I've investigated and researched currently available information and advice regarding the Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) outbreak in a calm and considered way.
I see no reason why the process of you viewing your potential future home, or your successful home move, should be negatively impacted upon during this outbreak, providing our mutual adoption of easy, simple and minor, common-sense procedures we can all take.
So...no need to panic – you can still view homes safely with ABODA Fine Homes!
However, I am asking you to read the following information, and adhere to the following advice and procedures
My understanding of this latest Corona Virus (COVID-19) from information currently available via The World Health Organisation, UK Government, NHS, and initial studies on the virus (links available below), are as follows:
The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales.
These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person.
Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets.
This is why it is important to stay more than 1-2 metres (3-6 feet) away from a person who is sick, avoid/minimise hand contact with other people, your own body parts (mouth, nose, face, eyes, ears, hair etc.) and home surfaces, and regularly washing your hands and cleaning surfaces in your home (door handles, light switches, work surfaces, taps, toilet flush mechanisms etc.)
Symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually
Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment
Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, undergoing cancer treatment, weaker immune systems are more likely to develop serious illness
On-set of symptoms for 99% of confirmed cases present within a 1-16 day period (hence my request to you/sellers to confirm no symptoms in the last 16 days etc. as listed below)
The propensity of transfer of infection once symptoms present appears to reduce after 7 days (according to UK government and therefore likely suggestion of self-isolation timescale of 7 days)
Main symptoms in order of prevalence and severity of infection are fever (Temperature 37.8 degrees or more), tiredness/fatigue, new persistent dry cough (not a mucus/phlegm cough), body aches, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea
However, some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell
So, as not all people infected will display common symptoms, in order to minimise any inherent risk to you, I am taking the comprehensive and robust stance that any home, any seller, any buyer and myself, at any time, may have the virus.
Hence why I am introducing these common sense, comprehensive and robust procedures
The risks these procedures will minimise are:
the risk of buyers viewing a home infecting a home's surfaces
the risk of me infecting a home's surfaces/buyers viewing a home
the risk of a home's surfaces infecting buyers that view a home
the risk of buyers/a home's surfaces infecting me
the risk of all of us spreading the disease further to our family, friends, the general population, and to those at most risk of developing serious illness
Procedures I've asked my sellers to take to protect you during the viewing:
Keeping a log of any visitors to their home, the date of their visit, and their contact details so they can contact any visitors at any time to check if they have any symptoms in the last 16 days, or been in contact with anyone that has symptoms in the last 16 days, and also let me know if they develop any symptoms or any visitors develop symptoms prior to you viewing their home
If at any time they feel they have symptoms, immediately self isolate, and let me know as soon as they have time, and anyone else that they have come into close contact with in the last 16 days.
Anyone visiting their home should immediately wash hands upon arrival, and regularly during their visit, and again when leaving.
Ensure their visitors minimise hand to mouth/nose/face/ear/eye/hair/body contact and minimise hand to surface contact on door handles, light switches, taps, toilet flush mechanisms and surfaces, and ensure to clean those surfaces again after they leave, and ensure minimising hand to hand contact with them and maintain 1-2 metre distance from them as per WHO guidelines mentioned above
Provide hand washing and drying facilities for myself and buyers at the nearest place to initial access to their home (soap, paper towels, and a disposal bin/bag – best place is the nearest water source to the entrance hall)
If they hold keys that they're giving to me on the day of the viewing, place them in a tub of hot soapy water and leave them out side of the home for me to pick up rather than handing them directly to me
Vacate the home before I and buyers arrive and until after the viewing and I and buyers have left have left
After the viewing, upon re-entering their home, wash their hands, clean all door handles, light switches, taps, toilet flush mechanisms, and work surfaces again
Procedures I will request BUYERS make:
At the point of requesting a viewing, I will ask if you have had any symptoms in the last 16 days, or been in close contact with anyone in the last 16 days with symptoms, and again on the day before the viewing, and again on the day of the viewing
If all ok, viewing goes ahead, if not, viewing delayed until you confirm symptom-free for a minimum of 7 days
You bring your own protection
You wash you hands upon arrival, adopt a 'hands in your pockets' / 'no-touch' and 'social distance' viewing policy during the viewing – Keep 1-2 metres away, no hand shakes, no touching doors/light switches/surfaces etc.
Use protective gloves if you feel the need to 'touch' anything
Request no children during initial viewing where possible
Wash hands prior to leaving
Immediately inform me if you develop symptoms prior to the viewing, or up to 16 days after the viewing
Procedures I will take:
I will be asking for confirmation from the buyers and sellers that no symptoms experienced within the last 16 days, or been in close contact with anyone that has experienced symptoms within the last 16 days.
I will again ask for this confirmation the day before the viewing (as part of my normal 'are you still coming to view?' checks), and again on the day of the viewing (again as part of my 'are you running on time?' checks)
And as the prevalence of symptoms continues within the population as it is predicted to do, I will be checking sellers and buyers have had zero symptoms in the last 7 days before allowing viewings
I will ensure that I wash my hands upon arrival for a viewing, and again before leaving, ensure buyers do the same, and request buyers do not touch any door handles, light switches, taps, toilet flush mechanisms, and surfaces in a home, and monitor this as best as possible during the viewing
If I ever feel any symptoms related to COVID-19, I will inform you, and anyone I have been in contact with in the last 16 days
I will still be able to offer viewings to potential buyers for my clients homes If I do have to self-isolate via various means and methods
I will still ensure if you have an agreed sale moving towards exchange and completion that I remain available, and will also be enquiring of your solicitors, what procedures they have in place to ensure a smooth and successful exchange and completion of your home sale and move
Please do let me know that you have read all the above
Please also do not panic – the above is, I appreciate, a long and lengthy tome of an post, but merely encompasses a very thorough, yet simple and easy to incorporate list of measures to ensure your own safety during a viewing and your successful home move, and, well, me, your diligent estate agent too!
So, please let me know that you have read this, take heed, stay safe – and I'll keep looking after your home search and sale for you!
Alex Doggett - Owner
ABODA Fine Homes