Tue 14 Apr 2020

Advice on moving home during the coronavirus outbreak

Advice on moving home during the coronavirus outbreak - BalgoresOur news

If you’re currently in the process of buying or selling your home, the recent news stories around putting your transactions on hold have likely raised more questions than they’ve answered, during which we appreciate is probably an already stressful time for you.

In this guide, we’ll aim to familiarise you with what the government advice is, what it means for both buyers and sellers, explore any notable exceptions to the rules, as well as help on what to do next.

What was the government update on moving home during the covid-19 outbreak?

The advice outlined by the government on March 26th, applies to anyone buying or selling private, residential homes, which they intend to live in, and is asking that home buyers and renters should “where possible, delay moving into a new house, while measures are in place to fight coronavirus.”

However, the advice also states that there is “no need to pull out of transactions”, but that “prioritising the health of individuals and the public must be the priority.”

If the property I’m moving into is vacant, can I still move?

If the property you are moving into is vacant, then you may continue with your transaction, as long as you follow advice regarding social distancing. Those who are presenting symptoms, are in self-isolation or shielding should remain at home.

What if my new property is currently occupied?

If the property you’re planning to move into is currently occupied, and you’ve already exchanged contracts, the government has advised all parties to be adaptable and flexible in agreeing alternative moving dates.

To aid with this decision, the government has made agreements with banks for mortgage offers to be extended where delays to completions take place.

What if an extension goes beyond the terms of a mortgage agreement?

All mortgage lenders are currently working on allowing customers who have already exchanged contracts and set dates, to extend their mortgage offer for up to 3 months.

Naturally we’re surrounded by a lot of uncertainty at the moment, and many people’s circumstances might change, such as losing their job, or being furloughed by their employers. If your situation does change during this 3 month period, and continuing with the mortgage would cause financial hardship, then lenders will work with their customers to “help them manage their finances as a matter of urgency.”

Are there any exceptions to the rules for moving home during the coronavirus outbreak?

There is an exemption for critical home moves in the event that a new date is unable to be agreed. If moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons, then people must adhere to social distancing rules.

What if my home is not yet already on the market?

If you’re thinking of getting your home on the market at the moment, the process is naturally a bit different to normal, but it is still possible. You’re also still allowed to promote your property.

The main advice to bear in mind is that there should be “no visitors to your home”, and that of course means you can’t let people into your property for viewings, or have visits from Energy Performance Certificate assessors, or from property agents undertaking market appraisals or taking internal photos. What you can do however, is allow your agent to conduct virtual viewings.

This is something we’re offering at Balgores. As well as video viewings and video valuations, we’re also offering free advice, and all our staff are working from home, to support you during these unprecedented times.

Can I accept an offer on my house during the current coronavirus situation?

The buying and selling process is allowed to continue as normal during the current situation, but it makes sense to be aware that the process may take a little longer than it would usually.

As long as you conduct any viewings or valuations virtually, and adhere to the advice given, you are able to accept offers on your property.

We’re here to help; please call or email us for any enquiries, or submit a form on the website, and a member of our team will be happy to get in touch and talk through any questions you may have.

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