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Coronavirus: Estate agents cancel open viewings of houses this weekend

Sherry FitzGerald and DNG switch 250 homes to viewing by appointment only

Coronavirus measures: Sherry FitzGerald and DNG say Saturday’s viewings will now be by appointment only. Photograph: Moodboard/Brand X/Getty

Two of Ireland’s biggest estate agents have cancelled open viewings this weekend at hundreds of houses for sale in Dublin.

Sherry FitzGerald and DNG have said that, given the Government’s announcement yesterday on coronavirus measures, about 250 properties that had been advertised for open viewing on Saturday will now be available to view by appointment only within the advertised open-viewing hours.

After this weekend all property viewings will be by appointment only. Staff will follow hygiene protocols, and hand sanitisers will be available at each house.

Non-front-line staff will work from home, but branches will remain open, and it is envisaged that all offices within the franchise networks outside Dublin will follow suit.

Marian Finnegan, head of residential at Sherry FitzGerald, told The Irish Times: “While there may have been a sense of surprise at what the Government announced today, there should also be a sense of welcome. We are much better off to get ahead of the problem rather than follow it. That’s what the country’s strategy is now, and it’s a good one.”

DNG managing director Keith Lowe told The Irish Times: “In recent days we have been handling open views with staggered amounts of people being let into houses at any one time. This will now step up, with parties viewing within specific time slots. Twenty per cent of our houses can currently be viewed online with full 3D videos, and we are upping these number as quickly as we can for any parties who want to access videos of our homes prior to viewing them.”

Savills, a leading seller of new homes, said that it will go ahead with open views on its schemes this weekend, and that sanitation measures are in place, but that it is likely to change to viewing by appointment from next week.

Hooke and MacDonald said its new homes viewings will be by appointment only this weekend, with specific times allocated to developments in order to avoid crowds at any one time.