Open Door Sales Negotiator , Stacey, has worked throughout the Coronavirus crisis to help keep new home purchases on track and delays to a minimum, all while ensuring the safety of all parties involved.
Stacey helps customers find their dream home with Open Door – Halton Housing’s brand for new outright sale, shared ownership and rent to buy homes.
For Stacey and the sales team at Open Door, it was technically ‘business as usual’ during the Coronavirus crisis and lockdown period, but with some fast and dramatic changes implemented to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone. From adding extra pictures, video and 3D tours of homes, Stacey and the team ensured customers were still able to offer the best customer experience to prospective buyers during the lockdown period.
Stacey explains: “The situation was slightly better for those buying new-build homes as they are vacant, so could be moved into despite social distancing guidelines and the Government’s freeze of the property market. The lockdown was quite a shock when it happened. We were forced to quickly adapt the way we do things to continue to sell homes, and move people in. We made our reservation forms available online, so buyers didn’t need to come into contact with us. We also took extra pictures of plots when we were on our weekly inspections. We had 3D tours carried out and sent WhatsApp videos to potential buyers, so they could still feel as though they had viewed.”
Open Door continued to receive a significant number of enquiries throughout the lockdown for its popular Bower Brook Gardens and Tannery Fields developments, which is positive news despite many warnings of the housing market potentially stagnating for a period following Coronavirus.
Stacey says: “Buyers have carried on buying homes during the lockdown, and we have even completed contactless move-ins. Our enquiries have doubled, if not trebled in the last few months and we are working very hard to ensure everyone receives an excellent service. Surveyors have contacted us for brochures and floorplans, rather than attend a site to value homes and we have made these available, sending working drawings which wouldn’t usually be required.”
Stacey, along with most other Halton Housing and Open Door colleagues have been working from home throughout the lockdown period which has resulted in increased levels of customers service being provided to buyers. Stacey says: “We have also been available earlier and later than ‘normal’ due to us working from home. Some days we have been online and available at 6am, and up until 10pm some evenings. The level of service customers are receiving is probably even better now as we are always near our laptops/phones.”
Selling homes during a worldwide pandemic has not been without its challenges, especially in ensuring the safety of staff and prospective buyers. During viewings, Stacey wore appropriate PPE, but this has its downsides.
“We have adapted how we work to ensure we are keeping the risks as low as possible. Viewings went to appointment only and have been more difficult as we have a mask on, so buyers don’t get to see our smiles or ask us many questions. We only allowed two adults from the same household to view the home for 15 minutes only. Questions are emailed after the viewing to minimise time together.”
Working from home during lockdown has had its positives, and for Stacey one of those was being able to spend time with her 4-year old daughter who has been off nursery. “I have enjoyed working from home, my daughter is only 4 so if off nursery at the moment and it has been nice to see her every day. I have enjoyed how well we have coped with the changes and don’t believe it has affected us too much at all, we have still sold homes during lockdown, and continue to move people in. It’s extremely positive to note that our demand has increased, and we have continued to keep up with the demand.” says Stacey.
Stacey believes that the Coronavirus crisis has empowered many people and organisations to prove that they can work from home effectively and still provide a great service to customers. Stacy says: “I don’t think we would ever fully go back to how we were, as we have proven it is possible to sell homes just as well from home as we do from an office.”
For prospective buyers, or those beginning to return to work and maybe worried about their safety, Stacey has some words of advice: “As long as you are following guidance, you will be as safe as you can be. Measures are in place to keep both staff and buyers safe.”
To find out more about Open Door, visit www.opendoor-properties.co.uk.