On 26th March 2020 the UK government released official guidelines for those buying/selling a property or moving home during these unprecedented times. Below are answers to some of your frequently asked questions.
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Have property transactions been banned?
Absolutely not. In line with wider guidance, the government has urged everyone involved in a property sale to work within and adapt to new restrictions around social distancing and self-isolation. So much of our business can be done online, though, and we actively encourage you to enquire as normal during this time.
Do I need to pull out of an existing transaction?
There is no need to pull out of transactions, we all need to ensure we are following guidance to stay at home and away from others at all times, including the specific measures for those who are presenting symptoms, self-isolating or shielding.
Can I still exchange contracts?
If the property you are purchasing is unoccupied you can continue with the transaction. This will be the case with our new homes and off-plan properties.
If the property you are purchasing is currently occupied, it is recommended that all parties should work to either delay the exchange of contracts until after the period where stay-at-home measures to fight coronavirus (COVID-19) are in place, or include explicit contractual provisions to take account of the risks presented by the virus.
Are mortgage offers still valid if completion is delayed?
UK Finance have confirmed that, to support customers who have already exchanged contracts for house purchases and set dates for completion, all mortgage lenders are working to find ways to enable customers who have exchanged contracts to extend their mortgage offer for up to 3 months to enable them to move at a later date.
If a customer’s circumstances change during this 3 month period or the terms of the house purchase change significantly and continuing with the mortgage would cause house buyers to face financial hardship, lenders will work with customers to help them manage their finances as a matter of urgency.
Can I put my property on the market?
You can prepare your property for the market. If the property is unoccupied we can still photograph and list online. However, physical inspections or viewings should not take place or visits from photographers or surveyors if the property is occupied.
What about viewings / virtual viewings?
Whilst Physical viewings are not permitted at this time, our virtual viewings have been extremely popular with buyers and renters alike. We are able to offer virtual tours and video footage on a number of our properties.
Can I move house?
Moving house should only be considered if absolutely necessary. If moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons and the parties are unable to reach an agreement to delay, people must follow advice on staying away from others to minimise the spread of the virus.
The buying and selling process can continue during this period but you should be aware that the process is likely to take longer than normal.
You are free to continue to accept offers on your property, however the selling process may take longer.
Advice for people to stay at home and away from others means you should not invite visitors into your home, including prospective buyers or advisors.
To speak to someone today about your property requirements, call 0161 639 0050