Once again, the country is in lockdown, but the housing market remains open so that people can view properties and move home.
Lockdown to start the year
Yes, the year has started with the announcement of a new national lockdown to control the surge in coronavirus cases across the country. The tighter measures, which are expected to remain in place until mid-February mean people are only allowed to leave their homes for specific tasks, as outlined by the government. This time round, much like the first lockdown back in March last year, schools and non-essential shops have had to close. However, the housing market has been given the green light to stay open. This means people can continue to buy, sell, rent, or let properties, as long as it is done safely and in line with government guidelines. The other services necessary for all things related to home buying, selling, and moving home are also allowed to continue to operate. This includes surveyors, valuers, solicitors, and removal firms.
Conducting viewings safely
With property viewings and moving home being classed as one of the limited exceptions for which people are allowed to leave their home, it’s vital social distancing and other safety measures are observed.
So, considering new homes specifically, how should visits to sales offices, and viewings at show homes be conducted to ensure everyone’s safety? Developers, estate agents, and those visiting properties for viewings, must take safety measures such as the following.
- Viewings must be done by appointment and any ‘open house’ viewings are strictly not allowed.
- At viewings, you should wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitiser. You should also avoid touching surfaces as much as possible.
- If you can attend viewings without children, it is better not to bring children with you.
- Windows should be kept open during viewings to ensure maximum ventilation throughout the property.
- All internal doors within the property should be left open, and all surfaces, including door handles must be cleaned after each viewing.
- You may well be able to see an online or virtual viewing of a new home in the first instance. It is recommended you only arrange to view a property if you are seriously considering buying it.
Moving home safely
As much as you can buy a home during the lockdown, house moves can also go ahead. These however cannot be done with the help of anyone outside of your household or support bubble. You are allowed to enlist the help of a removals firm, but social distancing must be observed throughout the move to keep everyone safe. Other tips for a Covid-safe home move, especially if you are using a removals firm, include.
- Do as much packing as you can yourself.
- Clean your belongings before the removal company arrive.
- Keep internal doors open for the removal workers, and as much as possible, keep a distance of two metres between yourself and them.
- Encourage regular hand washing or use of hand sanitiser throughout the removal process and avoid touching surfaces.
- You should not provide any refreshments for removals workers when they are at your home. You should however ensure they have access to hand washing facilities with separate towels or a means to dry their hands.
If you need to spend a night in a hotel or other similar accommodation while you are moving home, this is allowed.
New build developments continue
During this latest period of lockdown, new build construction sites are allowed to remain operational. Developers are working alongside enhanced safety measures to allow their teams to continue the construction of new homes safely, so they can still be completed and delivered on time. You will find sales centres and offices at home developer sites, as well as show homes on developments open for viewing by appointment only. Some developers will have virtual viewings available, so it is worth calling or sending an email about any new homes you are interested in.
Start your new home search for 2021 with us here. We bring together a wide variety of new homes available for sale from developers large and small across the country. You will be sure to find your perfect new home here at New Homes Place.