Estate agents will increasingly have to pre-screen vendors, potential buyers and tenants, as well as landlords over the phone to find out their health status before organising viewings or client meetings in order to keep the housing market going.
Rightmove made this prediction over the weekend as it reported on last week’s housing market activity, which it said at one point was only 4% behind the same time last year following enquiry surges for both sales and rental properties.
But the portal says the fluidity of both the sales and lettings market will be compromised by the need for estate agents to ask people whether they are exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms or vulnerabilities prior to face-to-face meetings.
“It’s especially important for the recovery of transaction volumes that prospective buyers and existing and future sellers feel reassured enough to re-engage with their pent-up housing needs, but safety is the top priority for all and so it will take time,” says company spokesman Miles Shipside (left).
“All parties will have to be innovative to work effectively while adhering to [the government] guidelines.
“There are many benefits, including freeing sellers of the need to maintain a constant state of tidiness and letting them avoid the frustration of no-shows often associated with frequent physical viewings.”
Rightmove has also predicted that home working is likely to become more widespread within the industry.
It says the demands of social distancing within branches means that many will not be able to be fully staffed for many months to come, and that therefore thousands of agents will have to continue working from home until the restrictions are lifted.