Tue 10 Nov 2020
Jeremy Leaf, Principal
Jeremy Leaf & Co are very much open for business and busier now on sales and lettings than we were at this time last year.
I put this outstanding performance down to our best ever team – most of whom have been with us for over 10 years and several over 20!
The government confirmed estate and letting agents will be regarded as an essential service. Therefore we will continue to help buyers and sellers, landlords and tenants comply with legally-binding deadlines or requirements such as gas and electricity safety certificates, urgent repairs, which cannot be carried out as effectively if working from home.
Last week, not only did the Bank of England report mortgage approvals reached their highest since September 2007, but Halifax found annual house price growth was at its strongest for four years in October. Rightmove said the number of sales agreed was up 58% on the same month last year with demand typically from families seeking h more space in the London suburbs with Finchley and Barnet proving to be the most popular. We’ve seen little sign of significant change despite predictions to the contrary. Enquiries have reduced over the past three or four weeks but are still comfortably above average for this time of year. Prices and rents are holding up and few offers or listings have been withdrawn.
The rush to buy has meant sales can take up to six months’ from offer to completion as lenders, valuers and conveyancers struggle to cope with demand. Sellers are therefore recommended to put their properties on the market by mid-November if possible to give themselves the best chance of taking advantage of the stamp duty concession.
To achieve a successful sale accurate pricing is essential. Rightmove stated sellers were twice as likely to find buyers i.e. 26 days faster, if the original asking price was unchanged. Our expert managers have over 20 years’ local experience and carry out reliable market appraisals face-to-face, via zoom or facetime.
However strong demand is to move, we will ensure our safety measures continue to exceed government guidelines. We have closed our offices other than for customers with appointments, wear face coverings, work from behind screens as well as maintain social distancing and a rotational work-from-home policy. Hand sanitizer is available as well as bike storage to minimize travel by public transport.
Physical property visits are not made if anyone is self-isolating or reporting even minor symptoms, which are checked by our body temperature detectors. Virtual viewings will be available if preferred.
Visitors are asked to wait outside properties until invited to enter, then respect social distancing rules, wear gloves and face coverings as well as wash hands frequently or use sanitizer. No more than two households including ourselves may be present. Owners or occupiers should vacate as well as ensure surfaces are cleaned before and after viewings.
We are continuing to build on the many excellent relationships we made with the elderly and vulnerable in the local community during the previous lockdown.
I have been very proud of the way my colleagues dealt with the many issues raised when the pandemic first struck particularly between landlords and tenants in often heart-wrenching circumstances. Sadly we may see more of the same in the near future.
Jeremy Leaf & Co will be ready for the ‘next normal’ so very much look forward to being of service.