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The Patrick Henry Blog
The Lockdown Diary - Week 4
The news is now reporting the tragic effect that Covid-19 is having on our care homes. It really hit home for me during my weekly talk with my dad, when he told me that 13 people had passed away in a local care home due to the pandemic. This tragic news made me think of one of my clients who is currently in a care home in Essex. We agreed the sale of his home back in February and since then it feels as though the whole world has changed. To make things even more complicated, his solicitor had been furloughed by the company that she was working for and the case had been passed on to a partner in the firm. This means that our elderly, partially deaf, care home-resident client has to be re-identified by the new solicitors and additional paperwork must be filled out. Fortunately, where there is a will, there is a way and we were determined to get the sale over the line this week.
All parties were put on notice that we would be aiming to exchange and complete simultaneously, which meant alerting the lenders so that the funds would be available on the day and getting all of the signed contracts and associated paperwork to the solicitors and last but not least, finding a way to get a telephone to my client so that he could give his solicitors instructions on the day.
I am very happy to say that we were successful! Compromises were made on all sides and thanks to the unusual levels of patience and persistence (which would probably have been unheard of pre-pandemic) everybody got what they needed to brighten up their 4th week of lockdown.
The Lockdown Diary - Day 0
It was on this day two weeks ago. that Boris Johnson, our Prime Minister instructed our estate agency, along with every other estate agency across the county to shut its doors. It was a strange feeling to describe, but I would place it somewhere between being arrested and taking a call from the hospital and receiving the test results that you to some extent expected, yet at the same time, didn’t want to be true. We had clear indications that this would be on the horizon as our European friends in Italy and Spain were – as the media seems to enjoy putting it – roughly two weeks ahead of us in terms of diagnosed cases and fatalities. Both of those countries had forced the closure of all non-essential shops, and as much as I would like to believe that my “shop” is essential I think that would be described by anyone as a stretch, at best.
Fortunately for us, we had already put systems in place to manage the change and even had a test run the previous week. All that was left for me to do at 9pm that night was to send a group WhatsApp to the team and tell them to dress casually for what would be our last day working together…… for the foreseeable future at least.
The Lockdown Diary - Day 1
Not much had been conveyed to us by the Prime Minister, apart from an instruction to shut our doors. A thought ran through my mind that we could easily work from the office and not allow customers inside, as there were still plenty of offices that were functioning as normal, simply because they weren’t on the High-street. That idea lasted for a whole 10 seconds before I reverted back to the original plan of clearing up and securing the office, grabbing the essentials and putting the plan in place that we had been working on for the past couple of weeks. In a bizarre twist to the day, we received an email from one of our clients asking us to let 7 of their properties! It seems that there were others with far worse fortune than ours, as the short-let company that had been managing these 7 properties for our client had just slipped into administration. As we didn’t know what would be happening over the coming months, weeks or even days we decided to attend the 2 properties out of the 7 that were empty and record videos in a ‘walk-through’ fashion. This would serve two purposes; one would be to take a rudimentary inventory of the property for our client and the other would be so that we could show potential tenants around without any of us having to leave our homes. We had already recorded videos for the rest of our available properties in an attempt to minimise unsuccessful viewings and disruption to current tenants’ lives, and we successfully let a property using a video that we recorded the previous week. As today was likely to be our last opportunity to get into these properties (at least for the next three weeks), we quickly scrambled to get all of the footage that we needed.
Back in the office we secured all valuables and our clients’ information, loaded our cars with our computers and finally toasted to our health over a semi chilled bottle of champagne (which was gifted to us by a happy client, back when the world seemed normal).
Patrick and his team of Stephanie and Alex have surpassed every expectation and have gone above and beyond to achieve fast results in letting my properties. Their expertise and honesty makes them stand out from the crowd and I honestly can say they have become friends as well. A rare find in today's competitive world. You will not be disappointed!
Happy Client 1
Patrick Henry strike the perfect balance between being friendly and getting the job done. They are extremely efficient and reliable, I would go as far to say that this was above and beyond what you would normally expect.
Happy Client 10