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The Housing Market Has Re-Opened – But Are Virtual Valuations Here To Stay

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Category: News
09 July 2020

Following the Scottish Government’s announcement that the housing market would re-open on 29 June, we were inundated with requests from clients to arrange valuations of their properties and from buyers wanting to view. We had expected this to happen due to the pent-up demand from buyers and sellers to get moving on the property ladder.

However, this doesn’t tell the whole story. When the lockdown was ordered on 23 March, the property market came to an abrupt halt. Whilst we could continue with the conveyancing aspects of ongoing transactions, the instructions from the Scottish Government were to postpone the entry dates of all transactions, where possible, and only settle the most urgent of cases. The Registers of Scotland closed the Applications Register and that meant ownership of titles to property couldn’t be registered. This has proved to be a very challenging period for clients caught up mid transaction but we are managing to move things along now that the lock-down is easing.

As a result of the lockdown there were many innovative solutions developed across a number of areas of the law, not least of which was the arrival of the virtual viewing. Now, property videos are not new – they’ve been around now for many years. However, who would have believed that during the lockdown virtual viewing of properties would come to the fore and allow would-be buyers view properties from the comfort of their own homes.

Whilst there is no substitute for visiting a property and getting a “feel” for it and the local area, when visiting isn’t possible either because of distance or, in recent times, a health pandemic, a virtual viewing will certainly give you a clear understanding  of the property layout, room size and perspective and locality than a brochure or photographs might.

We have heard from people who wish to physically view properties whose initial interest was tweaked through a virtual viewing. Some of them even said they wouldn’t have considered the property had it not been through viewing the video.

We believe that virtual viewings will also help to improve the “reach” of the property because those who live outwith your area will easily be able to “view” and come to a decision to take their interest forward. This can be a real boon for those from England and farther afield who are looking to relocate to Scotland and finding the right type of property in the right area can be a huge challenge. A virtual valuation in such circumstances brings a considerable advantage to the seller.

 So, whilst the housing market has now officially re-opened after lockdown, as we look back we realise it never really closed down and virtual valuations are certainly something we believe are not only here to stay but will also become a positive addition to our estate agency practice.

 If you are thinking of buying or selling and are looking for solid professional advice, please contact us without delay.

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