A Guide To Buying and Selling During The Pandemic

Buying, Selling

How Has The Moving Process Adjusted To Covid-19?

The housing market has reopened but there are some key differences for buyers and sellers to be aware of when it comes to moving home.

Lockdown legislation was amended to allow buyers and sellers to recommence with home moves from the 13th May. Although strict social distancing guidelines are still required, the basic home moving processes are all back in play – including marketing and viewing homes, making offers, carrying out conveyancing searches and negotiations, obtaining mortgages and booking removal firms for the move. However, even though the framework of moving home, there are some new differences for buyer and sellers to take note of as the pandemic continues.

The effect of the energy crisis on the property market

One of the biggest challenges faced by our landlords and tenants is the disparity between what landlords need to charge and what tenants are able to pay in terms of rent. For those agreements where bills are included, it follows that landlords will need to increase rent prices to cover such bills – however, those in low-income positions will simply be left unable to pay.

In addition, demand for more energy efficient homes has increased tenfold, with both investment buyers and homeowners seeking the kinds of properties which offer a more stable future in the face of energy upheaval. What this is doing is creating a gap in what is available and what buyers expect and are demanding from the market – with inefficient properties more likely to sit on the market for extended periods. Similarly, landlords whose properties are not energy efficient will likely see a drop in demand.

How Have Viewings Changed?

Open house viewings are not currently permitted as they would typically involve too many people and therefore flout the 2m distancing requirements. Virtual 3D home viewings are preferred, particularly for a first viewing. Our estate agents Romford team explains that these are really convenient for sellers as you dress your home just the once, which is great if your home has been looked a little ‘lived-in’ during lockdown.

However, in-person viewings are still allowed to continue too where required. Care should be taken for buyers, sellers and estate agents to keep as much distance as possible between each other. Ideally the seller should vacate the property during the visit. Buyers should also refrain from touching any surfaces whilst visiting the property. The seller is advised to take steps such as opening all the windows before the viewing, and disinfecting door handles and surfaces following the visit. Some buyers will choose to wear gloves and a face mask as they walk around the home.

Removal Firms

Many people would find it too challenging to move their own belongings. If you require assistance, then removal firms are available, but be aware that crews are operating at a limited capacity so you’ll need to secure the date well in advance. Crew members may wear PPE masks if they’re not able to stay more than 2 metres apart from each other, for example when lifting a heavy item together. It is suggested that household members do as much of the packing and unpacking as they can manage to avoid contact with belongings.

Dealing With Symptoms

Remember that the priority is to keep all members of your household and anyone else involved in your move, safe from the spread of the virus. As you get further down the line and have exchanged contracts, if you or a family member develops symptoms of Covid-19, then it is essential that your move is delayed whilst you go into self-isolation. All parties involved in the move must amicably agree to find a new date and all are encouraged to be as flexible as possible throughout the process.

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