Buying and selling homes during lockdown (COVID-19)
Given the situation in the UK with regard to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), The UK Government urge parties involved in home moving to adapt and be flexible to alter their usual processes.
There is no need to pull out of transactions, but we all need to ensure we are following guidance to stay safe during this period.
COVID-19 home moving guidance
If the property you're planning on moving into is vacant then it's fine to continue.
If the property is occupied then you are encouraged to agree alternative dates if at all possible for both parties, and rearrange for a time after restrictions are likely to be lifted.
Critical home moves are allowed in the event that you are unable to agree a new date & you won't be fined by police.
What if an extension goes beyond the terms of a mortgage agreement?
UK Finance have confirmed that, to support customers who have already exchanged contracts for house purchases and set dates for completion, all house repayments lenders are working to find ways to enable customers who have exchanged contracts to extend their house repayments offer for up to three months to enable them to move at a later date.
If a customer’s circumstances change during this three-month period or the terms of the house purchase change significantly and continuing with the house repayments would cause house buyers to face financial hardship, lenders will work with customers to help them manage their finances as a matter of urgency.
The process of selling & buying during Covid
If your home is not yet on the market
Getting your home onto the open market may be more challenging than usual in this period. There should be no visitors to your home. You can speak to Estate Agents over the phone and they will be able to give you general advice about the local property market and handle certain matters remotely but they will not be able to start actively marketing your home in the usual manner.
We are a cash buyer, therefore will still be able to purchase as normal. All processes are in place to speak to you remotely and as no viewings or visits are required, we will still be able to purchase your property in this period.
Advice for people to stay at home and away from others means you should not invite unnecessary visitors into your home, including: Property Agents to carry out a market appraisal or take internal photographs prior to marketing your home; and Energy Performance Certificate assessors.
To combat this, we can accept photographs taken from the homeowner in order to get the process moving. We would send a professional photographer once the lockdown has been lifted if this was required.
The buying and selling process can continue during this period but you should be aware that the process is likely to take longer than normal.
You are free to continue to accept an offer on your property, however the selling process may take longer if using the traditional open market.
Exchanging contracts with TPBC
Once you have exchanged contracts, we have entered into a legal agreement to purchase your home.
If the property we are purchasing is unoccupied, we can continue with the transaction.
If the property we are purchasing is currently occupied, we recommend that all parties should work either delay the exchange of contracts until after the period where stay-at-home measures to fight coronavirus (COVID-19) are in place, or include explicit contractual provisions to take account of the risks presented by the virus.
Our Conveyancers continue to support the sales process and make sure our clients are aware of the timescales of completing transactions in this period. They are continuing to support and progress sales through these difficult times.
Surveyors will not expect to carry out non-urgent surveys in homes where people are in residence, and no inspections will take place if any person in the property is showing symptoms, self-isolating or being shielded.
It may be possible to carry out some of your work online and also carry out urgent surveys on empty properties, or those where the occupants are out of the property or following guidance to stay at home and away from others.
Surveyors should follow the latest Government guidance which currently (26 March 2020) states that work carried out in people’s homes can continue, provided the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).
It is important to ensure Government guidelines are followed, including maintaining a 2 metre distance from others, and washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available).
No work should be carried out by a person who has coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, however mild.
We are following government advice
We are following the latest guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19).
Work with our vendors and other agents to broker the most convenient date to move where sales are due to complete on occupied properties in the current period where emergency measures are in place to fight coronavirus (COVID-19).
Prioritise support for anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus, and those they are in chain with, to agree a new date.
Not visit people’s homes to carry out market appraisals – we have a system in place where we can do this virtually.
All of our employees are working from home, to support existing clients and advise potential new clients.
Continue to progress sales where this can be done whilst following guidance to stay at home and away from others.