How Will the New Five-Tier Lockdown Affect Property Viewings?
The process of finding, buying and moving into a new home is different from before COVID-19. Both buyers and sellers have to adapt to safety practices and procedures to make sure that the risk of spreading COVID-19 is reduced as much as possible.
Under the newly introduced five-tier Scottish Government restrictions, the Scottish public are bracing for changes to everyday life. With an increase in online virtual property tours, how will the new restrictions impact property viewings?
Continue reading to discover how the new five-tier lockdown restrictions set out by the Scottish Government will affect property viewings.
How Has the COVID-19 Pandemic Affected the Scottish Property Market?
The start of 2020 saw a rise in annual growth in the housing market before the COVID-19 restrictions were put in place at the end of March 2020.
On average, UK house prices increased by 2.5% throughout the year to August 2020. The average house price in Scotland increased by 0.6% over the year to August 2020, up from 0.2% over the year to July 2020. As of August 2020, the average house price in Scotland is £155,000.
Since July 2020 the Scottish property market has seen a significant spike in the number of homes coming to market, up 48.2% year on year, but there’s also been a 32.3% drop in sales volume.
October 2020 sees the end of both the furlough scheme and applications for the First Home Fund (but this will reopen again next year). In Scotland, the government has introduced a five-tier system with restrictions to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
What Does the New Five-Tier Lockdown Mean?
Each area of Scotland will move into one of five levels:
Level Zero – Life almost as normal.
Level One – Six people from two households can meet indoors or at a pub or restaurant.
Level Two – No gatherings inside people’s homes, but up to six people from two households can meet outdoors or at a pub or restaurant.
Level Three – No indoor gatherings at home, and pubs & restaurants can open until 18:00. Non-essential travel in or out of the local area is advised against.
Level Four – Full lockdown.
How Will the New Five-Tier Lockdown Affect Property Viewings?
While this remains an uncertain time for everyone, the effects of the new government restrictions on the Scottish property market won’t be as disruptive as they were back in the spring.
In Scotland, physical viewings of properties are permitted. The official advice is that viewings should be completed virtually if possible. To minimise unnecessary physical viewings, it’s recommended that prospective buyers take a virtual online tour of the property before visiting in-person.
Even in light of the new COVID-19 Government restrictions, Home Reports remain an essential part of selling a property in Scotland. The good news is that a Home Report can be completed safely and in line with COVID-19 procedures. Find out more about Home Reports in the short video below.
How Should Buyers and Sellers Prepare for Viewing Property?
Both buyers and sellers are encouraged to remain aware that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be an evolving situation, therefore it’s important to adhere to the latest guidance and keep up to date with the latest public health advice.
Under the new five-tier system you are allowed to leave your home in order to move properties as well as undertake activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property. This includes:
visiting estate or letting agents
viewing a residential property
preparing a residential property to move in
visiting a residential property to undertake any activities needed for sale or rental purposes
Tips When Viewing Properties In-Person
In order to help prevent the spread of the virus you should aim to keep a physical distance (of at least 2 metres) from other people, wash your hands regularly and after touching surfaces, avoid touching your face, and make sure that any surfaces you or your family members touch are cleaned and disinfected properly.
If you have suspected symptoms or have received a positive COVID-19 test result you should not leave your home to view a property in-person.
Can You Move House During the Five-Tier Lockdown?
All home moves are permitted, provided they can be done so safely. Following new Scottish Government measures to drive down the infection rate, this continues to be the case beyond September 2020.
In Scotland, people can move home at any of the five COVID-19 restriction levels, as well as between different areas that may have different restriction levels.
Commissioned by the seller, a Home Report gives prospective buyers key information about the condition and value of the property before any agreement is made. The Home Report is a source for prospective buyers to view the information about a property whenever they require it.
Accompanied with virtual online property viewings, the Home Report is a valuable resource. Home Reports allow buyers to make an informed decision before putting in an offer, giving peace of mind when viewing properties is more limited.
Discover Home Reports with Home Report Company
COVID-19 has brought many uncertainties to the property market in Scotland. To best-position yourself as a seller, get a Home Report early to fill potential buyers with confidence. Read our recent guide to learn more about Home Reports and the documents included.
If you have any questions about buying or selling property, or would like to ask us about virtual property tours, give us a call 0131 608 0175 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andrew MacKenzie is a qualified Chartered Surveyor with over 20 years’ experience within the Scottish Property market. He specialises in all types of residential valuations including Home Reports, Private Valuation reports and Development Appraisals.
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