We can safely say we’re now experiencing stranger times; this is very much unchartered territory for the property market and the economy as a whole. With the government forced into taking the extraordinary measures to put the sales market on pause, this has left many potential buyers in limbo or scrabbling to secure alternative accommodation for either short or longer term alternatives. The good news is that it seems this unforeseen demand has helped keep some life flowing through the lettings market, putting the brakes on the slowdown in the sector and lessening the harshness many had anxiously anticipated.
At Landstones, we’ve spent the last two weeks in conversation and consultation with our landlords assessing how we can reduce the impact of Covid-19 on their properties and portfolios. Many people have questions and concerns which we’re trying to answer and give support wherever we can. Whilst no one can know the true extent of the impact until after this virus has passed, we’re confident that with diligent hard work we’ll be able to minimise its effect.
With the help of the modern technology we all seem to take for granted these days, it can almost be ‘business as usual’ under the government’s lockdown measures. With agents unable to conduct viewings as easily as before, and many tenants and landlords self-isolating inside their properties, we’ve had to be creative and look for alternative measures to help. Some very useful technology we’ve found has been the Zoom app for conference calls. It allows entire families to chat altogether at one time, enabling decision making a quick and easy process. On Facetime we can send virtual property videos for use in viewings or valuations and WhatsApp allows the simple transfer of large file photos and floor plans. Document signature applications like DocuSign are available to send and receive virtual signature contracts. All these incredible forms of technology mean that whilst we may find ourselves in a new way of working, for those willing to adapt and make the most of an onerous situation there is business to be done.
We should take some comfort in the thought that property demand has not gone away long term from both tenants and landlords. Although the market finds itself in a temporary pause, once lockdown measures have been lifted, we may well see all unsatisfied demand explode back into life. We may even see one of the busiest lettings months on record. We’re predicting three months’ equivalent of lettings deals tied up in a single hot summer’s month.