With a new national lockdown underway, many people have questions about what is and isn’t allowed — especially those in the middle of selling their homes. But unlike the last lockdown, under the current guidelines you can still buy, sell, and move.
Everyone will be making their own choice about whether moving is right from them. Though with the stamp duty holiday still currently due to end on 31st March 2021, we expect a continued spike in activity. Sellers will want to take full advantage of the savings, which means contracts need to exchange as soon as possible if they want to make the deadline.
Sam Mitchell, CEO of online estate agent Strike, shares his advice below for those looking to sell their home during lockdown 2.0.
TIP #1 GO DIGITAL
If you’re not yet on the market, do some due diligence and consider your options when choosing your agent. This time around, all estate agents should be more prepared — with many improving their tech in recent months to stay relevant.
Since the last lockdown, Strike carried out research which suggested almost half (48%) of movers are more likely to now use an online agent, rather than those with a high-street presence.
At Strike, we’ve been championing a digital edge since our launch — and the ease of controlling your move through your phone is more important now than ever. You’ll want agents who are fully equipped to facilitate the whole process from start to finish. We already have the tech services in place to get your home online and appearing on all the leading property portals in a matter of minutes.
An added bonus is that online agents are often cheaper (we’re completely free), which can mean a lot right now with many of us feeling the financial strain of lockdown.
TIP #2 MAXIMISE YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE
Making your property stand out online is going to be essential if you’re selling in lockdown. And remember, the first rule of marketing your property online is to ensure you’re using top quality images — high resolutions are a must, whether you can achieve them on your phone or with a professional camera.
No matter how good your description of the property is, images are what really grab people’s attention. The first image on your listing needs to be picture-perfect — and show why your home is one they’ll want to visit.
Showcase the best parts of your home, such as a welcoming front shot of the property, a generous sitting room, or a stunning kitchen. Around five to nine photos should do the trick, but potentially take a few more now so buyers feel they’ve had a real look into the property.
TIP #3 CARRY OUT VIRTUAL VIEWINGS
Although you can have in-person viewings, our advice is still to offer viewings virtually wherever possible. Most of us have gotten used to video calls during lockdown, so it’s time to use them to help sell your home.
Offering virtual viewings is only going to maximise your chances of a sale, as it means anyone not comfortable with in-person viewings can still take a look. Our recent research found that 51% of movers still want agents to make it easy to do viewings online.
If you are carrying out in-person viewings, make sure you follow the government guidelines. A minimum of two metres distance should be maintained, clean your hands immediately before and after, and limit the number of people in your home as much as possible. Face coverings should also be worn, and it’s recommended that internal doors are kept open and all surfaces should be pristinely cleaned.
Though selling your home is important, it’s more important that we work together to stay safe.
TIP #4 OFFER A PHONE CALL
Remember that potential buyers will be interested in hearing from you about the property and what makes it special. While an agent will be able to tell them the basics about the local area and the property, you’ll always be the true expert — it’s your home, after all.
If you can’t be at the viewing due to restrictions, or if the buyer has instead opted for a virtual viewing, make sure you are still able to add your personal insight to help tempt buyers.
You could offer a follow up phone call to discuss anything that might help get the sale over the line if you haven’t been able to meet in person. Be sure to share why you love living there and what makes your house a home.
TIP #5 SEEK ADVICE
We know that this has been a tough time for a lot of people financially — so if you’re feeling the pressure, you’re not alone. Don’t be afraid to just ask for help or advice along the way if you need it.
If you have any mortgage questions or concerns about selling, there are a number of ways to seek to understand what is best for you. For example, at Strike we offer free advice on these questions with our fully qualified advisers. There are plenty of resources, like Citizens Advice and Home Owners Alliance, which can also help.
There’s no denying that Covid-19 has made everything more complicated — including moving home. But there’s no need to panic. By maximising your online presence and thinking outside of the box, you can still feel confident about pushing forward with your sale. We’ll get through this together.