The housing secretary, Robert Jenrick, said yesterday that conveyancers can now restart operations to get things moving as around 450,000 buyers and renters had been put on hold due to the coronavirus crisis. Estate agents and show homes can reopen, viewings can be carried out and removal firms can restart. Everything is, of course, subject to the current social distancing rules, so everyone involved must maintain a distance of least two metres from each other, and, those who are self-isolating must remain doing so.
Under previous rules in England, moving house, where it was necessary and couldn’t be avoided, was one of the valid reasons people could leave their homes. Many people have used online viewings, whilst more have been holding back until they can view properties in person. The rules have now been amended, so, whilst virtual viewings are still recommended where possible, you can physically view a property in which you are interested, as long as you follow strict guidelines put in place by the government, such as:
- Practice social distancing.
- Only view properties with people who already live with you and limit the number where possible.
- Avoid touching surfaces. Use your own hand sanitiser and wash hands regularly.
- If you are selling your home, try to vacate it whilst viewings are taking place. Leave windows and doors open where possible and clean surfaces and door handles, for example, when the viewing is over.
There is also guidance that will help everyone stay safe whilst you are packing up to move home. You can find the full government advice relating to moving home during the coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak here.
If you are selling your property, you can now start to prepare it, which includes hiring the necessary tradespeople, who will follow the government’s safer working guidance.
Graysons’ property experts can still help you with your sale or purchase and are already practicing safe working. We are working remotely and can deal with most issues without you having to come into the office, including:
- Taking your initial instructions.
- Checking title and raising and dealing with enquiries.
- Arranging searches and dealing with your mortgage lender.
- Exchanging contracts and dealing with completion.
- Paying stamp duty on your behalf and updating the Land Registry.
Caroline Murray, partner and head of Graysons’ property team, says:
“This is really good news for the housing market. According to Zoopla, around £82 billion property sales have been put on hold during the coronavirus lockdown. As well as the many people who will be delighted to be able to move forward with their sale and purchase now, there will be more who will be happy to be able to get out to look for a new home or put their property up for sale during what is traditionally the busiest time for the housing market.”
Author: Caroline Murray, partner and head of the property team.