What does the new lockdown mean for the property market in St Albans and Harpenden?

The Secret Estate Agent is working hard to follow the latest government guidelines. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Secret Estate Agent is working hard to follow the latest government guidelines. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Let Hertfordshire’s Secret Estate Agent answer your property questions and give an insight into the world of estate agency.

What does the new lockdown mean for estate agents? Is the property market about to be frozen again?

The announcement of the imminent second lockdown left us agents scurrying for further clarity from housing minister Robert Jenrick, who revealed characteristically on Twitter that “the housing market will remain open throughout this period. Everyone should continue to play their part in reducing the spread of the virus by following the current guidance.”

I don’t think we will be going back to the deep freeze as we are still able to conduct viewings and valuations as long as we continue to follow strict health guidelines. There are a number of parameters from the government, below:

1) Initial viewings should be done virtually wherever possible and all physical viewings where prospective buyers or renters will be entering the property should involve no more than two households inside the property at any one time. This includes any agent accompanying either party. Anyone in a support bubble with either household, however, will count as part of that household.

2) Members of the public who are visiting an agent’s office or viewing a property should wear a suitable face covering as described in government guidance unless they are exempt from this requirement. This should be confirmed with the agent before arrival. Anyone with concerns should contact the agent in advance of their visit to discuss appropriate measures. The agent may require you to arrange an appointment before visiting the premises.

3) Where prospective buyers who are currently from separate households wish to view the property on the same occasion, we advise that one household leaves the property to allow the other to enter. This allows for both households to view the property and ensures social distancing.

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4) Viewings should be arranged by appointment only and ‘open house’ viewings should not take place. When viewing properties in person, you should avoid touching surfaces wherever possible, wash your hands regularly and/or use hand sanitiser. If you need to be accompanied by small children, you should try to keep them from touching surfaces and ensure they wash their hands regularly.

5) If people are being shown around your home, you should open all internal doors and ensure surfaces, such as door handles, are cleaned after each viewing with standard household cleaning products. We recommend that you vacate your property while viewings are taking place in order to minimise unnecessary contact.

What do you think of Rishi Sunak?

He has certainly got a lot more charisma than previous ‘grey’ chancellors and Sajid Javid, remember him, must be a relieved man. I imagine a future PM but with an unenviable task.

Do you have a question for the Secret Estate Agent? Email jane.howdle@archant.co.uk or get in touch via our Facebook or Twitter pages.