‘Back in Business’, ‘Business as Usual’, ‘When we come out of this’ – all terms I’m sure you’ve heard a lot recently. I think it is now very clear to say that any form of ‘normality’ will be a different experience from what we have been used to. Every day includes new learnings and new ways to do things. Working from home has meant I have seen more of the kids and wider family, watched more TV, and worked longer hours (how has that happened?!). And we are seeing a lot of positivity in the market and a lot of people talking up the exit from this awful disease, rather than burying their head in the sand and hoping it will all go away.
The really positive news over the last week is the return of ‘physical valuations’. Many lenders had taken to using ‘automated’ and computer-generated valuations recently. Which has been great but meant that the more complex property types (HMOs, Multi-Units, Properties with Annexes), could not proceed as they needed someone to visit the property and report back to the lender. With the lockdown restrictions eased, this has meant that some lenders who were ‘mothballed’ can now begin to lend again.
Customers can now view properties in person
Customers can now view properties in person, speak to estate agents and, hopefully, now move home. It is estimated that circa 40,000 property transactions were put on hold due to valuers not being able to visit properties and some 300,000 transactions stalled due to people being unable to move whilst following the government instructions. The new allowances have very strict social distancing guidelines for all companies involved however, and these need to be followed.
These are all very small steps on the road to some sort of recovery and the signs are that this will be a long road. For now, the new norm is online conferencing, visiting friends and family from a distance, maybe a weekly online quiz and binge-watching the odd programme here and there.
Everything we do is under review and from a work point of view, do we really need to return to an office when we can discuss mortgages and related finance all day (and evening) via laptops and video conferencing? Only time will tell. Processes have had to adapt and change so quickly.
What we cannot afford is for a second spike which would put yet more lives at risk. Health first and any slippage would be very damaging for the financial/property sector. Stay safe…