It goes without saying there is a high level of uncertainty at the moment with more grey areas than ever and this includes the property industry.
We are receiving a high level of calls for clarity on what house sellers and buyers can and can’t do.
On Wednesday it was clarified by the government that estate agents were formally allowed to return to work with the respect of social distancing and strict hygiene measures. Along with estate agent’s construction workers were also advised they could start their engines with the intentions of kick starting the property market.
So, I suppose the first question is
CAN I VIEW A PROPERTY?
During lockdown physical viewings on properties were not permitted, however many estate agents were offering virtual viewings by using apps such as WhatsApp and Facetime in the form of a video call. Since the slight relaxation by the government it is now possible to attend a physical viewing of a property, which has to be good news for everyone. However, it goes without saying that social distancing measures have to be respected by all parties. Furthermore, the government have advised sellers to ensure all external, internal and cupboard doors are open prior to the viewing, which will avoid contact between viewer and fixtures within your property. One thing the government has said is that only one viewing at a time, so open houses are a no no, there should also be a good sized gap in between each viewing.
CAN I NOW MOVE HOUSE?
You may have agreed to sell your property and completed the legal process prior to the lockdown or even during lockdown but due to the restrictions have been unable to move out of your house and into your new home. Good news, if all parties in your chain feel comfortable about completing the transaction and moving you can. However, again it goes without saying that this has to be done with the respect of social distancing and a thorough deep clean of the property you move into is advised. Another recommendation would be to try and move yourself without using a removal company but if this is not possible ensure you use a company who has the right measures in place.
UPDATE ON EXISTING TRANSACTIONS
Prior to lockdown there were 1000’s of people who had agreed to sell their property but due to a number of reasons their house sale stalled. This week we have seen valuers/surveyors return to their job of work. The Land Registry have started to complete applications and a number of solicitor practices have asked their employees to return to work. All of this should help those transactions which had hit a brick wall so if you were one of these people I would expect you to see progress on your sale/purchase shortly.
HOW HAS THE INDUSTRY REACTED SINCE THE OPENING OF THE PROPERTY INDUSTRY
Figures don’t lie and the property portal Rightmove stated its website experienced a 45% jump in traffic to the site following the formal re-opening of estate agencies across the Country. Another interested statistic was enquiries about viewings had increased by 70% and there were 2,115 new properties listed in the first 5 hours of trading. This is really positive for everyone who is thinking about selling their property.