Sarah is here to help house buyers and sellers get to grips with the conveyancing process. Now restrictions on the property market have been lifted, she discusses how to tackle moving home whilst observing current health guidelines…
Can I put my property on the market and start looking for a new home?
The housing market is bouncing back, after the government announced anyone can now move home, as long as coronavirus guidance is followed. This applies to both renters and buyers and has meant building developers and property professionals have returned to work.
You can put your property on the market and begin viewing houses that are of interest, however, if anyone in your family begins to show symptoms of covid-19, you need to let your estate agent know. You must stop any viewings until you have completed the appropriate self-isolation period.
Estate agents can visit your house to take marketing photos and videos, by following the appropriate social distancing rules to avoid the spread of infection. They will do what they can to encourage people to view it virtually, so just a small number of physical visits take place, minimising the contact you have with third parties during the transaction.
How can I maintain hygiene in my property during viewings?
You should encourage all viewers to wash their hands and avoid touching surfaces, where possible.
Before each visit, clean all surfaces, including door handles and open doors in readiness. Make sure you observe social distancing measures, by perhaps remaining outside during the viewing.
I am interested in a new build property. How do I make contact with the developer?
If the property you like is not being marketed by an estate agent, you should be able to contact the developer directly to arrange to view a show home or particular plot by appointment. This should be slightly easier than viewing an occupied property, as no one is living there.
As I mentioned earlier, no physical viewings can take place if a member of your household is self-isolating – you will need to wait until the appropriate period of time has passed.
I have seen a property I like. Can I offer on it yet?
You are free to make or accept an offer on any property for sale and instruct a solicitor to deal with the transaction on your behalf.
We will commission the necessary searches online and surveyors are now permitted to visit properties. There are no restrictions on the type of survey they can carry out, so discuss with them directly the most appropriate in respect of the house you wish to purchase. They will then arrange to carry it out by liaising directly with the homeowners and following health guidelines.
Will the transaction be affected in anyway by the current situation?
For now, it is still the case that we would potentially look to exchange contracts and complete on the same day, or within a very small timeframe, in case any party becomes ill or needs to self-isolate. This would obviously have an impact on your ability to comply with the completion date.
Your solicitor will update you on the current position regarding completion when you actually reach the point at which you are ready to exchange contracts. It is something that needs looking at on an individual basis and will depend on the number of parties in the chain and the position of the properties involved.
Unfortunately, you will not be able to meet your solicitor face to face, but we are available on the phone, or by other means of communication, to answer any queries you have during the transaction. Most correspondence will be dealt with by email to avoid any delays.
When it comes to moving day, removal firms are able to operate, however, it is advisable to pack as much as you can yourself. If this is not possible, you will need to liaise with your chosen company at an early stage, to see if they are willing to do it on your behalf.
Whilst the removal crew is in your home, ensure all internal doors are open and seek to minimise contact, maintaining a distance of two metres at all times.
If you have a question about moving home, our residential property expert, Sarah Gaunt, would love to hear from you. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org