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Tips for Your Property During Covid 19

Joanne was on the radio today – 25th March 2020 Chatting with Dundalk FM about how the real estate market is coping with Covid 19 and giving great tips on what you can do around your property to improve its appeal and value during the lockdown.

You can listen to the interview or read the transcript below.

Dundalk FM 0:00
97.7 Dundalk FM town talk Joanne Lavelle, welcome back.

Joanne Lavelle 0:06
How are you? I’m here but I’m not here!.

Dundalk FM 0:10
I said what is the virtual? It’s kind of Yeah, you’re on the phone. We’re doing our social distancing or physical distancing. But we’re still gonna have a proper chat and we haven’t had one for quite a while. So there’s a good bit to catch up on.

Joanne Lavelle 0:22
Absolutely. I’ve been going back to the table and creating a whole new list of things to talk to you about. Although now, of course, today, you know, an unexpected list of things to talk to you about.

Dundalk FM 0:32
Okay. But, you know, a challenge that you like other businesses are rising to at the moment because people are still and always will need somewhere to live.

Joanne Lavelle 0:40
They completely do. And here’s the thing, you know, for example, in lettings side and of the business, we’re really busy because as you say, people still need to move house for one reason or another. And so for example, today, we’re doing about four viewings of apartments today, I expect they’ll all be gone by the end of the day. And you know, we’ll accommodate getting people moved in there as quickly as they want to be. Because everybody has different needs, for example, I have a couple who working in the health care section. And they don’t want to be coming home to their family. And they’re going to rent the space. There are a couple of they’re planning to later in the year move in together. So they’re bringing that plan forward. And just things like that. So there’s a whole range of reasons and needs that you wouldn’t even imagine. And we’re here to accommodate them.

Dundalk FM 1:25
Indeed, oh, and we have seen in there was a call for people to come back out and work for the HSE and in an unprecedented response to it. But I’ve even seen up on social media, wherever you just said, Yeah, I’m calling back to or I’m coming out of retirement and I got to move out of my area, I need to do temporary accommodation. So I think we’re going to see quite a lot more of that.

Joanne Lavelle 1:44
Yeah, we are I have a landlord now. He’s just very happily agreed to rent his house for three months for exactly that reason. So that a healthcare worker who has somebody at home who would have you know, compromised immune system, and they’re worried about bringing  Covid 19 home after work. So they’re going to move into this other place for three months really good solution to people’s concerns. It’s not for everybody and it doesn’t always work, but where it works is a great idea.

Dundalk FM 2:08
Okay, now obviously people want to see where they’re moving into before they make a decision on whether or not they will. And you’ve introduced some protocols are in keeping with that.

Joanne Lavelle 2:18
That’s right. So for example, today on the viewings that we’re doing today, and we have really strict protocols. It says social distancing outside the property. So there’s a very clear cue with social distance in the two-metre distance between parties. We asked everybody to adhere to that. And we’re not going to be polite about it, okay. When you get the property it’s only one person or one, for example, couple at a time into the property with whichever me or my clients is doing the viewing inside and on everybody else waits outside and you’re asked to sanitise your hands we have sanitizer before you go in and when you leave, we’re wearing gloves as well and really, it’s not, you know, this is going to be a brief feeling. It’s not going to be you know, half an hour long. Viewing is going to take about five or 10 minutes to do the viewing, and we can follow up with absolutely everything else on the telephone or online afterwards, we’re set up to provide the leases to be signed electronically. We have banking for the funding, everything can be done outside of that room that needs to be done, we can do electronically or virtually.

Dundalk FM 3:21
Right, that’s the rental market sales. We’re not if it was ever who’s going to be looking to buy a house or not at this stage, but there were a number of people who would have been right in the middle of, closing on their house saying, etc. when all this started. So I presume that still has to, to some extent be followed through on

Joanne Lavelle 3:40
Oh, absolutely. And those deals are usually still going to go ahead unless something else occurs. But I have lots of sales in the pipeline. The solicitors are working away for the vendors and the purchasers. And we’re playing our usual very important role in the middle of that to help facilitate everything to keep moving along. So Where we’re very much open, I mean, our doors locked and we’re working virtually remotely or whatever we need to do. But it’s very important that the work that we’ve started be completed where it needs to be completed. So yeah, though that work is still ongoing. And then for properties that are on the market, we’re doing virtual viewings, where we can, so this morning, I was out at this apartment in the Saltings in Annagassan. And I was pretty lucky actually being out there this morning. It was beautiful. And I’m going to put that virtual viewing up online later on so people can get a good look at the property virtually,

Dundalk FM 4:32
this is something you’ve pioneered in the last few months because even before any of the restrictions that came in with the current covid 19 situation, you’ve been doing a lot of these virtual viewings of houses,

Joanne Lavelle 4:44
People really love to get a little look at properties and from the comfort of their own home before they decide to look at it. So now we’re doing more of it. And we’re really giving people a sense of it. And you know, even if somebody’s looking at a property virtually, if they’re not in a position to come out and look at that property or You can still begin to engage with them and talk to them about it and answer their questions. And, you know, help them to feel like they’re, they’re getting the information that they need to even shortlist the property so that when we are all able to be out and about again, that people are very focused on what they’re looking for, and come to look at it and make the decisions

Dundalk FM 5:18
Now, Joanne, people are still looking for valuations. Maybe they’re applying for switchers and stuff, and you’re still getting instructions in that respect.

Joanne Lavelle 5:27
We’re still getting instructions from the bank. Now what happens today, I don’t know if there’s gonna be more updates today from the government, about movement and so on. But we’ve been really busy up until now doing valuations for people as you say, perhaps they want to switch their mortgage to get a better deal. Or perhaps they’ve already gone sale agreed on a property and they need to get the valuation for the mortgage. So we’ve been really really busy doing these things. As I say, our door is closed but our work is not done.

Dundalk FM 5:55
A lot of people are at home at the moment. Some people are working from home some people unfortunately, you weren’t as lucky and found themselves now temporarily unemployed or hopefully it is temporary. And, you know, they might have a bit of time on their hands. And it’s an opportunity maybe to do all the things that you keep putting off, particularly in the winter months.

Joanne Lavelle 6:15
Oh, absolutely. But before that, let me mention as well, that there are strict rules. Now, if somebody is paying rent, and they, their job has been put on temporary hold, or they’re not able to pay their rent, get in touch with us, let us know that that is your situation if we manage your property because there are new guidelines from the government about dealing with that. So don’t be afraid to pick up the phone or to email us and let us know about that. Because, you know, we’re here to help you okay. But yeah, so if you’re at home, whether you’re working at home, or whether you’re minding the children or whether you’re whatever you’re doing, and we’re all going to be spending so much more time at home now than we would ordinarily at this time of year. So, it’s a chance to look around and think about all those little jobs. Think about it over the jobs that you’ve been putting off because you’re usually too busy. Now is your chance

Dundalk FM 7:01
Some of the things you’ve suggested, obviously, some of it can be a bit boring. I mean, there will be repairs in everybody’s house repairs that, you know, we put off and we put on the long finger. And I think a lot of people are now going to find themselves a dab hand at home improvements as well because obviously, we can’t just bring somebody else to come in and do them.

Joanne Lavelle 7:19
No, we’ll all be DIY and she YI experts again, which is great. Now, I know some of it is boring, but, you know, when I read about how to deal with exclusion and isolation, all the advice seems to be to try to be a bit industrious, have a bit of a routine and have things to do every day. So if the thought of you know dusting down your cupboards seems like hell to you, nonetheless, it’s something that will occupy at least a half a day in an otherwise really boring dull day. So you know, get to it!

Dundalk FM 7:51
Yeah, yeah, put on the radio, put out a bit of music or something and then just go for it. And of course, when all of that’s done then you can start to get a bit more creative.

Joanne Lavelle 8:00
Oh, absolutely. And I was thinking about all the things that we could do now on social media. I don’t know if other people have found this, everybody’s talking about getting your pictures up on the walls, you know, all those pictures and photos that you’ve been meaning to put up on the walls, well, now’s the time to get them up. And there’s loads of advice online about creating your picture gallery, whether there are pictures and photos going up the staircase, or whether they’re in your living room or your favourite spot. It’s a great idea now when you’re at home during the daytime to look and see what you want to do with all of those pictures.

Dundalk FM 8:29
Now, the way that you mentioned you were out by the seaside this morning, and it was such a lovely morning to be there. But we are seeing spring, it has definitely arrived at this stage. And it’s an opportunity for us to get those windows open and let the air through the house.

Joanne Lavelle 8:43
I think that’s really important Rosa that you know, even if we’re stuck inside, whether we’re in a house or an apartment or wherever we are, open the windows and let a little bit of light in, let some fresh air in. Because, you know if you’re at home all the time, and it’s understandable to not be in great humour and great form with all this going on. But if you find your housework is building up on top of you, and it’s easy to feel a bit frayed and a little bit frustrated, so let the air in and try to use your space as well as you can, particularly if you have little ones in the house because that’s frustrating for everybody, but also with all the toys and everything. So do a little bit of restructuring reorganising in your house, create your inner Mario condo about how to use all of your storage.

Dundalk FM 9:30
And if you’re lucky enough to have a garden and we’ve seen all you know, the use of the balconies initially have been put to me maybe we’re gonna start doing this ourselves, little performances or something in our gardens, but we want to get them in shape so that they’re, you know, social media ready?

Joanne Lavelle 9:44
What absolutely what can you imagine if you don’t cut your grass during this time and you stay inside, you’re going to have a little jungle outside by the time Covid 19. Finally, you know, goes away and we can all get back to normal. So yeah, keep on top of the garden if you can. And don’t forget, if you have a petrol lawnmower get out there and get a wee can of petrol so that you’re not stuck and trim your hedges do a little bit of weeding. I’m always a bit cautious about planting too early in the year. I don’t know if it’s still too early have we still got some frost ahead but you know, go out and do big tidy up around. Also, the weather’s so good and put out garden furniture, paint your garden furniture to get another summer out of it. I know my summer furniture is looking a little bit wrecked and I’ll certainly be getting around to painting that in the next few days.

Dundalk FM 10:26
And as you said, Joanne, we’re all going to be a depth hound anyway to at this, you know, do it yourself stuff. So when we were finished fixing everything in the house, we can get out the garden furniture that maybe we’re going to discard because you said Oh, I’ll go and buy some more. And you suddenly realise if I take a nail or if I take a paintbrush or a bit of varnish isn’t that – that’s perfectly good.

Joanne Lavelle 10:45
I think so. And the other thing that I believe is that when we get back to normal and charity stores will be really doing very well because we will have done a little bit of decluttering a little bit of clearing out and we’ll have boxes and stacks of things that we don’t need anymore and they’ll go to charity Which is a good thing because then it’ll raise funds for whatever charity your chosen charity shop is working with. So that’s really important. Now the other thing that everybody’s really talking about now is, of course, virtual meetings. Okay? So Zoom seems to be the new Facebook where you can, have meetings with multiple people. I know that we did Zoom for my mother in law for Mother’s Day on Sunday. And, and so if you’re having these, these face times, or zoom times, or whatever way, you’re communicating with people, don’t forget that they’re looking at your house. So create a little corner in your living room or in your kitchen or wherever it is, where you’re happy to be seen. And they don’t necessarily need to know that you’re in your jammies. But if they’re looking at your kitchen, whatever is behind you, create a little space, a little corner in your house or that’s your virtual meeting space, and you can meet your friends, you can have your book clubs, do whatever you need to do. And you know, it’s a little bit of fun to spend time making that little corner nice.

Dundalk FM 11:57
I never thought we get to a stage where we’d be putting on makeup to make To phone call, but it’s happening!

Joanne Lavelle 12:03
is the other thing. everybody’s busy looking at makeup tutorials, but here What are we going to do with that the hairdresser is more important.

Dundalk FM 12:10
Well, we will get inventive. We definitely get inventive and it’s not going to be for long. And look, there’ll be plenty of work. That’s the other thing. When all of this is you know, has past they’ll be plenty of work for the hairdressers and the barbers and beauticians to deal with

Joanne Lavelle 12:25
locally. I don’t know about you. I’ve already started to plan my street party for when we’re all up and running again.

Dundalk FM 12:30
Oh, well, I have said from the outset, we are we’re known for our parties down the valley and it’s going to be the mother and father of one Believe me. Very good. Listen, Joanne, lovely to have a chat and lovely to have you back and we’ll be talking to you more regularly. But in the meantime, some really, really sound advice there from you. And as you said, You’re still open for business albeit in a different fashion and most particularly if somebody is concerned about paying their rent and they actually are renting from Lavelles. Get in touch and talk to you.

Joanne Lavelle 13:05
Yeah, absolutely. We’re done here at Michael Lavelle estate agents in Bridgestreet. You can get us online and on all the social channels, keep in touch and folks, you know, be kind to your home and be kind to yourselves because you’re going to have to rely upon each other for the next couple of weeks. And, and I wish you all good health and we will speak soon

Dundalk FM 13:22
Joanne Lavelle, stay safe.

Joanne Lavelle 13:24
Take care.

Joanne was on the radio today – 25th March 2020 Chatting with Dundalk FM about how the real estate market is coping with Covid 19 and giving great tips on what you can do around your property to improve its appeal and value during the lockdown.

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