A return to sales and lettings

By Chris Seeley · 13 May 2020

The Government announced last night (12/5/20) a relaxation in the arrangements for the sale of homes in England only.

In Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland the respective Governments have decided that it is not yet safe to relax their guidance.

The Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, has said: “Anyone in England can move home if they follow new guidance”. This means that estate agents and house builders are able to re commence the sales and letting of homes opening offices and show homes, by extension this means that councils and housing associations will be able to re-enter the sales and letting programme. The guidance has yet to be published but clearly all parts of the equation will need to work together to ensure that people are able to move home safely. In the first instance it is likely that organisations will want to help those people who are already committed to a purchase or to a tenancy to be able to complete their transaction and move home. This is likely to mean that there is an immediate spike in sales and letting’s activity, the Housing Secretary estimates that “more than 450,000 buyers and renters have been unable to progress their plans to move since March.” Given the likely pent up demand organisations will be seeking additional support beyond bringing back any furloughed members of your teams. We would be pleased to work with you to provide additional interim resources or to help structure or review your process to ensure the safety of your staff and customers.

The key elements of the community secretary’s announcement are shown in the bullet points below:

  • Estate agents’ offices can open
  • Viewings are permitted
  • Show homes can open
  • Removal companies and the other essential parts of the sales and letting process are re-started with immediate effect

We think the most immediate actions for sales and lettings teams are to work with your existing committed movers and:

  • Think – are your homes ready for customers to occupy – does any work need doing after homes have stood empty?
  • Think about how customers can move safely – Are the homes they are moving into deep cleaned? Do they need to be if they have stood empty?
  • Customers are likely to want to revisit prior to purchase – Is the site safe to visit for your staff and customers – are your builders able to accommodate visitors to site?
  • If the site can be visited what are your arrangements to maintain social distancing and to provide any required standard site PPE whilst showing the home to your customers?
  • What additional PPE may be required by your customers and staff?
  • Are your solicitors ready? We expect they will be but worth checking, we know conveyancing staff have been furloughed
  • Are the customers mortgage offers still valid? Do customers need support in talking to lenders?
  • Are your valuations in date? How soon can valuers respond to your request?

We hope that is a helpful aide memoire. If you think we can help please contact Chris Seeley at cseeley@arkconsultancy.co.uk

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