02 Nov 2020

Miles & Barr Operating Update - 2nd November 2020

We've updated our operating policy based on the government's recent announcement of an England-wide lockdown until December 2nd.

The announcement from the Government that England will go into a national “lockdown” from Thursday 5th November is obviously hugely disappointing but clearly some radical action needs to be taken to stem the rise in Covid cases and try and bring the spread of the virus under control.

The Government’s announcement of greater restrictions will, sadly, mean that many businesses will have to close for a month but the property market has been specifically allowed to continue under the already strict guidelines and protocols previously introduced. This includes removal firms, surveyors and tradespeople as well as allowing appointments for property viewings and valuations.

The residential property market across Kent has been very active and recent volumes of sales transactions have led to pipeline volumes at very high levels. Despite lockdown, those sales will be able to proceed as planned. Likewise all lettings activity continues apace.

As we have reported before, important elements in the home buying process such as mortgage lending and conveyancing have failed to fully keep up with the additional transactional volumes and the average length of time for a sale to complete has become extended with the average transaction taking 26 weeks from going on the market to completion. 6 weeks to find a buyer and 20 weeks to take the transaction through from agreeing the sale to completion. This is a national statistic and our own figures are more encouraging but the trend is similar.

Serious sellers and buyers are advised to get prepared early. For sellers this means instructing a conveyancer when the property goes on the market and getting all of the “paperwork” and information required together. For buyers it means ensuring that any related property transaction is secure and that any finance requirements have been agreed. These actions can often save a month or more on the length of a transaction, so it clearly makes sense.

Our approach to conducting business under covid19 has always placed the safety of our customers, clients and staff at the heart of what we do. We would ask that you book a timed appointment if planning to visit our office and wear a mask when doing so. Our offices are open (in line with up to date guidelines) but the front door is locked, so, if visiting, please knock and a member of our team (wearing a mask) will come and greet you. We also have hand sanitiser provision which we would ask that you kindly use.

Appointments at properties are still being organised but strict protocols are in place. In the majority of circumstances we will seek to organise a “virtual” appointment first. We will explain our protocols at the time of booking a viewing or valuation and will require you to follow these for the benefit of everyone.

Whilst our offices are open, some of our team are also working remotely. Our risk assessments, contingency plans and protocols are well thought through, our staff are trained and our IT and communications systems are designed to be flexible to meet the changing environment.

We live in challenging times but we are also certain that, together, we can steer the ship safely through these choppy waters.

As always, we are here to help and provide advice.

We are confident that our experience and professionalism will help you make the move you seek.

Visiting our offices.

We would ask that you book a timed appointment if planning to visit our office and wear a mask when doing so. Our offices are open but the front door is locked, so if visiting, please knock and a member of our team (wearing a mask) will come and kindly greet you. We also have hand sanitiser provision which we would ask that you kindly use.

To book an appointment please contact staff from your local branch here!

I would like to view a property for sale or for rent, how will this work?

Many of our properties are now available with online/video viewings, however, if you have narrowed down your search to a couple of properties that you would really like to view in person and you are in a strong position to proceed then we may be able to arrange a viewing within the following guidelines:

If it is your property that is being viewed:

  • We will need to check that no-one in your household is unwell or displaying symptoms of Coronavirus.
  • We will ask you, where possible, to clean and sanitise surfaces such as bannisters, door handles and light switches prior to the appointment.
  • Please open the internal doors throughout the property to reduce the need for any surface contact during the visit and open windows to ventilate the property prior to the visit.
  • If possible, we will ask you to arrange to be away from the property during the visit – this could be out for your daily walk or even just into the garden or driveway.

If you are viewing a property: 

  • We will need to check that no-one in your household is unwell or displaying symptoms of Coronavirus.
  • We will use the appropriate PPE such as a face coverings, gloves and overshoes during the viewing.
  • We ask that no more than 2 people attend who are from the same household.
  • We will always seek to maintain a minimum 2m distance.
  • If we are accompanying you to the viewing, we will meet you outside the property.
  • You will be asked to sanitise your hands as soon as you have entered the property and again when you leave.
  • We aim to complete the viewing in no more than 15 minutes.

I would like my property valued; how can this be done safely during Covid-19?

We have got very used to “video valuations” during the lockdown. Feedback has been fantastic, and we have refined the whole process so that it is seamless, stress-free and importantly “contactless”, so despite the recent announcement, we will continue to offer this option. If you would like to book one please click here .

Alternatively, if you would prefer us to visit your property then we can offer a two-stage valuation. This means at Stage 1 we will visit your property for a short “walk-through” and this will then be followed by Stage 2, a telephone or video call to discuss the details, marketing options and next steps.

We will follow the Government guidelines when conducting the valuation:

  • Firstly, please make us aware if anyone in your household becomes unwell or shows symptoms of Coronavirus prior to the appointment.
  • Where possible, please clean and sanitise surfaces such as bannisters, door handles and light switches prior to the appointment.
  • Please open the internal doors throughout the property to reduce the need for any surface contact during the visit.
  • Please open windows to ventilate the property prior to the visit.
  • On arrival we will sanitise our hands, apply a face covering and overshoes.
  • We will walk through the property maintaining a minimum 2m distance and will make every effort not to touch any surfaces.
  • We aim to complete the walk through in under 30 minutes.

Can I still speak to a Mortgage Advisor or get financial advice?

In a word – “Yes!” Miles & Barr Financial Services is absolutely open for business, in fact we didn’t stop! We have, like the rest of our business, managed to adapt and we continue to welcome all enquires. These meetings are being conducted by video or telephone call, meaning we can maintain a social distance and adhere to all guidelines.

You can contact your local branch here  to arrange a meeting or you are welcome to call us on our freephone number 0800 870 88 22

I am a Tenant and need to speak to your Property Management Team.

I am a Landlord, who can I speak to regarding my property or to discuss renting a new property?

  • If you are a Landlord, then you can speak to our Property Management team who will be able to discuss either current properties you let through us or if you have queries regarding a new let then they are ready and waiting to take your call.

  • If you would like us to value your property, then please familiarise yourself with the guidance above which explains how we will be conducting valuations above at this current time. 

  • You can find more information here