The Lockdown Moving Guide
We are often asked can we still move during lockdown. Well the simple answer is yes you can. The sales and rental markets remain open. Estate and letting agents, conveyancing firms, surveyors and removals firms can all continue to work.
Buying & Selling Process - The Virtual World
The process of searching for and moving into a new home is different because property agents, conveyancers and other professionals have modified how they work to reduce the risk from COVID-19. These changes include doing more online, such as offering virtual viewings. While these are a good initial filter of a property you want to buy, you will want to visit it in person before parting with your hard earned cash.
If you need to decorate or repair anything before putting you home on the market, tradespeople like electricians, plumbers, repairers of domestic appliances or decorators can enter your home. They will need to follow social distancing guidance.
Physical Viewing Rules
With physical viewings, the government advise that:
there should be no more than 2 households inside the property at any one time. This includes any agent accompanying either party. Anyone in a support bubble with either household, however, will count as part of that household.
The homeowners are to leave the property whilst viewings are being held.
Viewings are to be kept at a minimum of 15 minutes
Viewings in person need to be arranged by appointment only. When viewing in person, you should maintain a 2 meter distance where possible and avoid touching surfaces.
Homeowners should keep internal doors open and clean surfaces and door handles with standard household cleaning products afterwards.
Estate agents and potential buyers/tenants should wear face masks during viewings.
No refreshments should be offered.
The 3 most important ways to minimise delays are:
Instructing a conveyancing solicitor as soon as you list your home or as your offer is accepted. You can compare quotes now from conveyancing solicitors and speak to them about the process and costs so you’re ready to instruct them. Alternatively speak to your estate agent who can suggest one. We currently recommend RMNJ Solicitors who are very competitive.
Getting your paperwork in order. If it’s leasehold, find the lease. Locate certificates showing compliance with regulations of any works done from planning permissions to FENSA certificates for window replacements. Don’t forget valid guarantees a home buyer will want to see. See what documents you’ll need.
Sorting your mortgage. Many lenders and brokers are experiencing COVID related delays and mortgage choices have significantly reduced, especially for first time buyers. Avoid wasting time later down the line and start the mortgage process now.
Prior to the Moving Day
If someone in your chain has symptoms of COVID you could have to wait while they self isolate which could add delays to your home move. Your conveyancer will be able to make sure that any contracts or agreements are as flexible as possible to accommodate this risk.
In particular, you will want to protect yourself against the likelihood of a sudden change in circumstances which could undermine your sale and/or purchase, and expose you to unexpected costs.
A “Covid Clause” within the contract offers parties the ability to exchange contracts while ensuring you are not at fault and in breach of contract, with all of the associated costs, if you are unable to complete because of a coronavirus related issue. Speak to a conveyancing solicitor for advice. You should not expect to move into any home where people are ill or self-isolating.
Packing and Moving
The government advise you do as much of the packing yourself. If you are using a removals firm or someone outside your household is helping you, then these additional rules apply:
clean your belongings where possible before being handled
leave doors open
do not provide refreshments
use separate towels or paper towels for hand washing where possible
If you need help with your move, find a local removals firm and get removals quotes now. You may want to speak to a cleaning firm for your home, or the house you are moving into. A deep clean of your onward home once it has been vacated might help put you at ease. Click here to find a cleaner near you, . If removal firms are not available, one other household can help you with your belongings if absolutely necessary.
The Moving Day
People outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary. It goes without saying that the basic steps you take when moving home is to wash your hands frequently and keep as much distance as possible from other people who are not members of your household. Ensure you follow the latest guidance on practical steps to reduce transmission. and maintain a 2 metre distance apart where possible.
Click here for The Which Moving House Checklist to ensure that you have covered everything.