With the UK in lockdown until the end of March we asked David Ramon from our Camberley team what this means for house moves, purchases and sales, here’s what he had to say.
“There’s a lot of confusion about moving house at the moment. As an essential part of modern day living the government have made sure that the housing industry continues to move forward and that people are still able to move whether they are selling, buying or renting.
People move for all sorts of reasons including for work, schools or even for financial reasons. The good news is you still can move house during lockdown, however, we need to follow certain government guidance and restrictions.
So, here are the finer details on moving house during lockdown:
- Viewings can still take place, but these are now vetted and pre-qualified as well as buyers or tenants needing to virtually view the property first. Being thorough with these initial steps will provide us as estate agents and you as a seller or landlord with a better quality of buyer or tenant.
- Once a buyer or tenant come and physically views your home, your estate agent should take further steps to make sure that they follow guidance provided by the government. This includes wearing face masks and gloves and not touching anything at the property. Buyers and tenants will also come in a limited number of only two per viewing. This allows your estate agent to minimise the risk and the points of contact in the homes.
- At Bridges, we are finding at the moment that the extra due diligence we are doing to pre-qualify these buyers and tenants is resulting in a much better conversion rate from viewings to offers. Hence why at the moment properties are selling and renting incredibly quickly to the best buyers and tenants.”
Bridges Top Tips for buyers moving house during lockdown
Make sure you are in a position to offer. If you need a mortgage, you should seek advice as early as possible to ensure you are in a strong position against potential competition for the property. Your estate agent should be able to provide you with up to the minute mortgage rate information.
There are various websites to aid your search for a new home, but registering with estate agents direct will give you the edge in finding out about new properties first. It is very likely they will have properties on their books that are not on the websites or available to the wider market yet.
Our search specialists are on hand to answer any questions you may have, as well as offer advice on properties and specific areas you are interested in. Understanding what areas will suit your requirements and which may fall short, as well as knowing the going rate for properties in your chosen areas is key to finding your perfect home and successfully moving house in lockdown.
When looking to buy a new house during COVID, we recommend speak to the agents you are registered with as often as possible on the phone. Let them know you are keen to find your new home, tell them about any properties you have missed out on and what you liked about them. All of this information will allow your agent to find you a new home which fits your requirements.
We are all trying to be careful and stay home as much as possible during this period of lockdown, so, if you’re looking to move house during lockdown, we therefore recommend shortlisting properties before deciding which to view. A great way to do this is to ask your estate agent if they have a video tour of the properties you’re interested in, this may help you decided whether to physically view them or not.
Bridges Top Tips for sellers moving house during lockdown
STARTING/RESTARTING YOUR SALE
Make sure your estate agent has embraced the new normal, how have they adapted, are they motivated, are they prepared? If you were on the market pre lockdown was your agent still operating, contacting you and servicing your needs during this period? These are all areas to consider when selecting an estate agent if you are wanting to move house during lockdown and in these strange COVID times.
As Zoom/FaceTime type video calls have become a popular way to keep in communication, have you and your estate agent had one to discuss what happens next and what plans the agent has in place for your property?
During the lockdown, enquiries on property have been high. Estate agents that have been servicing their sellers during this period and dealing with questions from buyers will undoubtedly have a fresh buyer database keen to find their new property and possibly even ready to move house during this lockdown.
It is likely there will be a surge of properties being put up for sale, because of the lockdown, sellers have had to wait during what is normally the busiest months for properties coming to the market. Therefore, it’s worth questioning whether your estate agent has an enhanced marketing plan with social media and a range of other channels in place to make your property stand out from the crowd before signing any contracts.
Have you arranged a video tour of your home? Government guidelines state estate agents should strongly encourage buyers to view properties virtually in the first instance, then physically inspect the property once they have a strong interest in it. Not only will this keep both yourself and any potential buyers safe but will also provide access to the property remotely for anyone who does not yet feel comfortable leaving the house very often, only once these buyers have a keen interest in the property will they then want to come and view.
If you are looking to move house during lockdown and would like the support of expert estate agents then please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team who will be more than happy to assist you whether you are looking to buy, rent, sell or let.