to give yourself the best chance of arriving on time. As all viewings are now strictly by appointment only and the travel time between viewings has increased significantly, sales teams aren’t able to spend as long waiting at a property or reschedule as quickly as they could before the pandemic.
It’s also worth looking for alternative methods of transport when travelling to your viewing. It might not be possible if you’re looking to move to a different neighbourhood, but if you can walk or cycle to your viewing then it is better to avoid public transport even if it means leaving early. Take some time to research how long it would take to walk or cycle to the property and see if there are good cycle lanes connecting you to your destination. It might take you longer, but it’s a great way to see more of our beautiful city!
Stock up on PPE & hand sanitiser.
As of the 15th June, face coverings are mandatory on all public transport and recommended for use in enclosed settings where physical distancing might not be possible at all times. For this reason, it pays to stock up on PPE (non-medical grade) prior to booking in your viewings. Many properties will feature confined spaces where physical distancing might be difficult. For instance, for a flat in large development you will have to walk through corridors to reach the property where you may come into contact with several occupants of neighbouring properties. Wearing a mask to your viewing will protect you and others.
Government guidelines recommend that all parties viewing a property wash their hands and avoid touching surfaces where possible. As such, it is also prudent to carry hand sanitiser with you to all viewings so that you can disinfect your hands if handwashing facilities aren’t immediately available.
The safety of renters and our team is our number one priority. All of our Sales Associates are equipped with PPE and hand sanitiser to ensure that we carry out in-person viewings safely and responsibly.
Be patient and prepare for the unexpected.
Finding the perfect property is going to be a far less convenient process than before the pandemic and this can be frustrating. The best steps you can take to manage uncertainty in the new normal are as follows:
- Start your search earlier than you would normally so you have more time to browse and view properties before you need to move.
- Make plenty of contingency plans for every stage of your relocation. If the property you want is occupied and the current residents are required to self-isolate just as they are due to vacate the property your move might be delayed. Your property search might be put on hold and viewings might be cancelled if you, the sales representative, or current occupiers develop coronavirus symptoms. Always be prepared.
- Take more time before starting your search to consider your ‘must-haves’ for any property. This has always been sound advice, but now more than ever you will save time if your search is more focused. Lockdown has helped many people to reevaluate the features and amenities they value most in a home, so use any insights to refine your search criteria.
- Prepare any questions you would like to ask at your viewing ahead of your appointment to make the most of your face-to-face time with the salesperson. Be sure to take detailed notes and lots of pictures during your viewing, as it will be more difficult to arrange repeat visits prior to making an offer than in your previous experience.
As lockdown restrictions ease further over the coming weeks and months, and people feel confident enough to resume or make plans to move, the process of finding a new home will gradually resemble something closer to normal. In the meantime, Home Made will work to find ways to make your property search as seamless as can be while guaranteeing your health and safety.