“While buying and selling property has rarely been more difficult, we are still negotiating new sales, and taking on new property,” says Josephine Ashby of John Bray and Partners in Rock, Cornwall.
“Last week we agreed a sale on a property with a guide of £275,000. It was empty, recently refurbished, with interiors designed by Nicola O’Mara. A local buyer viewed the video walk through, and entered into competitive bidding to secure the property above the guide price.
Launch to ‘agreed sale’ happened in just two days.
“Another recent deal involved a brand-new property in North Cornwall. One buyer had seen the house, but the other hadn’t managed to visit prior to lockdown. They decided to proceed on the basis of a video walkthrough and the sale is progressing.
“Managing sales can be tricky, but everyone’s finding ways to accommodate the uncertainty. On one sale, the buyers are paying a reduced deposit, completion is delayed until next year with the option to bring it forward if possible, the buyer is picking up the vendor’s mortgage payments in the interim.
“Where both buyer and seller are committed to a transaction, there is more trust. It’s difficult to be entirely black and white, buyers and sellers strike agreements that aren’t always possible to make legally binding. As agents we highlight the weakness of these arrangements, but it’s heartening to see deals going through on a virtual handshake, adhering to the spirit rather than the detail of an agreement.
Look into the future
“Video walk-throughs are becoming commonplace. Where property is vacant we produce videos and serious buyers are often happy to buy without visiting the property. We also use virtual staging for vacant properties. Our web traffic is up 50% since the lockdown, 80% are new visitors. Telephone calls are dramatically reduced, but buyers and sellers who call are very serious. We have time to spend talking everything through in great detail.
“We are having to manage deals that were struck pre-lockdown. In one example exchange of contracts took place last year, with completion arranged for next week. Clearly the vendors can’t vacate the property and the buyers can’t move in – all parties have to come together to make arrangements that are as satisfactory as possible.”
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