The Latest Scottish Government Guidance on Property Viewings
10 September 2021
Moving house and related activities, such as property viewings, are permitted under current ‘beyond Level 0’ COVID-19 restrictions. However, the buying and selling processes are different compared to pre-pandemic. This includes doing more of the process online, with a strong emphasis on online house viewings initially where possible. The Government also strongly advise buyers and sellers to continue to follow guidelines such as physical distancing, regular hand washing and respiratory hygiene and the ventilation of indoor spaces.
The Scottish Government has also recommended that you wear a face covering when in contact with others from outside your household involved in the activities related to buying or selling your property.
If you or anyone in your household start to display symptoms of COVID-19, do not invite any businesses or others to view your property. You will need to self-isolate and test for the correct amount of time.
Advice for Property Buyers
View a property virtually to begin with
The Scottish Government advice remains the same in terms of viewing any properties online first and only moving forward to an in person viewing if you are seriously considering placing an offer or renting the property.
If virtual viewings are unavailable for certain properties, we advise you make use of photographs, schedule and Home Report to decide on whether you would like to proceed with a physical viewing.
Arranging a property viewing
The Scottish Government has advised that open viewings are not carried out, therefore, all viewings should be done by appointment.
The agent will be required to check that neither you, or anyone you live with has COVID-19 symptoms. If you or anyone in your home does show symptoms of the virus, you will not be able to view the property until you have tested negative and correctly isolated for the set amount of time.
Who should attend the viewing?
Government advice states you should restrict the number of people you bring with you to the viewing so that correct physical distancing can be completed.
Only those in your immediate household and/or your agent should accompany you. If you do need to bring children or toddlers, you should attempt to keep them from touching surfaces and ensure they wash their hands regularly.
Travelling to the property viewing
We advise you travel to the viewing by car, walking or cycle if possible, to limit the possibility of catching COVID-19 on public transport. If you can only use public transport, it is a good idea to travel at a quieter time of day.
The property viewing
Scottish Government advice states that when viewing a property, all parties involved should wash their hands or bring hand sanitiser and avoid touching surfaces where possible. Access to hand washing facilities should be provided, as well as separate towels or paper towels if possible – these should be safely washed or disposed of.
Always continue to practice social distancing between yourself and the seller or agent. It is advised all parties where face coverings where possible.
Advice for Property Sellers
Offer virtual property viewings if you can
If you are selling your home, we advise you speak to your agent about the possibility of offering virtual viewings to buyers in the first instance. Your agent may be able to create a video or virtual tour as part of your property marketing package. If this isn’t possible, you can offer live virtual viewings over Zoom, Facetime and Skype.
Arranging a property viewing
As Government advice states open viewings should not be carried out, discuss creating and arranging appointment-based viewings with your agent.
If at any point, you or anyone in your household develops COVID-19 symptoms you will have to test and self-isolate. You should contact your agent straight away and not arrange any viewings during this period. You will also need to cancel and rearrange any appointments that have been booked.
The property viewing
Before the viewing you should:
- Clean your property thoroughly, including all surfaces with standard household cleaning products
- Open all doors in advance to avoid viewers touching door handles
- Keep your house well ventilated by opening windows to ensure fresh air is circulating
- Always maintain an appropriate distance between you and the buyers
- Provide hand washing facilities including separate hand towels or paper towels if possible
If your agent is conducting the viewing then you and the rest of your household should exit the property until it is completed. If you are facilitating the viewing, you should ask the rest of your household to wait outside the property if possible.
If you are conducting the viewing, your agent will give you advice on how to carry out the process.
After the viewing, clean your property thoroughly with standard household cleaning products. Your agent will advise you on what to do next if an offer is placed.