Ironically, during both the previous and current Covid 19 lockdowns, the UK property market is as healthy and as buoyant as it’s ever been. Demand has been fuelled by the Chancellors stamp duty holiday and an incredibly low Bank of England interest rate leading to some very competitive mortgage products. However, given the lockdown and the ‘stay at home’ safety measures, just how does one go about viewing new homes and moving?
Well, the good news is that Estate Agents, removal companies, and surveyors are all still able to work; after all, there would be little point to a stamp duty holiday if this wasn’t so! It therefore follows that you can still view potential new homes, whether you are buying or renting and you are still able to move - BUT when doing so, not only must you follow guidelines, but also, you need to apply a degree of good old fashioned common sense!
More and more estate agents are offering virtual tours of homes. Take advantage of this to help you draw up a short list for the places you would actually like to see first - hand. Organise with the estate agent unaccompanied viewings where, if needs be, both the agent and the vendor remain outside the property whilst you look around inside. Take a pen and paper with you to write down any questions that occur whilst walking around. You can then relay these questions from a safe distance outside the property or via phone, email or ‘Teams’ / ‘Zoom’ after the event. Prior to viewing, ask that all doors be left open and whilst at the property avoid, as far as is possible, touching any surfaces or other people’s possessions. Naturally, you must wear a mask and it’s a good idea to keep with you a small hand sanitiser. Please - do not take your children along!
If you are selling, avoid open house viewings – instead, stick to pre booked ‘one person at a time’ viewings, leaving internal doors open and wiping all surfaces, handles and light switches down immediately after.
If you or a member of your family has recently had Coronavirus or been in contact with someone that has, then you must self-isolate; there can be no ‘buts!’ The move process will just have to be put on hold until the recommended isolation period has passed.
We recommend that you pack, as far as is possible, your own belongings. Remember that the property market is currently very busy - yet some removal companies might not be operating or could be short staffed. With this in mind - it is worth booking your removal company as early on as you can.
If you need to arrange trades people to visit the property you are moving to, do this on a ‘one person at a time’ basis, ensuring that you clean all surfaces, handles and light switches after they have left.
Hotels and B&B’s are allowed to remain open for specific reasons. The process of moving qualifies as one such reason. Using such temporary accommodation can be a good idea if trades are in an out at the property you are moving - keeping children and loved ones away from potential harm during the move.
For further advice on viewing, moving and getting the right mortgage product for you, speak to independent mortgage specialists Dunham McCarthy.