Although we have now moved into a second national lockdown the property market is still open for business. The government has confirmed that people can still put their property on the market for sale, can visit other properties and have people in their properties for viewings, can make offers on properties and can still move to a new property once a sale is complete.
In this article we answer some of the key questions you may have if you’re thinking about moving home or are in the process of moving home during this time.
Can I put my property on the market during lockdown?
Yes. You are still able to put your property on the market. You can start the process by booking a valuation and we can value your property as well as provide advice on the market and any improvements you can make to your property to help with the sale.
During lockdown we will still be able to visit your property to take photographs and view essential documents needed to sell your property. Find out more about our safe property valuations process.
We are then able to progress many of the valuation and instruction processes electronically.
Obviously if anyone in your household is showing symptoms of coronavirus or is self-isolating, then estate agents and potential buyers should not visit your property in person.
Can people still view a property during lockdown?
You can still go on a property viewing and similarly have people in your property to do viewings.
We ask that buyers have a mortgage in principle in place before we agreed to proceed with a property viewing and that they do a first viewing virtually wherever possible. This helps us reduce the risk of infection for everyone involved.
We have very robust guidelines on what you need to do when viewing a property – whether that’s accompanied by an agent or direct with the seller.
These include wearing a face mask, not touching surfaces wherever possible and washing/sanitising hand before and after the visit.
There shouldn’t be more than two households within the property at any one time, and viewings should only be arranged by appointment only.
Sellers are advised to open all the inside doors beforehand so viewers don’t have to touch the door handles as well as open windows to reduce spread.
It’s recommended that sellers are not in the property during the viewing, and that you disinfect all surfaces after.
See our full guide on Safe property viewings
Can I still move home during lockdown?
Yes. The Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has said that estate and letting agents, and removals firms, can continue to operate during lockdown.
In a message issued to the housing industry, he outlined that home-hunters can still go on property viewings, can still allow viewings in their property and show homes and sales suites can remain open. Mortgage valuations and surveys can also take place.
Everyone involved in the moving process must follow the national guidance on moving home safely, which includes advice on social distancing and wearing a face covering.
People outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary.
Can I still book a removal firm during lockdown?
Yes. Removals firms are still able to do their jobs and help people move home as long as they are following safety guidelines.
Ideally you should try to pack as much of your belongings as possible. You should also give everything a wipe-down or spray with disinfectant so they’re clean for anyone else handling them.
When the removal team are in your property, you can maintain distance and wash hands regularly. It’s a bit chilly at the moment – but if you can leave doors and windows open, it all helps.
It’s recommended that you book your removals company as early as possible. The property market is busy at the moment so it may be difficult to get a removal van otherwise. They will be understanding if your dates need to change – but may be unable to fit you in at short notice.
I’m in the process of buying a home, will this still go ahead in lockdown?
We’re expecting all property sales already in the process to progress during lockdown. Our teams are all still working to get these sales completed as quickly as possible
It’s possible that in some areas the conveyancing process will be slower than usual. This is due to some solicitors and agents operating at limited capacity, or busy working through sales that are in progress from earlier in the summer when demand was high.
If you’re about to enter into a legally binding contract by exchanging, you should discuss the possible implications of one of the parties being affected by having to self-isolate or quarantine. There are options to help manage the risks.
If someone in your household, or someone in a property in the chain began to show any flu symptoms just as you’re about to complete, then you’ll likely need to postpone things by a few weeks.
Can tradespeople visit my property for maintenance?
Yes. The current rules allow tradespeople to carry out work in your home, as long as they have no coronavirus symptoms and are following all the necessary safety guidance.
In addition, traders should not go to homes of anyone who is self isolating or at risk from the virus.
However, if the work you are having done is not urgent, you may want to reschedule it for a more convenient time.
It may be the case that you could get help through remotely, depdning on the problem.
Can I continue with property renovations?
Yes, renovation work can still continue during this lockdown period. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced that:
- Construction sites can and should continue
- Tradespeople will be able to enter homes
- All parties must follow the Covid safety guidance
Again, if anyone in your household is self-isolating or is showing symptoms of the virus, that work should be rescheduled until it’s safe to resume. This is the same for any tradespeople adue to be working in your home.
To help ensure that all parties remain as safe as possible during the renovation, you should:
- Keep your distance from any visitors and avoid physical contact
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitiser
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash your hands
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home such as door handles, light switches and your kettle
Are your branches are open?
Yes, government has also allowed branches to stay open for buyers and sellers to be able to visit an Estate agent branch during lockdown.
Specifically, the guidance says that people can leave their home to undertake any of the following activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property:
- visiting estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes;
- viewing residential properties to look for a property to buy or to rent;
- preparing a residential property to move in;
- visiting a residential property to undertake any activities required for the rental or
- sale of that property
We have the safety processes we had before the second lockdown. This includes booking an appointment before your visit and other safety measures such as wearing a mask and cleaning hands.
If you’re looking to put your property on the market and want some help and advice on what’s happening in the local area, then contact us today.
If you’re already in the process of buying or selling a house with us then we will be maintaining contact with you. However if you have any concerns in the meantime then get in touch with your usual contact.