Lockdown 3.0. Boris tells us this will definitely be the last one, but it seems likely to be carrying on for a while yet.
One thing we have learned in the past year, is that there is nothing like being confined to your own four walls to make you decide you want to live somewhere else. Maybe a bigger house with a garden, a large house with an annexe, somewhere you can create a home office, a house instead of a flat or just to get away from your parents. Whatever it may be, the demand for moving house is undoubtedly stronger than ever.
The Government has been determined to keep the housing market open for business ever since we came out of 'Lockdown 1' last May. Agents have been quick to adapt to new Covid safe ways of working and Zoopla recently reported that the number of mortgages given the green light soared to a 13-year high in 2020 despite the successive lockdowns. A total of 818,500 mortgages were approved for people buying a home last year, the highest level since 2007 and the pipeline of sales in progress is close to all time record levels.
The problem now for potential buyers is a lack of new stock. Sales enquiries remain high but new valuations for vendors and properties coming to the market are low. The latest survey from Rightmove for the first week in February 2021 versus the same week in 2020 sees website visits up 45%, with keen home-hunters sending 18% more enquiries. However, the number of new sellers are 21% down on prior year as owners of family homes delay coming to market, perhaps due to home-schooling distractions.
So whilst it may seem an odd thing to say - this really is a great time to be selling your property.
If you are worried about starting the process off in the middle of lockdown, we can help with our 3-point plan for moving in the pandemic:
- Virtual valuation: Firstly, we can give you up-to-date information on the buyer demand for properties like yours and tell you how many potential buyers we have already registered and wanting to view. We can also provide you with a good idea of the likely valuation of your home without visiting, based on what you tell us about the property and our knowledge of every street, road, close and cu-de-sac across the Island. We will back this up with hard facts and details of other properties which have been sold locally inclusing sales that haven't completed yet. This 'virtual valuation' is a good precursor to you making the decision to go ahead and us visiting your home to provide a final 'professional' and detailed appraisal.
- Keeping it safe: Secondly, we operate in strict accordance with Government Guidelines. Your property can be seen in great detail online by any interested buyers and we will talk them through it room-by-room in detail before any physical viewings take place. All of our staff wear masks, they take care in sanitising before and after appointments and practice social distancing. We carry out all viewings in a safe an controlled manner, only by pre-vetted appointment, with pre-qualified buyers and ideally with the seller vacating the property - and always with doors and windows open. We are committed to the safety of our staff and our clients.
- Communication: Thirdly, whilst we have had to adapt our working practices, our office is open for business and we continue to offer clients our full service from 8am - 8pm. We have always embraced technology, so our systems were cloud based and already set up for working from home and remotely. But above all, selling a clients home is not simply about finding a buyer. It's the whole move from start to finish with communication, communication, communication being the secret to success and customer satisfaction.
We know that it's a strange time to be moving house. The pandemic has shown just how important where you live is to health, happiness and well being. We are lucky to be living on the beautiful Isle of Wight in one of the most sought after locations in the UK.
The appetite to move house is stronger than ever right now - and we can help you achieve your ambitions.
Please give us a call in the strictest confidence and we can provide you with help and advice - without charge and without obligation.