Life in Lockdown: Moving House
There has been a lot of confusion surrounding COVID-19 and the restrictions on the property market over the last few weeks, so here’s some clarity on moving house, sourced from Government websites, to help make things simpler.
Can I move house?
There has been a lot of misinformation doing the rounds saying that no one can move house under any circumstances. Well, according to the Government’s official website, that’s just not true.
You are allowed to move house if you are at a point where you are under ‘contractual reasons and/or where the parties are unable to reach an agreement to delay.’
This means that if you are already at the stage where you have signed and exchanged contracts, then you can proceed with your move.
The Government guidelines state that if you can delay your move, you should try and do so to minimise the risk of spreading Coronavirus. Additionally, if you have symptoms of Coronavirus, then you should take every available step to delay your move.
How Can I Make My Move Safe?
If you are moving house within lockdown, there are a couple of things you can do to protect yourself and your family;
Stagger the move – work out with the other people in your chain to space out the moving days. So, the people at the end of the chain move first, leaving the house you are moving into empty.
You should then aim to move in only once they have left – preferably the next day so there’s no risk of you bumping into one another.
Deep clean – As well as cleaning your own home before you move, be prepared to have a deep clean of your new property before you bring in your furniture and possessions.
What if the delay goes outside of my mortgage arrangement terms?
According to UK Finance and the Gov.uk website, many lenders are working with homebuyers and sellers to extend mortgage terms for up to 3 months, in order to facilitate delays due to Coronavirus.
Speak to your own mortgage lender if you need to delay moving house and then should be able to offer advice and help to sort you out.
Can I still put my house on the market?
The short answer is yes, there’s no restrictions on putting your house up for sale during lockdown. However, you are warned against having people over to your home, so you won’t be able to get an estate agent over for a valuation and you won’t be able to take viewings at your property.
If you and your chosen estate agent work together via email and phone, you still may be able to agree on a market price, send photos of your property, and offer virtual viewings of your home to potential buyers.
The only change will be that once you accept an offer, you are likely to be facing a longer moving process while lockdown is still in place.
Can I put an offer on a property?
As with selling your home, there’s no restriction on making an offer on a property, but the same restrictions to actually viewing and moving will apply.
You won’t be able to go and view the property in person, so you may have to rely on virtual viewings. And if your offer is accepted, you may be facing a longer moving process as well.
You can find more of the Government’s recommendations about moving during lockdown on the gov.uk website.