House Viewings After Restrictions Are Eased in England

The housing market is tentatively open for business, there are many factors as to how the market reopens – the first and primary issue is the ability for the surveyors to be able to undertake the mortgage valuations, and whether the prices agreed before Corona Virus are down valued or whether they hold.  If the valuers adopt to agree with accepted offer figures then there is the real chance of seeing a solid restart to the market.

The question of house viewings and appetite for house buyers and sellers will to a greater or less extent depend on the appetite of the family or individual, the need to sell or buy homes, and what the driving forces are behind it.  I expect to see parties who were engaged in the process before March 2020 return to the housing market, whether they choose to continue with the transaction at the same level remains to be seen.

With regard to house viewings and appraisals, there will be government guidance around this, and video appraisals and indeed viewings will start to come more mainstream and normal, this will obviously minimise human contact and reduce the spread, but also from an estate agency perspective it will help reduce operating costs.

I do not expect a virtual tour of someone’s home to replace the need for a physical visit, but I believe the currency of seeing people from a buyers/sellers perspective will be held for family members and friends rather than agents or vendors – basically the virtual tour will be the first viewing (watched many times over) before the decision is responsibly taken and honestly discussed between the parties that the particular property in question is a serious contender for an offer.

One things for sure, until there is a vaccine or drug introduced Covid -19 is here to stay and this new way of life will become the new normal, as we enter uncharted territory we face the possibility of further lockdowns or restrictions to our lives, as such people might look to settle themselves and their family into a home that suits their “lockdown” lifestyle more.

I am expecting to see a surge of activity in more rural properties, the pandemic will alter the way we work forever, it has demonstrated to Employers that their staff can be productive whilst working from home.  A good internet connection, a home office and some outside space will I think start to be very appealing, with the occasional weekly visit to the office, probably outside of rush hour travel.

Obviously there are still significant hurdles and financial pressures to overcome, the government support package is unprecedented, if the banks continue to offer liquidity in the form of mortgages and the valuers hold the prices then the market could start in a solid manner.

What are your thoughts on house viewings and the market in general following the pandemic?

Ben, Founder & Director of Houso App