Moving house naturally creates a lot of questions about the process, so we understand that adding lockdown ever-changing restrictions to the mix can make it seem pretty stressful. But there’s no need to put off your dream move! We have the answers to those extra questions you’re no doubt asking - and the great news is… it can all still happen!
Unlike the lockdown early 2020, the government announced that for "lockdown 3", the housing market can continue to operate, while adhering to Covid-19 safety procedures. On top of this good news, another positive is that we’re now very well-practised at working to safety guidelines, (so too are surveyors and mortgage valuers). This keeps things as swift and safe as possible.
So, what do the lockdown restrictions and procedures actually mean for your potential sale, purchase and move in 2021?
We’ve gathered together answers to our top ten frequently asked questions to help explain - so you can press ahead with your move with peace of mind.
1. “Can we still book a valuation?”
Yes - we are still carrying out valuations with procedures in place for the wellbeing of our staff, clients and the wider community. You can help us create a safe environment by providing us with as much information about your property as you can, in advance. This means we won’t need to discuss as much in person. Then we’ll just ask you to follow these simple guidelines during our visit to your property.
2. “Can we still view houses in lockdown?”
Yes - again with safety procedures in place. Also, we recommend asking if there is a virtual tour viewing first and using this to evaluate whether you like the property. That way you can decide before you go whether it’s worth your time visiting in person.
3. “Can potential buyers visit our house for a viewing?”
Yes. However, we will encourage them to do a virtual tour first. It’s beneficial to you as a vendor because it qualifies a potential buyer before they come out to view your property. This makes the viewing more worthwhile, with a higher chance of it turning into an offer because the viewer is already very interested in your home. Take a look at 5 ways virtual tours can speed up selling your home.
4. “Can we still move house in lockdown”
Yes. The government confirmed that people can continue with planned moves, as well as view and make offers on new properties to move into. Estate agents, removers and solicitors are all continuing to work, so you can still access their services. You just need to bear in mind a few considerations and changes to usual working practices, such as:
- Removal firms will still be able to assist your move, but they have to work to safety procedures, so it’s best you contact them as early as possible to secure a slot and confirm what preparations you need to make, in advance of them entering your property
- If removal firms are unavailable, another household is allowed to help you move your belongings, but social distancing guidelines need to be followed
- If your move is a long-distance move, you can stay overnight in a hotel away from your home with your own household or support bubble during the move, as long as you do not stay with other households
- If you want a tradesperson to carry out an inspection on the property you are moving into, you should schedule these with one person visiting at a time, following safer working guidance
- If a member of your household develops symptoms of COVID-19 or is self-isolating, your move date will need to be postponed, while you follow the latest guidance
- Your legal adviser should help you make sure that any contract you enter into has flexibility to allow for the purchase to be delayed if this happens, or if an individual in the other party contracts COVID-19 or has to self-isolate.
You can take a look at the full government guidelines here, but don’t worry if this seems like a lot to read through. We’re here to advise you each step of the way, to help your moving day go as smoothly as possible.
5. “What happens if we return to the tier system?”
Good news! Across all tiers (yes, even tier 4!) we are allowed to continue house viewings, valuations and moves with safety procedures in place. So you can continue with your moving journey, no problem.
6. "Is your physical office open during lockdown?"
We are open but we're asking you to avoid 'popping by' to maximise safety for our team and yourselves.
Despite our offices not being open to the public, your move won't be affected at all. We are doing everything on the phone or remotely.
7. "Is it unwise to list my house for sale over lockdown"
Absolutely not. In fact, we find it’s the opposite. During lockdown, people think more about moving (to accommodate family lifestyle better, for example!). In fact, in some cases, people have more time to browse properties and book viewings.
8. "Is Follwells COVID-secure? "
Yes, we’ve altered our working practices in line with government guidelines to keep our clients and staff as safe as possible. We’re very well-practised in working to the latest safety procedures and can advise and update you on these at each step of your moving journey.
9. "Are we still eligible for the stamp duty holiday?"
Yes, but time is running out. The official deadline is 31 March 2021 and there is a lot of demand right now - especially on solicitors. If you want to take advantage of it, start your house search now.
10. "How long will it take to move during this uncertain time?"
We can’t say for certain but it can take longer due to surged demand on solicitors. However, there are a number of things you can do to help your move go as quickly as possible. Here are our tips on moving fast.
Your dream move can still go ahead
We hope we’ve answered a lot of your questions about selling, buying and moving during lockdown 3 and ongoing restrictions - and that you feel reassured and more confident about your future move. We understand there are a few extra things to consider at the moment, but we’re very experienced in helping people move safely and swiftly during lockdown.
Overall, lockdown doesn't need to stop your dream move from happening. We’re still progressing house sales and beginning new ones every day, so don’t put off your moving goals!
Get in touch and let us help you secure your dream move this festive period. We’re here to help answer any further questions you may have.
Newcastle 01782 615530