COVID-19 Update from the Tod Anstee Team
As we emerge from this second UK lockdown, the Tod Anstee team would like to update all of our buyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants about our COVID-safe working practises, and how we are continuing to ensure that all those that need to move home during the virus, are able to do so safely and with minimal disruption.
Throughout the pandemic we have done everything we can to keep Chichester moving. To do this we have had to adapt and adopt new working practices and embrace changes to the way we operate. Many of these changes, involving technology and streamlined processes have actually made us more efficient, allowing us more time to focus on the needs of all our clients.
How is Lockdown Impacting the Property Market in West Sussex?
Following the most recent lockdown Secretary of State for Housing, Robert Jenrick confirmed on Twitter that house moves may go ahead. We believe therefore as restrictions are eased in the run up to Christmas, it will continue to be “business as… slightly different to usual!”
The housing market remains open, viewings, valuations and property visits can still take place.
Demand remains strong, in both the local sales and rental market. Therefore, the Tod Anstee team is committed to helping all of our clients achieve their property goals in as efficient, stress free and profitable way as possible.
Although there is considerable pressure from the industry to ask Government to reconsider, the Stamp Duty holiday period is currently expected to last only until 31st March 2021, so now is one of the best times to invest or buy that we have seen in recent years. Attractive interest rates and competitive lending terms add to the market momentum that looks set to carry us through this second lockdown, and into the months to come.
It is vital to move quickly to take up the opportunity to buy at significantly discounted tax rates. However, with only four months remaining, time is the essential factor. The Christmas holiday always causes a delay in property transactions, and the volume of deals currently going through means that solicitors, surveyors and local authorities are having to cope with a high number of transactions whilst dealing with their own revised procedures due to COVID.
It is wise to plan for a longer than anticipated time to complete a deal, so if you are thinking of buying, don’t delay too long.
What Has the Coronavirus Pandemic Meant for Rental Property and Landlords?
One of the most striking impacts of the pandemic has been in the rental market.
Properties to let in Chichester continue to be in high demand, and the Tod Anstee lettings team is receiving high volumes of enquiries from quality potential tenants.
The demand is particularly driven by:
- The Increased volume of tenants seeking quality housing outside of congested city centre living, with Londoners in particular looking for more rural living as a direct impact of the experience of pandemic lockdowns. Outside space has become a key requirement so houses, bungalows and flats with balconies or terraces are extremely sought after.
- The significant increase in tenants working from home, with thousands of employers now focusing on distance and remote working as a primary strategy for the foreseeable future. This gives tenants focus on what is needed for a better work life balance such as access to the coast and the South Downs, without the constraints of needing to live close to the office.
Availability of rental property is currently reduced due partially to the fact that many people who might normally have moved are waiting to see how the pandemic affects their jobs, their families and financial security. Now is therefore the ideal time for landlords who are in position to invest, to increase their portfolios.
With no sign of current demand decreasing, the Tod Anstee team is committed to ensuring that tenants continue to be able to move quickly and safely.
Professional Estate Agent and Letting Agent Services in West Sussex
As a Propertymark accredited agent, Tod Anstee is following guidance with regards to:
- Conducting and facilitating property viewings.
- Making use of digital options where possible to minimise social contact.
- Adhering to social distancing requirements in all of our dealings both with clients and between staff.
- Helping clients with practicalities such as organising removals services.
Our lettings team is proud to be leading the West Sussex property market in quickly adopting new practises ensuring transactions can complete efficiently, even in these difficult times.
Many changes involve simple steps to minimise physical contact, reduce the number of individuals present, and maintain safe practises to mitigate any potential risks.
If you are a tenant and have a maintenance issue you should report this as usual. You can do this by phone, email though our website or via Propertyfile, your individual online account where you can see all you need to know about your tenancy. If you don’t have your login details, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will arrange these to be sent to you.
Our contractors are still able to visit to carry out essential maintenance work and to provide essential safety checks such as Gas and Electrical safety. All contractors will comply with social distancing requirements, wear a face covering and check that you are happy for them to enter before caring out any work.
If you are due a contractor visit and are either isolating, suffering from symptoms or know you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, please let us know and we will rearrange the visit.
If you are due a regular property visit, our inspector will call you in advance to check that you are happy for the visit to take place and you are not isolating, suffering from symptoms or know you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive. You will be given the option for a physical visit, or a virtual visit via WhatsApp, Facetime or Zoom so you can report any issues that need attention.
Viewings and valuations
Many of our properties now have video tours so you can view online without having to visit the property, over the next few weeks we are looking to further improve the number and quality of these as it helps to avoid unnecessary viewings.
Where physical viewings are necessary, In all cases we will follow the Propertymark guidelines for carrying out viewings and valuations, you will receive an email from us in advance of any such meeting to advise you of our procedures and for you to confirm that you are not isolating, symptomatic, or in a vulnerable group. We will then follow the following procedure:
- On arrival, please remain a safe distance from the property until asked to enter.
- Current occupiers will have been asked to vacate so we will try and keep viewings as short as possible
- You will be asked to restrict the number of viewers to 2 adults
- Please do not bring children or pets
- Please wear a face covering and if possible, gloves. Hand sanitiser will be provided.
- Please avoid touching surfaces, door handles light switches etc wherever possible (These should be on/open already)
- Please ask any questions or discuss any offers outside of the property once the viewing has completed.
When the viewing is finished, we will ensure that all surfaces, door handles and light switches are sanitised before we leave, sufficient time will be left between viewings to allow this to be properly carried out.
You can find out more detail about the Propertymark recommendations here. We appreciate that some of the safety guidelines may prove inconvenient but hope that you will agree they are necessary to keep everyone, including you, the current occupiers and our team, as safe as possible.
While the property market remains buoyant and open for business, we take our responsibilities seriously. We are always on hand to provide information about the best solutions to ensure properties can be listed, bought, sold or rented in a safe manner.
In these unsettling and unpredictable times, the Tod Anstee team is determined to provide as normal a service as possible, and all our divisions remain fully operational. By adapting to the current climate, quickly implementing new safety protocols, and keeping in close communication with clients, our lettings team continues to manage our capacity in line with elevated levels of demand.
As soon as anything changes, we will provide prompt updates via our website and social media outlets, and through email contact.
The Tod Anstee team would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our clients, landlords and tenants for your support during these challenging times. If you have any queries, or concerns that we can assist with, please do get in touch.