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How to carry out property inspections in Covid-19 era

The importance of property inspection in consummating a real estate transaction for valuations, sale or letting cannot be over-emphasized. A physical review of the inherent attributes of a property is required to be able to make informed decisions regarding appraisal, sales or letting as the case may be. This derives from a popular maxim which says ‘there is no sale by description in real estate.

The second wave of the Covid–19 pandemic, which we are presently witnessing in Nigeria, has brought home the reality that the pandemic is here to stay, at least, in the short to medium term, in view of the fact that vaccinations needed to achieve herd-immunity will not be achieved in Nigeria until sometime in 2022 or even later.

In view of the foregoing, it has become imperative for the real estate practitioners, particularly Estate Surveyors & Valuers, to think outside the box in order to arrange property inspections which is a vital part of their day-to-day routine.

This is important because the likelihood of consummating a sale/letting is dependent on inspection of the property under consideration.

Based on the above premise and the need to come out with more creative ways to operate in the Covid – 19 era and beyond, the following trends are becoming the ‘new normal’ in property inspections and viewing:

a)Practitioners are now, more than ever before, leveraging on technology to carry out inspections and viewing of properties. In this wise, applications like Zoom, Facetime, Teams, Virtual tours, and Whatsapp are being deployed to enable clients view properties real time, off line.

b) Based on guidance provided by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Presidential Panel on Covid-19, traditional viewing of properties are now being made Covid-compliant as practitioners are insisting on the following:

a) Physical distancing (the 2 metre rule) must be strictly observed

b) Use of Personal protective equipment (PPE), especially face masks, is a mandatory requirement for all participants in the inspection process

c) Washing of hands and use of hand sanitizers

d) If any party, the surveyor or client, notices any symptoms of feeling unwell, he is required to call before hand to cancel and re-schedule the inspection and self-isolates.

C) Another variant of the above is to schedule viewing times with different clients to make sure that no two clients view a property at the same time. All Covid–19 protocols mentioned earlier should be strictly adhered to by each group. Each group should have only the barest minimum number of key participants.

Covid–19 has become the ‘new normal’ and, if projections by health experts is anything to go by, it will be with us for some time to come.

In order not to become infected by the virus and the attendant health problems, practitioners will do well to adhere to this ‘common sense’ protocols and earn income safely while the pandemic lasts.

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