FOR BUYERS AND SELLERS
IF YOU ARE ON THE MARKET OR THINKING OF SELLING
Q. During Lockdown can I still put my property on the market?
A. There is nothing in current Guidelines to prevent you from putting your property on the market or preparing for the same.If you wish, e are able to make a visit to your home but this will be under Covid-19 secure rules which we will explain ensuring both staff and customers remian safe. However, should you not feel happy with this it can be achieved in a less traditional manner. Using the technology available to avoid non-essential social conduct, we can still conduct appraisals in a safe manner. Now that restrictions on Estate Agents have been relaxed, we cancarry out photography, erect boards and arrange a floor plan or EPC if your property needs one (you may already have one). Call us now to discuss it further.
Q. What is the point of actively considering marketing when activity is currently reduced and I am not confident of coming to the market yet?
A. Getting a property ready for marketing requires quite a lot of preparation although between us it is possible to collate sufficient detail to launch preliminary details. A property information questionnaire can be completed by you and we can provide the necessary forms by email or post. With a shortage of property coming to the market any new property will be of interest to those still looking. In addition, Solicitors could be appointed early with minimum outlay to prepare your legal documents ready for sale. Even if you are not fully confident, we can help you get started.
Q. Are buyers actually searching for properties now that lockdown has been relaxed?
A. Enquiries from buyers dropped dramatically when lockdown commenced. However, interest is now increasing again as the public are able to get out more and have time consider the future. We have noticed a continuing level of enquiries so there is still a pent-up demand.
Q. Will buyers be able to view my property?
A. Yes, but only if they comply to the Governent's strict guidelines on self-distancing and sanitisation. For the safety of our staff nd yourselves we insisit they are adhered to. The Government Guidelines on home moving have now been updated (see here). The safety and wellbeing of our staff and our customers (yourselves) remain our primary concern during these uncertain times. However,if you are uncomfortable about undertaking a viewing as a vendor or purchaser, it may be possible on some properties to undertake a virtual way of conducting live viewings via FaceTime or other applications so the potential buyer is effectively being shown around and get a real feel as though actually visiting. They can also be shown the outside and garden.
Q. My property is empty so can viewings be conducted more easily?
A. We have instructed our staff to continue to follow Government's revised guidelines which allow viewings provided guidelines are observed. As viewers can be let into empty property unaccompanied, it is easier to stay safe.
Q. What is happening to property prices?
A. There is no data to indicate any change in property prices. There will be several factors that potentially affect prices in the future and they will include employment levels and the public’s confidence in the future months and years. Rightmove’s regional price index for the South East to April 20th 2020 shows a monthly increase of 0.2 % over March and a 1.2% annual increase year on year. It is believed that prior to lockdown there was still a shortage of property and with reduced numbers coming to the market that is unlikely to change. For these reasons, meaningful information on property prices and trends cannot be calculated.
I AM A PROSPECTIVE BUYER
Q. Can I still view a property?
A. Under the revised Government Guidelines (see here), the answer is yes, but provided these guidelines are strictly observed. The safety and wellbeing of our staff and our customers (yourselves) is our primary concern during these uncertain times. However, if you feel uncomfortable attending a physical viewing but have seen properties advertised that are of interest, we are creating a virtual way of conducting viewings on as many properties as possible via FaceTime or other applications so that as a buyer you are effectively being shown around and get a real feel as though visiting.
Q. If I need a mortgage can I still have an appointment with a broker?
A. Yes you can. Brokers are working remotely but if you would like help and advice we can arrange for our mortgage partners to contact you.
Q. If I don’t have a solicitor, can you advise me?
A. As we have always done, we can recommend companies to provide you with a quotation. These are firms we deal with on a regular basis and who like us are working from home.
Q. Can I make an offer if I haven’t physically viewed the property?
A. Legally yes, there is nothing to prevent you from making an offer on a property you have seen on the internet or undertaken a virtual viewing. However, we would recommend buyers and sellers to proceed sensibly if this route is adopted, to avoid the risk of needing to break or change the transaction details once lockdown is lifted. If you are interested in making an offer let us know and we will deal with your interest appropriately.
MY HOME IS UNDER OFFER/ I HAVE AGREED TO BUY A PROPERTY
Q. How long should my sale or purchase take?
A. The sales progression system is still working with estate agents and solicitors working either from offices or from home. Local Authority searches are still being dealt with as is the Land Registry. However, as one might expect in these times, delays may arise. Depending on the length of the chain and other circumstances sales should take no longer than usual other than where affected by current restrictions, especially on arranging exchange of contracts and completion. Leasehold transactions can take longer. The governments advice for home movers can be viewed here.
Q. Is my sale/purchase still being progressed?
A. Most certainly, yes. Our future income relies on getting sales completed so the sales progression system is still working with estate agents and solicitors whether working from an office or at home.
Q. Can I still expect updates on progress?
A. Of course. Our team are progressing all current sales and they will report updates to you regularly.
Q. I am waiting for a mortgage valuation, will this take place?
A. With the relxation of lockdown for the property industry, valuers should be getting back to work whilst still closed observing the Government's revised guidelines.
Q. I have a mortgage offer. Will that remain valid?
A. You will need to check with your lender or broker. It is possible some mortgage offers will be extended at allow for the current difficulties.
Q. Could I still complete on my sale or purchase?
A. There is no restriction against completing so long as the latest advice from Government is followed. If you are purchasing a vacant property you can still proceed as normal according to the latest government advice (see here); however it is the advice of Government that those moving in to a previously occupied property should, where possible, delay moving while Coronavirus measures and restrictions are in place, or leave a period of 72 hours between one household vacating and the next moving in.
IMPORTANTLY - The government advice is clear that there is no need to withdraw from transactions and that within the new emergency enforcement powers that the police have been given to respond to coronavirus, there is an exemption for critical home moves in the event that a new date is unable to be agreed. We strongly recommend this advice is considered and that what you do is supported by your legal advisor as well as those representing anyone else in the transaction chain.
Q. Removals. If I exchange or complete, will I be able to move?
A. You will need to carefully consider your ability to move before agreeing to exchange and complete. Do this by checking with your conveyancer. The Law Society guidance can be found here, but do check the date of any guidance notes as many organisations have been slow to update their advice since May 13th 2020 Private removals may still be possible (check for Van Hire availability) and you will still need to adopt social distancing and sanitation guidelines. If you propose using a removal company, please check whether they can assist before you exchange contracts. Many belong to The British Association of Removers. Please see their website (www.bar.co.uk) and read their advice to their members.