Garrington: Agents must quickly learn new rules for viewings

Jessica Bird

May 13, 2020

Following the news that estate agents are among the groups that will be able recommence non-home working, Garrington Property Finders has said that education on new processes must be paramount. 

Jonathan Hopper, CEO of Garrington Property Finders, said: “Afterthought or an aftershock? It matters not.

“The eleventh-hour firing of the starting gun for estate agents will re-energise the property industry.

“For the next few days at least, the new motto for the sector will be ‘education education education’ as agents take a crash course in how to conduct socially distant viewings safely.”

Now that some of the lockdown restrictions have been eased, estate agents might find a backlog of eager buyers waiting in the wings, Hopper added.

He said: “The lockdown may have halted conventional viewings, but there are plenty of signs that some would-be buyers have used the past six weeks to window shop in earnest.

“Few things are more likely to make people want to move than being cooped up in the same four walls for weeks on end, and property portals have seen traffic increase by up to a fifth.

“Not all of this can be dismissed as idle lockdown escapism.

“Meanwhile, strategic buyers sense that the COVID shock could trigger big price reductions, and that the post-lockdown market will be a buyers’ one.”

Nevertheless, Hopper said that this does not mean business as usual will resume instantly, as the market is still in the dark regarding the full effects of the crisis on house prices and transactions.

He said: “However both buyers and sellers will be feeling their way on price.

“Conventional house price indices are now all but meaningless as they are based on a tiny number of transactions.

“National trends too are likely to be increasingly irrelevant when it comes to price.

The critical factor now is the local market. Areas with a more resilient jobs market should see values hold up better, but elsewhere the price correction could be more brutal.”

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