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How to View a Property Safely

Monday, May 25, 2020

Property viewings, in England, can now resume bringing relief to home-movers around the country. However, your health and safety remains a top concern at this time which is why Rightmove created a set of simple guidelines, based on the new government guidance, to reassure you when going on property viewings or allowing others into your home for viewings.

If you’re a buyer or renter going on viewings:
You’ve no-doubt been keenly waiting for weeks to go and view that property you’ve had your eye on and now you can. Whether it’s on your way to a viewing, or once you get there, remember these three key pieces of advice from the government:

  • Maintain a 2m distance from anyone you aren’t living with – If you ever forget what 2m looks like, imagine taking two long strides, or visualising the height of your front door!
  • Wash your hands regularly (and thoroughly) and avoid touching your face 
  • Minimise contact with surfaces outside of your home – this can be hard as we touch so many things throughout the day, often without thinking about it. Common things include door handles, lift buttons and ‘stop’ buttons on the bus.

Why not start with an online viewing, if available? You’ll still need to view the property in person, before being able to proceed with an offer, but it’s a great place to start. Particularly helpful if you’re not entirely sure whether it’s suitable for you, it’s also one less journey you’ll need to make. If you’d still like the view the property, the agent will be pleased to know you’re serious.

In line with government guidance, anyone experiencing coronavirus symptoms should be staying at home, to help prevent further spread of the disease.

To give confidence to all parties present at the viewing that this guidance is being followed, and to help the agent manage the viewing in the most efficient way possible, you should be asked to complete a handful of questions before your viewing such as:

  • Has anyone in your household had COVID-19?
  • Has anyone in your household displayed COVID-19 symptoms or not yet completed a required period of household self-isolation?
  • Are you in the high-risk category?
  • The current owner, or tenants, of the property you’re going to view will have also completed these questions, as will the agent if they’ll be present on the viewing, so don’t be afraid to check with the agent on this if it’s a concern.

We would also recommend asking the agent as many questions as possible before the viewing, to help save time on the viewing itself.

Travelling to and from viewings
Wherever possible, use your own transport (i.e car, motorcycle or bicycle) or, if it’s a walkable distance, consider this as an option. If you are planning to drive to a viewing, think in advance about parking. Let the agent know in advance so they can advise you on where’s best to park as it’s not always obvious, especially if you don’t know the area.
Public transport is still essential for many of us, especially those in big cities. When booking the viewing, let the agent know so that they can help you book a viewing time outside of peak travel hours (06:30 – 09:30 and 16:00 – 19:00)
Show up on time. Agents will need you to arrive at your viewing at the time you’ve agreed, not earlier and not later. This is to help minimise the number of people gathering near the property.

At the viewing
For the duration of the viewing, you will need to be mindful that this is someone’s home (if occupied) and follow the social distancing guidelines.

Being armed with all the questions you still need to ask on the viewing will be more important than ever to ensure you’re getting the most out of the viewing.

Create your own ‘viewing kit’ to get the most out of your viewings:

  • Anti-bacterial hand sanitiser or a small bar of soap in a resealable bag and some paper hand towels or a small towel. This will ensure you can clean your hands both before and after the viewing
  • A face mask – not an essential but recommended. It will show politeness to the agent and current owner that you have considered them. Especially useful if you’re currently suffering from hayfever, and therefore prone to sneezing, or travelling by public transport. The government have released details on how to make your own.
  • Disposable gloves – not an essential, but a good idea if you’re worried about touching anything accidentally (especially if you’ve had to travel by public transport).
  • Viewing Checklist – Print-out or save a copy of our Rightmove's viewing checklist for renters and buyers – they contain all the key questions you’ll need to ask
  • Something to write with – be it a pen, pencil or your phone, you’ll want to jot down the answers to your questions and make notes.
  • Your phone – not only so you can contact the agent if you need to, but also so you can take photos or make notes
  • A bottle of water – In case you get thirsty, and always advisable in warmer months. You won’t be able to accept, or ask for, one on a viewing so useful to have in your bag

Things to remember
Everyone should maintain a 2m distance from those on the viewing and wash their hands regularly (and thoroughly) and avoid touching their face 

Property owners should regularly clean items that are likely to be touched on viewings – Particularly door handles, doorbells, and window latches/locks. Most of us will give our homes a good deep clean before opening the doors to prospective buyers, as part of wanting it to look its best and attract a buyer. Now is no different, so use it as an opportunity to give everything a good clean before viewings start.
To help minimise the number of people in your home at any one time, it may be required for you and your household to leave while the viewing is taking place.
Open windows to boost ventilation prior to the viewing taking place. Open internal doors, loft hatches, and anything else you think may be of interest, ahead of the viewing to minimise any unnecessary contact
If possible, provide hand sanitiser by your front door so that the agent and viewers can clean their hands when they enter and leave your home.
Have a plan of where you can go while the viewing is taking place if you need to.

After the viewing
Once the viewing has finished, the agent may want to spend a couple of extra minutes with you, perhaps going through any feedback or comments with you. If you have an outdoor space that allows you to distance yourselves more easily, feel free to take the conversation outside, or ideally minimise physical meetings and book a follow-up video call.

They may have just found you a buyer, but don’t be tempted to shake hands!

Once the agent has left, you’ll want to wipe down any door handles, cupboard doors etc that were touched on the viewing, with an antibacterial wipe or spray, and wash your hands.

Article taken in part from - to read the article in full why not visit their website where you will also find for handy guides and additional information or enrol on one of their web-chats to get up to the minute news about the property industry.

Important Information
All property sales and the financial advice that surrounds them are as unique as the people engaging in the transaction. It is important to not make a decision without seeking professional advice. If you want to sell your home and are considering redecorating before marketing, speak to one of our Property Professionals to get the best advice for presenting your home for sale before making any investment. This article is for the purpose of information only and should not be seen as financial advice.

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