Are agents and customers putting themselves at risk?

Over the weekend EYE had calls and emails from agents in various parts of the country, concerned at the behaviours of their colleagues/rivals in relation to continuing to offer viewings on properties for sale or rental.

In one instance a well-known figure in the industry put up a property on social media saying:

“Viewing today on this beauty! Cash buyer, vacant new build. I’ll be opening up and then closing when they’re gone. Fingers crossed.”

In another example we have heard of an agent who unlocks the property, standing back while a viewing takes place, then locking up before conducting discussions over the phone.

Given that apparently Covid-19 virus can survive for up to 72 hours on hard surfaces we just hope that applicants kept their hands off doorknobs, work surfaces, taps etc. and that there were no multiple viewings on the same day.

An agent from south-east England phoned to rail against applicants asking to view properties. “Are these people stupid? It is ridiculous to be asking to see property during the lockdown. Where can we report such actions?”

Whilst the viewing of empty property is of course very different from attempting to view an occupied home (just don’t do it!) we do hope that agents take all precautions to physically distance from applicants and it would seem to make sense to avoid having more than one viewing of a property within a 72 hour period. In fact since viewing any property is unlikely to be deemed ‘essential’ it might prove problematic to explain to a police officer just why you are on your way to a viewing, vacant or not.

James White, the MD of the ‘belong’ estate agency in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, has made this video to help persuade agents to stay at home.

There are certainly some out there who should be watching this…

 

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19 Comments

  1. Yorkshire Agent

    So pleased to see this video on here, come on all fellow agents take notice and protect lives.  Virtual live viewings carried out by the occupant are clearly the safest and smartest way to go forward.  Note to home sellers, don’t let anyone physically into your home for any form of marketing purposes, until lockdown is lifted.  Don’t encourage the spread of this killer virus.  Do your bit to try to keep us all safe.

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  2. Ric

    Nice video…

     

    Lets not be too nice to the minority though… if this hurts you a bit, because you’ve done it, tough ****… YOU are a MORON for having done an appointment. Empty home or not! Shame the viewer who asks! I have, as uncomfortable as it is… call them out on why they want to try and kill you, your family, your vendor and their family… ask em.

     

    Makes me so angry… argh.

     

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  3. Essjaydee51

    How about closing completely, no 360 videos no nothing for Heavens sake. I’m looking to move, cash purchase but there is no way I can view for me and my families sake and that of the owners and their families sake not to mention the agent who might possibly be there two meters apart or not. Stop completely, isn’t 5000 deaths enough to bring home the message!

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    1. Yorkshire Agent

      All directors, partners and sole traders in estate agency must be concerned how we cut our costs at this particular moment in time.  One of the major costs and on going costs are our continued funding of the portals with virtually little to no income.  Unless the portals can cut their charges to the level we have had to cut our income cut, hindsight will tell us that this may have been the fatal mistake for our own businesses.  Good luck to us all, we will need it.

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    2. MarkRowe

      Well said!

       

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  4. nextchapter

    Jeez! What is it with everyone? These viewings are being conducted at the agreed social distancing! Or aren’t they? Am I missing something?

    Also, has anyone been out to do a food shop recently?  There are social distancing queues outside the stores, but once you’re in the store, it’s a different story! I see MORE CHANCE in catching something at the supermarket than either a 0 contact viewing, or a viewing where there are few people involved and no contact between viewer and Estate Agent AT ALL!

    I understand how serious this is, but I’m seeing so much hate being banded around and so many hypocrites.  If you’re so fearful, then don’t leave the house! Don’t leave the house to even carry out a food shop.  Don’t touch your post that comes through the door. Don’t order a takeaway, Don’t do a single thing for 6-12months!  And if you have any luck, you won’t have a job, or a businesses, and then you can just continue living in fear for the rest of your life.

    Again. I understand how serious this is! I really do! WE ALL DO! But there is an element of responsibility and common sense being used here!

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    1. J1

      Gosh

      Let’s just hope that the reaper doesn’t visit someone you love after you have visited them having put yourself in harms way…….

      Estate Agency is non-essential – none………..

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    2. Property Pundit

      ‘I understand how serious this is, but

       

      No buts. Period.

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    3. andrew1503

      Replying to nextchapter:

       

      look some of what you say is accurate. There are definitely mixed messages out there. Supermarkets are struggling re social distancing. But what about building sites. Round me they are mainly still operating. Essential – absolutely not. Theses are private extensions on luxury houses. However they have stopped work on the local school. I let a surveyor into an empty property. I carried gel and returned to lock up. The couple trying to buy this are expecting a baby and want to push on.

      I suppose there are things that we have to do and things that we don’t.  It is all about cutting down as much as possible.

      I also let a couple into a vacant rental. They had been living with parents but have been advised to move out in part because he is a police officer and deemed to be at high risk of catching virus. I hope I helped them.

      I think you do need to apply some common sense. I have three offices all now closed. All staff on furlough. I’ve been around for over thirty years. Lord knows how I’m going to survive this. Three weeks is one thing but three months and I’ll have a start up.

      Business has dried up. A few enquires but I can’t do anything. Still paying for property portals although Rightmove are giving a 75% discount. I will be asking for 100% soon.

      Everyone have a good day!!

       

      Andrew W

       

       

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      1. fluter

        We’ve moved a couple of Dr’s into empty properties since lock-down plus a retired couple into another empty property who had returned from the USA after 35 years and were staying at a hotel whilst the tenancy was being sorted out but the hotel was closing and so they were effectively homeless. Apart from that, nothing, no viewings, valuations, inspections of any kind until lockdown restrictions are lifted. Stay safe everyone but please do the right thing by your clients, staff, families and above all else, our overstretched emergency services.

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    4. Ric

      So nextchapter…. basically you are saying, if I wanted to view one of your empty houses you would take the risk?

      What would you do if you broke down on the way to the viewing? or god forbid even worse crashed and had a need for a Ambulance and as a result a much needed A&E bed?

      This is simple and there should be no reasoning or defending a “sneaky viewing” it is not about how safe you can conduct a viewing, it is all the other risks you CANNOT see and guess at.

      As for comparing with “don’t go shopping then” really? You actually thought that made sense whilst typing that?

      People are getting Angry by the way nextchapter, because not staying at home is going to prolong this AND kill more people in the long run FACT!!!!!!!

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      1. nextchapter

        The scenarios you give regarding breaking down, or a car crash are THE ABSOLUTE WORST case scenarios, which to be honest, makes sense.  You guys are thriving off the news negativity.  Why is ‘don’t go shopping’ a ridiculous comment? If you’re honestly that worried about breaking down, or having a car crash, or being in contact with anyone, then jeez, just don’t go out at all.   I’m indoors with my family, I’m home, I am remaining home.  We’ve done a food shop that will last us 3 weeks.  We do enough of a food shop to last us every 3 weeks, so we don’t have to go out ALL of the time.  In fact, I’d say most people doing a weekly or fornightly food shop are risking more than we are, because of our huge food shop! However, If I have a client, whose home needs to be let, or needs to be sold! And a potential buyer or tenant that wants to view an empty property, I will be conducting that appointment, on my own via Whatsapp.  I probably go out less than most people at the moment, because of how smart we’re working, so I’m guessing it really evens itself out.  I will say if the news reported the Flu, or norovirus, or car crashes in this same way, would you act in a similar way to what you are now.  You should definitely look up the stats on that stuff.    You guys are all acting like I’m OUT ALL THE TIME, acting like I’m partying.  I’m mainly at home with the family, working from home! We’re conducting the odd Whatsapp video video with no contact! To keep ours, and our clients finances in order.    

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        1. Ric

          This isn’t about what tech people are using! This is solely about “is it that essential you go out to do a WhatsApp viewing” which will not lead to a sale anyway, until they have viewed physically. If you work smart, I assume you are not one of the ones who thinks buyers will start buying from videos.

          Jesus, I have tones of built up requests to view houses, 3 more taken today, because we take enough quality photos to entice and capture interest.

          Everyone one of them more than happy to wait for the lockdown to be lifted and not a single person has craved to see a video… or a WA tour, because… I ain’t offering it and they don’t really care.

          If you offer it they will say why not! but if you don’t same outcome at the end of all this… they will wait to view when it is safe.

          Not focusing on negativity, anything but… just not feeling the need to show someone a video of a property which will lead to a viewing! knowing (and think about it) if you didn’t offer it, if they were serious they will still view it when they can.

          Stay home, stay safe with your family… food, doctors, chemists, exercise yep… video tour on WA? nah still a no for me.

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  5. SISDAD

    It’s all about minimising risk; we are deemed to be a ‘non essential’ business, so best to stay at home and only carry out ‘essential’ journeys (which doesn’t mean showing houses, vacant or otherwise)

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  6. Ed Mead

    I’m afraid you’ll get all sorts espousing their views here just as you do anywhere. The responsible thing clearly is to just stop. It won’t be for long and at some point shortly we will all need to plan how we come out of this. Clearly my business relies on viewings and it’s killing us [like it is for all of you], but this will change when immediate ‘stay at home’ measures are eased. At that stage we can venture out again……for the moment though it’s personal health first, business health second.

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  7. Property Poke In The Eye

    JUST STOP!!!   stop this **** about virtual viewing etc etc – it doesn’t work – stay the F*** home and stop being C***** NO MORE VIEWINGS UNTIL WE HAVE INSTRUCTIONS!!  As an industry we need to take a uniformed approach.

     

    We need to save the NHS and frontline otherwise this country will be crippled for years to come.  If you need financial help, then there is enough government financial help just look on the government website.

    If any of these so called properties mentors/property coaches and or agents try and say this is ok, we should name and shame them.

     

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    1. nextchapter

      Wow!  This goes much deeper for you Property Poke In The Eye.   It’s not just this you’re angry about is it?  You’re angry about life in general.  Your reply was completely unnecessary by the way.  That’s not how conversations are had, and by the way, that’s what this platform is! It’s just conversation, and discussions about our opinions.  It doesn’t have to get so angry. Anyway.  If you think the Coronavirus itself is what’s going to Cripple this country for years to come, you’re naive.  We are entering a Global recession either way! Worse than 2008!  Only the strongest will survive.  So stop getting so angry and start working out ways to re-invent and innovate, otherwise you’ll be left behind after all of this is over. Good luck. Just for the record, I do actually care about every single life and what’s happening is a tragedy.  We are doing everything we can to help those that are vulnerable.  We are though also using common sense and still trying to run a business. Again, Good luck Property Poke In The Eye, you’re going to need it.  

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    2. NJ

      If seeing thousands of people losing their life every single day isn’t enough to change this guys views then our comments have no hope.

      There was always going to be a percentage of people happy to just push the boundaries that little bit. We would go crazy trying to convince them otherwise. Just do your bit and hope the good outweigh the bad.

       

       

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  8. gardenflat

    My family comes first. Simple.

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