Update on the current situation for buyers and sellers
Although we are waiting for specific guidelines from the First Minister, we wanted to give you an update on what we know right now and how it might affect your moving plans. This way you can make an informed decision going forward. At the time of writing, we still cannot conduct face-to-face viewings or valuations, but this could change in the coming weeks and we have systems and procedures in place to ensure everyone’s safety when this happens.
Here’s what you need to know right now.
Once we are able to offer viewings to buyers once again, we expect an initial surge of requests. Over the last few weeks, we have taken dozens of calls from people wanting to view our homes as soon as possible and these enquiries are increasing daily. To date we have a list of around 50 customers who have made viewing requests, and as soon as we have a definite date our first priority is to book in those viewings, but we need to make sure our clients, our buyers and our team are safe.
Once we receive clear guidelines from the Scottish Government, we can make sure we adhere to them. These have yet to be confirmed but we expect them to include:
- Personal protective equipment – gloves and masks will be available for all staff
- Limits on viewings – restrictions on the number of viewers allowed in each property each day
- Time limits on viewings – face-to-face viewings may need to be under 15 minutes
- Viewings to be ‘contactless’ – where possible and appropriate, we may need to leave doors and main cupboards open so buyers don’t need to touch them
- Distance viewings – sellers may need to stay out of the house whilst the viewing takes place and wait in the car or the garden
- Disclosure about syptoms of coronavirus – both sellers and buyers will be expected to disclose any symptoms experienced by any member of their household within the last 14 days
- Properties to be cleaned with appropriate cleaning materials – whilst we will be asking our viewers to touch nothing during their visit, in order to reduce any ambient viral load sellers may be advised to use antibacterial cleaning products on all surfaces
We expect similar guidelines for valuations as for viewings.
Homes waiting to go on the market
We have a number of properties ready to be photographed and launched to the open market. These will go ahead as soon as possible because we know there are buyers waiting to view and move home. With an average of 35 property sales per week in the Stirling area we expect there to be an initial swell of homes available to buy, but it may take some weeks for availability levels to get back to normal. If demand from buyers remains strong, there will be a shortage of housing stock and as a result we don’t expect local house prices to fall but to remain at their pre-lockdown levels.
Possible changes to lending and conveyancing
It’s possible that lenders may conduct distance valuations and conveyancers may accept electronic signatures. However, these measures may not be uniform across the industry, with some lenders insisting on a surveyor’s visit for a valuation. This may delay some moves, so buyers and sellers may need to accommodate this in their planned timescales. We’ll advise our clients on an ongoing and individual basis if this is the case. A Stamp Duty holiday has been mooted as one move that will help re-vitalise the housing market, which would be a welcome one.
The Scottish Government is working closely with the National Association of Estate Agents to make sure our industry is safe to re-start. Estate agents, conveyancers, surveyors and removal firms will all be working in accordance with the new guidelines which will affect everyone involved in the industry. Of course, as soon as we receive clarification, we will provide further updates on an ongoing basis.
Not sure whether to change your mind about selling?
Whatever your moving plans were before lockdown, if you’re now reconsidering, please call us to clarify your options – we can also offer video calls if this is helpful. We’ll respond quickly and in confidence.
As always, with best wishes,
Markus & the team at Cathedral City Estates