Updated for Lockdown 2.0
We have updated the blog to make sure that all information is also correct for the second lockdown in the UK. You can still go and visit properties as well as estate agents as these are classed as essential this time around! For more info check out this update from Zoopla.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused huge changes in the way that we go about our everyday lives and for some time it stopped people moving home. However, the situation has improved and you can now move house as long as you are not infected with Covid-19, in a period of self isolation or part of a vulnerable group such as the elderly. The government has provided an update as of the 13th May to relax lockdown measures and allow people to start viewing houses. This means that whether you are looking to rent, buy or sell, you can now start the process of moving once again. There are some changes to the process though and we have put together some of the main points you should be aware of.
Now that the lockdown measures have been eased, you can now view properties although there are some things to take note of. The government has advised that people do most of their research and searching online, and you should only go and visit homes that you have a serious interest in purchasing or renting. This might be a slight change to the usual viewing process for some people, especially if you are moving out of town and want to view houses in different areas. You should also expect specific viewing time slots that should be strictly adhered to. Open house viewings will not be taking place in the same manner either.
If you are selling your property, you might be wondering if there is anything additional that you should put in place to make sure people can view your property safely. The government advice says that people should bring their own hand sanitiser and avoid touching surfaces where possible. It is also advised that visitors should wash their hands if they have touched surfaces, so you might want to make sure you provide soap for people to wash their hands. Ideally, you would make sure you are out when viewings are taking place by going for a walk. But if you do have to be home then it is ideal if you could remain out of the way and even in the garden. It can also be a good idea to make sure doors are open too, so people don’t have to touch surfaces unnecessarily. It’s a good idea to clean commonly touched surfaces in your home after viewings, such as taps, door handles and units.
With lockdown measures eased, you can now exchange and complete on a property you are looking to buy but you should be prepared for more delays at the moment. The government has asked for people to be flexible when it comes to exchanging and it could delay your move if the buyers or sellers are self isolating. Although some initial projections suggested that house prices had dropped over the lockdown, this is likely only due to the fact nobody was moving, and is likely not an actual reflection on house prices. It is expected that these will not be largely affected, but until more houses are being sold and there is more data it is hard to tell at this stage.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a big impact on mortgages for both buyers and sellers, but there is some help if your mortgage offer is coming to an end or your fixed rate is going to expire. If you already have a mortgage offer in place, then it is likely that this could be extended for up to 6 months. Barclays are offering this extension but you should check with your lender to make sure this is the case. There are also plenty of lenders that are offering mortgage payment holidays to give people some relief at this difficult time. This should be considered carefully though and there is a useful guide on the Money Advice Service.
Hopefully the housing market will start to return to normal and we see some significant improvements - but only time will tell. If you are faced with delays or a long waiting time to move, why not consider self storage as a way of getting things ready and out of the way?