Our approach covers all stages of selling your home, with detailed procedures for each one. The full text of the UK Government guidance relating to the property market in England can be found here.
In all cases:
At all times, the safety of our staff, our clients and the public is the most important consideration. If any member of the household selling, viewing or buying a property is displaying symptoms of Coronavirus, or has been symptomatic within the last 14 days, then we will not undertake visits to a property or make arrangements for others to visit.
If one household contains an individual who is shielding, or who is otherwise clinically vulnerable, then that individual should ensure that they are aware of the latest medical advice relating to their situation, and may wish to seek specific medical advice regarding moving house before making arrangements to move.
We will always respect the wishes of our clients regarding access to their property, and will not unreasonably request arrangements for physical visits. Prior to arranging any visit, we will always ask:
- If anyone in the property or anyone in the visiting household has displayed symptoms of Covid-19 in the past 14 days.
- If anyone in either household is shielding or clinically vulnerable.
We rely on information provided by our clients and visitors to the property in answer to these questions when recommending that a visit is appropriate. People who have coronavirus or who are self-isolating with a family member should not leave their home in order to move home or undertake property viewings, nor should they allow others to access their property.
Stage 1 – Initial Market Appraisals
If you are considering selling your home, we will conduct a market appraisal. Where appropriate, we will undertake this using video calling which will enable us to discuss your home move face-to-face without physically visiting, and which provides the opportunity for you to show us around your home.
Our experience in the Norfolk property market means that we can agree many aspects of your house sale with you in this way, however where there are elements of your home move that are better discussed in person, or where video calling is not practical, we will arrange an appointment to visit your home. This appointment will follow UK Government guidance on safe working in the home, and where possible these meetings should take place outside or in well-ventilated rooms, with only absolutely necessary participants attending, and observing social distancing guidance.
When we visit your home we will follow government guidance. We will wear face coverings, and although we will avoid touching surfaces wherever possible, we will sanitise our hands before and after the appointment. We will ask that you open all internal doors before we arrive, and windows where practical. And please don’t be offended when we decline refreshments, or if we don’t fuss over pets like we normally would.
When you agree to instruct us to market your home, we will send all contracts and other documentation to you electronically, using secure e-signatures which mean that you don’t have to touch paper or pen at any stage of the process.
Stage 2 – Preparing Your Home For Sale
Effective home staging and professional photography are key elements of our marketing approach, and one way in which we help your home stand out from the crowd.
When we arrange to visit your home to photograph it, to prepare floorplans and brochure details, and to record a video tour, we will ask you to vacate the property, in line with government guidance for safe working in the home.
Once again, we will ask for all internal doors to be left open, to minimise the need to come into contact with surfaces as much as possible. We will also ask you to ensure that your home is clean and tidy.
We will sanitise our hands before we enter the property, and as we leave, and we will wear disposable gloves and disposable shoe coverings inside your home. If we do need to touch any hard surfaces, such as external door handles, we will wipe these down with disposable anti-bacterial wipes before we leave the property. Any equipment or props that we bring with us will be cleaned before use.
The UK Government advises that you clean surfaces such as door handles with standard household cleaning products and dispose of towels safely or wash them as appropriate after visitors have left your home.
Stage 3 – Viewings
The UK Government advises that people should use virtual viewings before visiting properties in person where possible, in order to minimise public health risks. If any member of either the household being viewed, or the household undertaking a viewing is showing symptoms of coronavirus or is self-isolating, then a physical viewing should be delayed. All viewings should take place by appointment and only involve members of a single household.
At the first stages of an enquiry, we will provide prospective purchasers with a property brochure and access to a video tour of your home which will enable them to appreciate the features and layout of the property and the characteristics of the surrounding area.
Where a prospective purchaser is keen to view your home, we will then host a virtual viewing with your support, using three-way video calling. We can offer video viewings using FaceTime, WhatsApp Video, Zoom, Facebook Messenger Video and Skype, to cover a wide range of devices and communication preferences.
Government advice is for physical viewings to take place only where buyers are seriously interested in making an offer on a property. We recommend that our clients only consider accepting physical viewings from prospective buyers who have already seen the property in a virtual viewing, and who are in a good position to proceed with the purchase if their offer is accepted.
We will accompany buyers on a physical viewing. These will be undertaken by appointment only, and to comply with updated government guidance that only two households may be present in the property at any time, sellers are required to vacate the property whilst the viewing takes place, because the agent counts as one of the two households. We will not conduct open house events. Only the minimum number of people who need to be present will attend the viewing so that effective social distancing can be practiced, and only people from a single household can attend. If prospective buyers are not currently living together as a household, they will need to view the property separately, although consecutive appointments can be arranged.
Again, before the viewing, sellers should ensure that all internal doors are open to minimise the need to touch surfaces. All parties will sanitise their hands on entering and leaving the property. We always ask viewers to remove their footwear, and we will supply disposable foot coverings to be worn if required.
We will wear face coverings and will have a supply of disposable face coverings available for others should they be required. We will wear disposable gloves, and if we do need to touch any hard surfaces, such as external door handles, we will wipe these down with disposable anti-bacterial wipes before we leave the property, and will dispose of all items safely.
Following the viewing, the UK Government advises that you clean surfaces such as door handles with standard household cleaning products and dispose of towels safely or wash them as appropriate after visitors have left your home.
Stage 4 – Making and accepting offers
Whilst the actual process of making and accepting offers does not require physical interaction, all parties should be considerate of the fact that a house move may need to be delayed if one of the parties shows symptoms of coronavirus or has to self-isolate during the transaction. We recommend that you speak with your legal adviser to ensure that contracts are flexible enough to accommodate this, and we will remain in close contact with buyers, sellers and their advisers throughout the sales process to ensure that all parties are fully up-to-date at all times.
We appreciate that buyers may wish to re-visit a property once an offer has been accepted, for example to measure up. If this can be done virtually, then we will encourage and facilitate this as part of our service. If a physical visit is absolutely required, then it should be treated in the same manner as a viewing, and we will manage the appointment accordingly.
Purchasers may also want to send in tradespeople to carry out inspections. Where possible these should be scheduled with one person visiting the property at any time. No tradespeople should enter a property where a member of the household is showing symptoms of coronavirus or self-isolating. Where a tradesperson is visiting the property, the occupier should maintain social distancing, wash their hands regularly and minimise contact as far as possible, for example by staying in another room. These visits should be carried out in line with government safer working guidance.
Stage 5 – Agreeing to move
Once you have agreed to move home by exchanging contracts, you have entered into a legal agreement to move. All parties should be as flexible as possible over this period and be prepared to delay moves if needed, for example if someone becomes ill with coronavirus during the moving process or has to self-isolate. The UK Government warns that you should not expect to move into any home where people are ill or self-isolating.
Your legal adviser should be able to help you to ensure that any contract you enter into has sufficient flexibility to allow the purchase to be delayed in the event that an individual in one of the parties contracts coronavirus or has to self-isolate, and we will remain in close contact with buyers, sellers and their advisers throughout the sales process to ensure that all parties are fully up-to-date at all times.
Stage 6 – Moving house
Removal firms are able to operate, and will have their own procedures in place to ensure that moves happen as safely as possible. We advise that you contact removal firms as early in the process as possible, and we can help you do this if required.
On moving day, we will arrange a time to attend the property to receive the keys from the sellers. Once the keys are in our possession, we will clean them and place them in a sealed bag. We will then contact the buyer to arrange a time for them to meet us outside the property and take possession of the keys.
In order to ensure that appropriate social distancing can take place, we ask that buyers or their removal contractors do not arrive at the property before we have contacted them to inform them that the keys are available for collection.
Working with Pendefords
As a small family business, we have always worked from home, and we will continue to do so. Because we don’t have an office with a lot of staff, because we don’t receive visitors to our premises, and because we only represent a small number of individual properties at any time, we can naturally minimise our physical interaction with others, and consequently minimise the risks presented by coronavirus.
We’re a family team who are passionate about helping people change their lives, and we understand the challenges and the opportunities that moving house can bring better than most. We know that in ‘the new normal’, everyone will have to work differently, and we’ve built our business to be flexible and responsive so that we can embrace these changes and continue to help our clients in the same personal manner that we always have – by treating everyone as an individual, and working with them in the way that suits them best.
We look forward to working with you.
Lucy & Gareth
LOVE WHERE YOU LIVE
For us, a home is more than bricks and mortar. Moving house can be a catalyst for a new way of life, an opportunity to change more than just your address, and a chance to discover what it is that makes you #lovewhereyoulive