Moving house during COVID-19 - Your questions answered
Julia Madden, 21st May, 2020
Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, the residential property market has shown a degree of resilience. Our team has been busy helping clients through this period and in this blog, Julia Madden provides answers to the questions most frequently asked by clients.
Can I still put my property on the market?
Yes. There is nothing to stop you from putting your property on the market now. Estate Agents are allowed to visit properties to take photos and make videos, but the way your property is marketed is likely to be different. The government are encouraging virtual viewings. Physical viewings will be limited to members of the same household only. It is also recommended you vacate the property if a viewing is to take place. If this is not possible, you must adhere to the social distancing rules. All internal doors should remain open whilst a viewing is taking place to limit the number of surfaces that are touched. It is also recommended that after any viewings you clean surfaces, such as door handles with standard household cleaning products.
If I find a property, I want to purchase will I still be able to have a survey and inspections carried out?
Yes. If you find a property you wish to purchase surveyors and tradespersons are allowed to enter the property to carry our surveys, gas inspections, electrical inspections etc. Surveyors and tradespeople have been issued with guidance that they need to comply with to allow them to do their job safely. You will of course need to adhere to the social distancing rules whilst they are in your property.
What if I, or a member of my family, get ill with coronavirus or need to self-isolate and are unable to move on the agreed completion date?
A lot of solicitors/conveyancers are currently only doing simultaneous exchange and completions. This means you are not legally bound to move until the day of completion. You will be contacted on the day of completion to ensure you are still happy to proceed. This means if anyone gets ill with Coronavirus or has to self-isolate completion can be delayed right up to the day of completion.
If contracts have exchanged there are clauses that can be added to the contract to ensure that if someone becomes ill with coronavirus or has to self-isolate, then completion can be delayed. The government are encouraging people to be flexible during these unprecedented times.
Can I use a removal firm?
Removal firms are able to operate but are having to adjust procedures. You are advised to contact removal firms as early as possible to discuss your requirements with them. It is advised you pack as much as you can yourself. You should also wash down your belongings with domestic cleaning products before and after they are handles by the removal firm. The government have also recommended that you provide handwashing facilities for the removal firm, using separate towels or disposable towels, which should be washed or disposed of.
If I am buying or selling a house will the process take longer?
At Gosschalks we are doing everything within our power to ensure there are no additional delays as a result of Covid19, but there are now additional challenges that all parties face. Many solicitors/conveyancers are working remotely and a lot of them are working with smaller teams then they previously had. Local authorities are working with limited staff and this is resulting in Local Authority Searches taking longer to come back. Mortgage offers may take longer to issue as banks are extremely busy at the minute and many are also working with reduced staff. What Gosschalks do promise is that they will do everything they can to make sure your matter progresses as smoothly and as quickly as possible.