According to current advice it looks as if the Estate Agency businesses may be permitted to open in early June in line with ‘shop’ / ‘High Street’ opening, so with this in mind we are preparing for the big day when we can return to our offices to take up what they are now calling the ‘new normal’. It is more than likely that social distancing will have to be maintained for some months to come, even as business resumes, so things will have to be done rather differently.

Our staff will be positioned so as to always be at 2 meters apart and furniture will be arranged in the offices so as to keep the correct safe distance between staff and clients at all times, again in line with guidance.

PROPERTY VIEWING APPOINTMENTS: We wait to hear any new rules reference Property Viewing as and when they are created but provisionally, we expect physical viewings to be limited to just 2 viewers, or maybe perhaps just one adult ‘viewer’ and one agency representative, with social distancing rules being maintained throughout and (PPE) masks and gloves being worn by all in attendance. The occupiers of the property are naturally expected to have to vacate the property for the duration of the viewing.

We have decided as a business to add some new technology in to the mix as soon as we return to our offices in June, which will help prospective buyers prior to viewing. We are crateing what are known as Matterport virtual viewings for all of our properties and a condition for arranging a physical visit will be that the person viewing must have thoroughly researched all available material including the Matterport virtual tour prior to their property visit. This step is naturally expected to be for the benefit of all parties concerned. The Seller will know that the person viewing has seriously investigated their property and so any physical viewing will now be equivalent to what would have been regarded as a very serious second viewing, in the days before ‘Lock Down’ (this is testament to how sophisticated the Matterport tours / 3D plans are).  

VIRTUAL VIEWINGS with the Matterport tours can, where appropriate, be fully supported and accompanied by a member of the agency sales team to guide the prospective purchaser through the finer points of the technology, as well as providing useful background information and assistance exactly as per a normal physical viewing. This technology is not there to replace the physical viewing appointment, for this would be nonsense, given the investment involved both financially and emotionally in the purchase of a property. It does however make the lead up to viewing far more professional and informative.

VALUATION / MARKET APPRAISAL OF YOUR PROPERTY: As we find our way through the ‘new normal’, getting used to social distancing at work etc, it is likely that valuations can be carried out in a normal fashion, with one of our long established residential sales team members visiting your property,  albeit observing of course the correct ‘social distancing’ and wearing a face mask and gloves where appropriate. However, there may very well be prospective Sellers who would prefer to take advice on value and marketing strategy without the risk involved in having one of our personnel visit their home personally and where this is the case, there will be no difficulty in arranging what we’ve now over the past 7 weeks come to know as a ‘Virtual Valuation’. In the case of the latter, we will simply arrange a date / time in the normal way but this will be for a video call and after initial discussion we will ask you the home owner to conduct us on a ‘walk through tour’ of your property with video on and with consent of course, allowing us to record the call. We will then make an appointment to call back a few hours later, having taken the time to research the video tour carefully, with thoughtful advice on value and marketing strategy best suited to the needs you have detailed to us.

…and a bit of an aside:- LEARNING ABOUT OURSELVES THROUGH LOCKDOWN (and a bit of personal reflection as an ‘agent’ who has been consigned to home for a while)

For those experiencing long periods at home who are not crammed with work and chores from dawn to dusk, this time could be an opportunity to learn a little more about ourselves and our minds. While not for a moment professing to be an authority or even particularly knowledgeable on mind or body, it can be fascinating and enlightening to view life and self from a different perspective. Rare events such as the one we are all currently living through can alter our perspective and give us the opportunity to learn about the way in which we live / have been living / and how we might want to live, as life returns to normal and I mean particularly post the hopefully successful development of the Corona Virus (COVID-19) vaccine.

A cousin of mine, Matt Padwick, works and teaches at a Tibetan Retreat, Dzogchen Beara, on the Beara Peninsular on the west coast of Ireland and has produced a series of lessons on Tibetan Yoga (Kum Nye), available free on YouTube, to help anyone through this unusual period of ‘Lock Down’. Wonderfully calming and enlightening. It is not physically strenuous (I wouldn’t be trying it if it was!) but an excellent introduction to mindfulness.

Kum Nye – Tibetan Yoga

As an aside, the blind author, Peter Cornish, who established the Dzogchen Beara retreat, has written a book called “Dazzled by Daylight”, a lively and, at times, humorous account of how he came to set up the retreat in this gorgeous corner of the Republic of Ireland.

We are as a company very much looking forward to actively dealing with our Sellers / Buyers / Landlords / Tenants again, for human interaction and stimulus is what makes us all feel properly connected, valued and yes ‘normal’. Hoping that this finds you all well, we will shortly be letting you know when our offices are to physically open again but in the meantime we are fielding telephone calls and emails in order to maintain momentum and provide you with a continuous service.