FAQs: What impact does the November Lockdown have on home buyers?
Following on from the government’s latest announcements, we want to provide you with reassurance and guidance on how the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting our Residential Sales service for those wanting to, or in the middle of buying a home.
This handy guide has been put together by our Sales team and is based on the most popular questions we are currently asked.
Q. Are viewings still going ahead?
A. Virtual viewings are available for all properties and viewings in person are available where safety can be guaranteed in accordance with social distancing guidance. We are still offering virtual viewings and appraisals via WhatsApp, Facebook, and Skype, so please contact us to discuss your options.
We are encouraging people to view our properties online or to contact us and request further details. Our team are continuing to work within safe capacity in our offices and remotely, so are still available to answer any questions and offer advice. We are constantly monitoring Government guidelines and will update you accordingly.
Q. How do virtual property viewings work?
A. Virtual tours enable property visits from the comfort of your sofa. They work by turning a physical property into an accurate and immersive online version that allows a walkthrough of a property anytime, anywhere. Potential buyers can digitally walk room to room, stopping to click and view 360° images of each space as though you are actually viewing the property in person.
Q. Can I put my property on the market during lockdown?
A. Yes. The latest guidelines allow estate agents to visit properties for valuations and to have photographs taken whilst following health and safety guidelines – you can view our Covid-19 stay safe policy here. We would recommend you vacate the property while any viewings are taking place and that you open any doors, windows, and cupboards for the estate agent before appointments to reduce the amount of contact during the visit.
Q. Can I still move home during the Coronavirus pandemic?
A. Yes. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick confirms that the housing market will remain open throughout this period. Viewings are permitted; removal companies and the other essential parts of the sales and letting process will still continue to operate as usual.
Health and safety is paramount, so our plan is to enable people to move home safely, in line with social distancing advice.
Following government guidelines, we are once again able to organise expert valuations and personal viewings, as well as offering these services virtually.
Q. Can my friends or family help me move?
A. The government has advised that anyone outside your household or support bubble shouldn’t help with any move unless it is necessary. We would recommend using a local removal firm where possible who will be following the correct safety guidelines. If removal firms are unavailable, another household can help you move your belongings, but social distancing guidelines and hygiene measures should be followed where possible.
Q. Can i use moving services?
A.Yes, removals firms are still able to help you move to a new property. We would recommend taking the following precautions:
- Pack as many of your belongings as possible to avoid unnecessary contact.
- Use a disinfectant spray on your possessions before and after the removal firm has handled them.
- Keep a good distance (recommended minimum 2m apart)
- Remember to wear your mask when the removal firm is around.
- No refreshments – they should already be aware of this rule and have their own drinks prepared.
We would encourage you to contact removal firms as early as possible in advance of your move date as they are likely to be even busier during this lockdown period.
Q. Are mortgage payment holidays still ending on 31st October?
A. No. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, confirms that borrowers impacted by COVID who haven’t had a mortgage holiday will be entitled to a 6 month break. If you’ve already started a mortgage holiday you can top up to 6 months without it being recorded on a credit file.
Q. What safety measures have you put in place?
A. From our side, we remain vigilant in all matters of health, safety and hygiene.
- Viewings are booked at set times to ensure only 1 viewer is at a property at any one time and there will be no Open House viewings organised.
- Face coverings will be worn at all times.
- From your side, we would really appreciate your help following the guidance below and shown in this document.
- If we have scheduled an appointment with you and you develop any symptoms of the virus, please inform us prior to the appointment taking place.
- Face coverings must be worn at all times and if you are exempt, please let us know before the appointment.
- There are only two households allowed in a property at any time which includes our Michael Jones team, so we will need you to leave the property for viewings.
Q. I am in a chain – what will happen now?
A. The legal profession is continuing to run so legal matters can continue. Our dedicated sales progression team is advising buyers and sellers as chains move to completion, keeping all parties in the loop so the process continues as seamlessly as possible.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our friendly team.
Q. Is it a good time to buy now?
A. Yes. It is possible to move under safe conditions and with our precautions in place and the industry operating across all sectors, we believe it’s a very good time to buy. Plus, to take full advantage of the stamp duty holiday that ends in March 2021, you will need to have your house on the market by Christmas to make a potential maximum saving of £15,000.
Ultimately, it depends on your personal circumstances and how comfortable you feel moving at this time. If you aren’t sure of the best course of action, please feel free to call one of our friendly team, who will be happy to provide you with all the options available that best suit your needs.
Q. I have sold my house and need to move – what is the process now?
A. As the housing market remains open, the process will continue as usual. We would advise anyone selling their property to confirm their legal position with their solicitor and work closely with their agent.
Those in this position with us, we are remaining in regular communication to ensure the process continues to run as smoothly as possible. It’s important that all parties involved in a property chain work closely together.
Those in this position with us, we are remaining in regular communication to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. It’s important that all parties involved in a property chain work together with the understanding that things will take longer than originally anticipated. Now that the market has opened up again, however, we expect the process to speed up considerably.
Q. Will conveyancing continue during lockdown?
A. Conveyancers and other professionals are open for business but should aim to work remotely where possible. They should make sure their clients are aware of the differences in completing transactions during this period especially as the buying and selling process may be taking slightly longer than normal during this time.
We remain open for business
We’re still here to help you with any property needs and/or questions you have; and now, we can organise safe meetings in person alongside our virtual viewings, and talk over the phone. If you’d like to speak with one of our friendly Sales team, please call us on 01903 213 281 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay alert and stay safe.
Content accurate at time of publishing.