Moving House During a Global Pandemic

We know that moving house is stressful enough, but in the middle of a global pandemic adds an unbelievable amount of worry. The UK Government released fresh advice on the 26th March 2020 to all parties involved in the process of moving home during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

We urge all parties involved in home moving to adapt and be flexible to alter their usual processes.

During the last few weeks, we’ve all had to adapt how we go about our daily lives. Our work here at Wosskow Brown is no different. We have adapted to the developing situation quickly and effectively and we are still here to help you. While we’re not in the office, we are still at the end of a phone call or email.

No need to pull out of a transaction

The Government advises that there is no need to pull out of a transaction. It goes on to say:

We all need to ensure we are following guidance to stay at home and away from others at all times, including the specific measures for those who are presenting symptoms, self-isolating or shielding. Prioritising the health of individuals and the public must be the priority.

If the property being bought is vacant, then there is no reason not to carry on with the transaction, and we will support that. Where the property is occupied, where ever possible, our Property Team will work with you, the vendor, vendor’s conveyancer and estate agents, to amicably agree to delay completion until after the stay-at-home measure are no longer in place.

In line with the Government’s advice, we would recommend that anyone showing symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from Coronavirus, should follow medical advice and not continue with moving house for the time being. Again, we will do all we can to help those in this situation to agree an amicable delay.

Mortgage Offer Deadlines

To support customers, UK Finance have confirmed that all mortgage lenders are working hard to find ways to enable customers who have exchanged contracts, to extend their mortgage offer for up to three months, enabling them to move at a later date.

If a mortgage customer’s circumstances change during this period or the terms of the house purchase change significantly and continuing with the same mortgage offer would cause financial hardship, lenders will work with their customers to help them manage their finances as a matter of urgency.

Looking to Sell?

Now is not the time to get an estate agent round for a valuation, but it is a great time to get your home ship-shape for potential buyers.

It is a great time for a spring clean though. Why not look at removing some clutter, but don’t remove any personality. Deep cleaning the kitchen and bathroom is a sure fire way to present your home in its best light. Get rid of the limescale and give the tile grout a good scrub.

While the DIY shops may not be open to buy supplies for painting, if you have any tins of paint knocking around in the garage or shed, they may be perfect for freshening up around the house.

Look at where your wall decorations hang. Wall mirrors are great at making a space feel bigger and lighter. Could your mirrors be hung in places that would reflect light around the room better?

With the great weather we’re having at the moment too, make sure you’re out in the garden as well. Mow the lawn, weed the flower beds, and prune any trees and bushes. While a tidy garden doesn’t add much to the value of a house, the kerbside appeal will go down well with prospective buyers when the time comes.

You could use this time to gather all the information you will need when it comes to moving house though. Do you know where your Gas Safe, Fensa, electrical safety, building regulations certificates and any appropriate guarantees are?  Now is a great time to go looking for all the helpful documents you will need to provide to potential buyers. It’ll certainly speed up the process if you have these documents to hand.

Already on the market?

If your house is already on the market, then we’re sorry to say, you shouldn’t be expecting or having any viewings. During this period of stay-at-home measures, you shouldn’t be inviting anyone into your home. You could ask your agent about virtual viewings, but only if they have detailed photos, tour videos or 360 degree views already available. Your agent shouldn’t be coming round to visit at this time either.

Buying or selling during this period can continue, but it is likely to take longer than normal, and that isn’t something that we can control. You can be assured that we will progress matters as much as we can, but we have agreed to be amicable of others needs too. We’re sure that you’ll agree this is fair.

Completion going ahead?

Due to the speed that things are developing, there will be people who have already committed to moving house. Where possible, we would encourage them to delay, but that might not always be possible.

If your move is going ahead, please take sensible precautions to make sure your move can happen safely.

Follow the Government advice. Currently (as of March26th), work carried out in people’s homes can continue, provided the tradesperson is well and showing no symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Maintain a responsible social distance, stay at least 2 meters away from others. Wash your hands regularly, use soap and water for at least 20 seconds (happy birthday to you… ) or use sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available. And no work should be carried out by any person who has Coronavirus symptoms, no matter how mild.

Our services

During this period, we will continue to support the sales of unoccupied and right-to-buy properties that are already occupied by the buyers.

We will make every effort to support clients that are due to complete on occupied properties to change the completion date during the stay-at-home period.

We encourage our clients who are ready to move, but have not yet exchanged to delay their purchase unless explicit provisions are made for the risks presented by the virus.

Finally, we urge anyone involved in a property chain with someone who is showing symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus to do all they can to help agree a new date outside the stay-at-home period. We will certainly do all we can to help.

Stay safe folks.

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