Fri, 22 May 2020
WEST Berkshire’s estate agents have reopened their doors following changes to national guidance.
Most have been closed since mid-March, with viewings and valuations taking place virtually and staff working from home.
But they are now open for business – albeit with strict guidelines in place to ensure staff and customers are kept safe.
Newbury-based estate agent Jones Robinson has completely rearranged its offices to make sure employees are two metres apart and has also ordered plastic screens to separate desks.
The company is still encouraging those who can to work from home and is only allowing two visitors in at any one time.
Viewings and valuations have restarted this week, but there are strict rules to follow.
These include everyone wearing gloves and face masks and the viewings lasting no longer than 15 minutes.
Director Charles Robinson said: “The last seven or eight weeks have certainly been interesting and challenging – but an awful lot of good has come out of it too.
“The power of virtual tours has been very strong and enabled us to do a lot of deals.
“People have done a fantastic job working from home, with staff adapting and acclimatising to a new way of working.
“We aren’t open at full capacity because of the social distancing guidelines – but we are here and the doors are open.
“We’ve got over 50 properties waiting to go on the market, so in the short-term particularly I think it’s going to be very busy.
“We’re hopeful that the pent-up demand will continue and the momentum of the market will take off. I think for a lot of people they will be looking at the four walls thinking ‘it’s time for me to move’.
Newbury-based chartered surveyor and estate agent Downer & Co is also back open, with two of its 25 members of staff in the office all the time and the rest working from home.
Founder Simon Downer said the company had found “new ways of making it work”.
He said: “At end of March we were doing very well, then got hit. For the last six weeks we’ve been on hold, but have a lot of business built up with around 100 sales ready to go
“For a month or so it is going to be very busy.”