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Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Estate Agents8 Mar 2020

Much like ‘Brexit’, you can’t turn on a single news outlet without hearing about Coronavirus (COVID-19). Some people are panic buying soap and loo roll and others are refusing to acknowledge the fuss, however to protect those in society who are most vulnerable to the effects of the virus, we all need to be sensible and not panic, whilst also being diligent with measures to slow the spread of the virus.

London estate agency Benham & Reeves have conducted a survey of 1000 people currently selling or buying, which has revealed that 9% have started the process of selling or buying but put it on hold due to Coronavirus fears, and another 9% had decided to move later in the year, but have decided to postpone it for the same reasons.

By its very nature, being an estate or lettings agent means meeting lots of people, shaking lots of hands, and visiting lots of homes which is the very opposite of current advice – it’s not a job that’s easily done whilst working from home.

With that in mind, there are a few things you can do to minimise risk, and prepare yourself for a reduced number of number of viewings.

Don’t shake hands

It might be a time-honoured tradition, but it’s also one of the fastest ways to spread germs. If politicians aren’t and football teams aren’t, we’ll be helping everyone by following suit. Most people will understand – and ultimately thank you for it!

Check owners/ tenants/ viewers haven’t visited countries with travel restrictions recently

If they have, check with them that they have followed quarantine advice and procedures following their visit.

Plan for the worst-case scenario

The survey also showed that 69% of people would still go ahead with the moving process despite a wider spread of COVID-19, which indicates a third of the market could be affected.

With this in mind, accompanied by the fact that as it spreads more people are going to be off work and will need time to recover from illness. It’s a really good idea to plan for what you’re going to do if you lose a significant number of staff members, so it doesn’t cause panic and stress for those who are able to continue working.

Create a list of essential tasks

Go through everything that needs to be done and make a list of the bare minimum tasks that need to be completed in order for your agency to be functioning. In the event of many staff being off at once, you’ll be able to divide these up and reduce stress on remaining staff members so they don’t find themselves trying to complete the work of two or three people.

Video tours

We’re huge advocates of creating video tours for your properties, as they’re a great way to allow busy people to get a feel for a property before booking an initial viewing. However, in a potential situation where very few people would be going for viewings, video tours would be extremely helpful – especially for those looking for a property to let. If you need any pointers or assistance with creating video tours of properties, get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help.

The main thing is, by carrying out these precautions it’s not panicking, it’s providing reassurance that the industry is professional and cares about both customers and staff, whilst also helping to reduce the spread to help those most vulnerable to the effects of the virus.

You can find out more about the mentioned survey here.