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‘Knobbly knees and ice lollies’ – how agents are coping with the heatwave

Being an estate agent can be sweat-inducing at the best of times but property professionals intend to keep going through the extreme heat.

Temperatures hit as high as 40 degrees yesterday and the same is expected today, prompting some interesting and innovative responses from estate agents.

A poll on the Estate Agent Today LinkedIn page found 85% of respondents agreed that estate agencies and property firms should allow their staff to wear whatever they are comfortable with in this heat.

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Felix Pope, of London agent Maalems, said staff have preferred to come to the office where there is air conditioning as well as free ice lollies.

He said: “Suits are out and shorts are in. 

“Anything that makes our team more comfortable and our clients don't mind as they are happy to be progressing with viewings or able to reach our team when they need to.”

Essex-based Luxon Real Real Estate has suggested that staff conduct late afternoon or early evening viewings where possible rather than in the heat of the day, with smart casual attire advised rather than being suited and booted.

Andrew Kirby, director at Kirby Estate Agents, added: "We are allowing our guys to dress down in cooler clothes including shorts if they wish. We are also taking more time on viewings and ensuring everyone stays hydrated."

Property commentator Jonathan Rolande, of House Buy Fast, quipped that shorts are fine as long as they are not matched by a short sleeve shirt and tie.

He did give a more serious warning, though, adding: "One area estate agents have to take real care is ensuring all windows and doors are closed after viewings.

"Criminals watch and target properties which they know are empty and can and do strike between viewings."

A removals company also sent a plea to agents yesterday to consider the working conditions of movers.

Matt Faizey, managing director of M&G Moving and Storage, said: “Please, agents, conveyancers and all parties who can influence outcomes spare a thought for those who make the actual move happen on the day.

“On average a removal employee covers 4 miles every day, often with one third of that involving going up and down stairs. On top of this, half of that distance is carrying. 

"On average a single moving company operative moves around 1.5 to 2 tonnes of effects both in the morning, and the afternoon.

“It's bad enough when it's freezing, it's bad enough when it's high twenties. In this, it's torture.

“Please, be efficient and timely in your key release. Please do not delay crews. 

“After loading 4-6 tonnes in four hours it is unfair to ask them to sit around for hours in blistering heat only to then start again in blistering heat. 

“Please give them the chance to get straight in, and work either more slowly or indeed be finished early enough to rest and recover for the following day. Not ask them to sit around hot, uncomfortable and drained only to expect them to start again in the sweatfest of late afternoon.

“While many are sat in offices, with a breeze, or at home with the doors open. Please spare a thought for the physical strain, and pain, for very little gain the moving crews in the UK are enduring.

“It's a tough job. In these conditions however it's horrific.”

London estate agent and former RICS residential chairman Jeremy Leaf added:  "We’re trying to restrict viewings to certain times and have told customers to expect earlier viewings over the next two days.

"We’ve also recommended our vendors try to keep their homes cool by closing windows, curtains and blinds during the day – and leaving air conditioning/climate control on where possible – to make them more attractive.

"Buyers want to know now just as much that their new home will be warm enough in the most severe of winters as cool enough in our increasingly-stifling summers.

"Fortunately, we installed air conditioning in our offices about fifteen years ago, more by luck than judgement, but which has proved to be one of my better business decisions.

"The problem is in this country is that we have been fixated for too long in ensuring our homes are warm enough rather than cold enough.

"For that reason, air conditioning, climate cooling, adequate ventilation and above-limit insulation are discretionary rather than obligatory

"On the other hand some of our more savvy homeowners and developers have been allowing for overheating in their properties for many years and making those investments

"They have recognised that living in comfortable surroundings actually improves saleability and value."

Meanwhile, Simon Wilkinson of The Wilkinson Partnership and Propertymark board member, said: "We are in shorts, doors open, cold drinks and ice creams."

‘Knobbly knees and ice lollies’ – how agents are coping with the heatwave

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