A small portion of buyers are so fed up with the Level 5 Covid viewing restrictions that they are taking the matter into their own hands.
After more than 16 weeks of lockdown, during which they have been limited to viewing houses online, potential buyers still can’t cross the threshold to view the homes they are interested in.
In Dublin 6 one homeowner who had just put his home on the market was surprised to answer the door on a Saturday morning to strangers asking if they could take a look around.
While this vendor was amused by being doorstepped in this fashion, it’s a tricky situation for any seller to find themselves in – particularly if the house isn’t in the pristine showhouse condition that appeared in the promotional photography, and it removes the buffer an estate agent usually provides between a seller and the sales process.
A selling agent in the same postcode had two similar experiences recently. In each it really annoyed their vendors, she says. “One felt that if the person was prepared to do such a thing that they would be flaky to deal with, while the other wondered why the would-be buyer couldn’t have an honest conversation with the agent about their interest.”
The further easing of restrictions in early May can’t come quickly enough, it seems, as this will herald a return of in-house viewings. The restrictions haven’t completely deterred buyers, however. Marian Finnegan, managing director of Sherry FitzGerald Residential, says it has virtually sale agreed just under 1,400 homes at this stage. “Once properties are sale agreed, purchasers then have an opportunity to view the property so it is not a truly virtual purchase,” she says.
For many though it still doesn’t replace the benefit of actually walking through a house or apartment. “We have a lot of purchasers anxiously awaiting the reopening of the viewing process to allow easier access to their potential new homes.”