The global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has seen a drastic change in everyday life across the UK.
Numerous safety procedures and the introduction of lockdown across the country has had a huge impact both domestically and professionally.
The housing market has not been exempt from these restrictions, with property sales and house moves being put on hold throughout the period.
However, following recent government announcements reducing these imposed constraints, house removals across the country have begun to recommence.
So how can you best manage your move during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Although house moves in England have been permitted since the 13th May, it is important to remember that the easing of restrictions does not signify a return to normal.
The safety and welfare of everyone involved in a move is of primary importance, and despite there being more freedom to move home, public health advice and Government guidelines should always be prioritised.
With these changes in mind, here are our 6 top tips to follow when moving home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Listing & Viewing Properties
In England, you are currently able to put your home on the market, with agents able to visit your property to gather the required photographs and videos.
It is important to contact agents prior to their visit, attaining what services are on offer as well as the measures they are following to ensure your safety.
If you or a member of your household begin to display symptoms of the virus, you should immediately inform the estate agent and they should not visit the property.
Guidance for property viewings in England was amended on the 13th May.
The changes allow physical viewings to take place provided they adhere to public health guidelines and are conducted at a safe distance.
Health and safety guidelines for viewings include:
- Viewings must take place with buyers who are genuinely interested in the property.
- Primary viewings should be conducted online. Most estate agents are offering virtual viewings, be sure to ask if this service is provided.
- Physical viewings should be organised by appointment, open houses are not currently approved.
- Open all windows and doors before the viewing and where possible, leave your property whilst it is in progress.
- All participants must wash their hands before the viewing, handwashing amenities should be offered with separate paper towels provided where possible.
- Once the viewing has finished, homeowners should make sure all surfaces are cleansed.
It is evident that safety is of paramount importance.
Estate agents should be willing to work with you to ensure that listing and viewing properties is made as safe as possible.
Adhering to these guidelines will go a long way to upholding high levels of safety.
Offers on Properties
Offers have continued to be made and accepted on properties throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the easing of restrictions, buyers who have finalised a sale may wish to visit the property in person.
Again, the same stringent guidelines as regular house viewings must be followed, virtual viewings, scheduled appointments and social distancing must be adhered to.
It is also possible for buyers to arrange for inspections to be conducted.
Tradespersons are now able to carry out inspections, by appointment in properties where the household have no symptoms of coronavirus.
Be Sure of the Details of Your Move
Whilst the government has given house moves the go ahead, it is still important to establish that all aspects of your move will operate correctly.
Get in touch with your estate agent and removals firm and determine the following:
- Are they fully operational during the pandemic?
- Are they following safety measures?
- Are you required to follow any additional safety protocols?
- What happens if you or anyone in your family becomes ill?
Remote Video Surveys
When deciding which estate agent or removals firm you wish to carry out your move it is important to establish if they offer remote video surveys.
Video survey software allows companies to conduct virtual house tours and establish all the information that will be required for a move, all from the safety of your own home.
Video survey services reduce customers’ physical interaction with individuals from outside of your household, making it a much-desired safety tool.
Whilst adherence to social distancing measures continues to be of the utmost significance, remote video surveys go a long way to assisting with a house move during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Be sure to establish whether your estate agent and removals company are offering customers remote video surveys and house viewings.
Although house moves in the UK have been given government approval, understanding that we are still amid a global pandemic is very important.
If you or anyone in your household begins to feel sick or is displaying any symptoms of the virus, it is best to delay your move and self-isolate for two weeks.
Informing all relevant parties as soon as possible will go a long way to ensuring your move can be rescheduled at the most convenient time.
The gov.uk website outlines all of the guidelines surrounding coronavirus, including how to safely move home.
This is not the most convenient course of action but is essential for the safety of all those involved in your move.
If you are a clinically vulnerable or shielded individual, it is important to prudently consider your situation, seeking medical advice before deciding to move may help with your situation.
Adhere to Government Guidelines
Social distancing guidelines issued by the government recommend remaining at least 2 meters apart from individuals from beyond your household.
Prior to the pandemic, it would have been typical to invite several movers, family members and friends to help with your move.
Whilst this can make sure your move runs quickly, it is now of primary importance to uphold social distancing procedures.
Although this is not an easy task, the framework of the removals industry makes social distancing challenging, there are several steps you can take to ensure that safety is prioritised.
Reducing the number of individuals in your home who are in contact with the movers will go some way to guaranteeing optimal safety levels.
This means that if there are various residents or children in your household, they should remain separated from the removals company personnel where possible.
Supplying a space for movers to wash their hands, should they need to, is also recommended to ensure the highest levels of hygiene are maintained.
If you expect to be in close contact with the workers, ensuring you have access to your own personal PPE is advised.
This includes wearing face masks and disposable gloves.
By following these suggestions and adhering to social distancing measures, your moving day will run as efficiently as possible.