The Covid-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of our day-to-day life, from how we shop, to how we interact with other people socially and even to how we move home. For a period, home movers were unable to even look at prospective new homes, but now that lockdown is easing, home viewings are possible again. In this article we have a look at how property viewings have changed and what options there are.
As of the 29th of June, viewings of properties was allowed again by the various UK Governments and certain guidelines were put in place to make them safe for all involved:
In Wales only, physical viewings are only to take place if the property has been deep cleaned within or left unoccupied for 72 hours before the viewing.
- Estate Agents should assess how serious the potential buyer is and only arrange viewings for those seriously interested in the property
- Initial viewings should be done virtually where possible
- Certain precautions should be taken for physical viewings
- Viewings should be done by appointment only – open house viewings are not allowed
- Internal doors should be opened and if possible open external windows
- Limit the number of people at the viewing to a minimum, if small children are at the viewing prevent them from touching items in the propert
- Bring hand sanitiser or make it available at the property
- The current owners should, if possible, vacate the property for the duration of the viewing
- Practice social distancing and wear relevant PPE such as face masks
- Clean all surfaces and door handles thoroughly before and after a viewing. Ensure any towels are either disposed of or washed after cleaning
As per the Government guidelines, initial viewings should be carried out virtually. This might be via a pre-recorded video or a live feed, but where do you start when setting up a virtual tour of your property? Here we give you some hints and tips:
- Do inside and out separately. Because of the differences in light levels you don’t want to go straight inside after filming outside as this will affect the video lighting quality
- Plan your route around the property and list out the features you want to highlight on the tour which will help sell your home
- Plan the timing of the video shoot. If your garden is drenched in sunlight at a certain time, make sure to film it at that time; if your front room gets dark after a certain time, make sure you film beforehand.
- Make the inside light. Video filming will typically make a room darker than it really is, especially if you aren’t using a professional camera. Open all the curtains and blinds and, if needed turn on lamps and ceiling lights.
- Declutter and clear inside and out. Remember you want your video to look homely so don’t put everything away but make sure all clutter is tidied away and don’t forget to give the outside a spruce up too.
- Don’t be afraid to miss a room or two out. Focus on the best parts so don’t be afraid to spend more time on those and miss out the second en-suite or the downstairs loo. Mention that they are there but don’t worry about going in.
- Get your camera technique correct. If you are using a mobile phone or tablet, hold them in landscape mode as this gives the widest viewing angle, hold the camera steady and at eye level for the whole recording.
- Commentary is a subjective thing. If you do want a commentary, then make sure you are word perfect. Pauses and mistakes won’t come across well and you’ll need to restart. You might want to simply supply the video to your agent and have them add the voice over if they can. Talk to your agent about this to ensure you get the best possible tour.
- Practice and review. Practice your route to make it flow nicely, take a few practice videos and watch them back. Be self-critical. What is the lighting like? Is there a lot of background noise which might put a purchaser off? Are you walking or panning too fast or too slowly? Have you focused enough on the features you want to highlight? Once you have practiced and reviewed then take the video you want.
- Ask for feedback from others including your agent.
House viewings are now very different to how they were before the pandemic, but they are still vitally important when selling a property. Work with your agent to organise your virtual tour and organise any physical viewings and this will set you well on your way to selling your home even in these challenging times.