Parry House, Birchwood Boulevard, Birchwood, WA3 7QU

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Sat: 9am - 5pm

Property Lockdown Lowdown

Due to the potential delays for those currently proceeding with their sale/ purchase, the Government have acknowledged and addressed that all relevant parties will need to alter usual practice, and have sought to ease this process for all involved by: -

·        Issuing their guidance, developed with Public Health England, to homebuyers/ sellers and those involved in the selling and moving process.

·        Agreeing with banks that mortgage offers should be extended where delay to completions takes place in order to prioritise safety.

·        Working with conveyancers to develop a standard legal process for moving completion dates.

 

What does this mean for existing homebuyers and sellers?

·        Home buyers and renters should, where possible, delay moving to a new house while measures are in place to fight coronavirus (COVID-19).

·       Their advice is that if you have already exchanged contracts and the property is currently occupied then all parties should work together to agree a delay or another way to resolve this matter.

·        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.

·        In line with government’s advice, anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus, should follow medical advice which will mean not moving house for the time being, if at all possible. All parties should prioritise agreeing amicable arrangements to change move dates for individuals in this group, or where someone in a chain is in this group.

 

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

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.

Thinking of selling?

Getting your home onto the market may be more challenging than normal in this period, but not impossible!  Although we cannot carry out physical market appraisals of your home, we can now offer virtual appointments in this interim period instead. 

·        You can arrange a virtual valuation appointment to speak to us over the phone via Zoom, Whatsapp video or any other video enabled conferencing tools so that we can still see your home and offer you the same expert advice about your property, talk you through comparable evidence, discuss a suitable selling price/ strategy and any questions you may have about the local property market.  To arrange a virtual valuation, visit https://www.harper-williams.co.uk/valuation

·        We can provide the same service remotely and confirm everything in writing afterwards as normal, following our appointment.

·        If you are thinking about selling, you can also use this time wisely to start gathering all the information you will need to provide to potential purchasers.

·        And there is no time like the present to do all those very important ‘first impressions’ odd jobs that you have been meaning to do before launching your property to the market! 

 

Viewings

  • If your property is already on the market, you can continue to advertise it as being for sale, but you should not allow people in to view your property.
  • To ensure that motivated buyers who are still eager to buy can view your property, we can now offer virtual viewings for prospective purchasers to overcome the restrictions currently of an accompanied viewing.
  • This means potential buyers can still view and get themselves in the right buying position once the restrictions have been removed.  By buying ready, we mean having all their financials in place making sure they have an Agreement in Principle with their preferred mortgage lender and deposit funds, or other finances in order if proceeding down alternative routes. Our expert mortgage advisers can help to get you in the best possible buying position, for those needing some assistance. 

To view all our currently available properties, visit our website https://www.harper-williams.co.uk/properties-for-sale, where you can request a virtual viewing, which we will be delighted to arrange for you.

 

Accepting offers

·        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 which of course includes mortgage surveyors.

 

Exchanging contracts

An exchange of contracts offers the security to both seller and buyer and once exchanged contracts has taken place, you have entered into a legally binding agreement to sell/ purchase the property.

·        If the property you are purchasing is unoccupied you can continue with the transaction.

·        If the property you are purchasing is currently occupied, the government recommend 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. 

 

Estate agents

We are still able to support our clients fully during this tricky period from the comfort of our own homes.  The government guidelines advise that: -

·        Agents should work with their clients and other agents to broker a new date to move where sales are due to complete on occupied properties in the current period where emergency measures are in place to fight coronavirus (COVID-19).

·        Agents should prioritise support for anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus, and those they are in chain with, to agree a new date.

·        In line with advice for certain businesses to close, agents should not open branches to the public during this period or visit people’s homes to carry out market appraisals.  However virtual appointments can replace these instead.

·        Agents should ensure that employees can work from home, to continue to support existing clients and advise potential new clients.

·        Agents should continue to progress sales where this can be done whilst following guidance to stay at home and away from others.

·        Agents should advise clients to be patient and not to exchange contracts unless the contracts have explicit terms to manage the timing risks presented by the virus.  We can talk you through this in more detail for those wanting further clarity!

 

Conveyancers/ Solicitors

·       Conveyancers should continue to support the sales process as far as possible and should make sure their clients are aware of the difficulties of completing transactions in this period.

·       Conveyancers should continue to support the sales of unoccupied properties as far as possible.

·       Conveyancers should make every effort to support clients who are due to complete on occupied properties in the stay-at-home period to change this date.

·       Conveyancers should advise their clients who are ready to move not to exchange contracts on an occupied property unless they have made explicit provision for the risks presented by the virus.

·       Conveyancers should prioritise supporting anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus and those they are in chain with, and we urge them to do all they can to help a new date to be agreed in these circumstances.

·        Where the property being moved into is vacant, then you can continue with this transaction although you should follow the guidance on home removals, explained further down. 

·        If a property is currently occupied, they should encourage all parties to do all they can to amicably agree alternative dates to move, for a time when it is likely that stay-at-home measures against coronavirus (COVID-19) will no longer be in place.

·        There is an exemption for critical home moves, if a new date is unable to be agreed.

 

Surveyors

·        Surveyors should not expect to carry out non-urgent surveys in homes where people are in residence, and no inspections should take place if any person in the property is showing symptoms, or self-isolating. 

·        It may be possible to carry out some of your work online and carry out urgent surveys on empty properties, or those where the occupants are out of the property or following guidance to stay at home and away from others.

·        Surveyors should follow the latest government guidance which currently (26 March 2020) states that work carried out in people’s homes can continue, provided the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).

·        It is important to ensure government guidelines are followed, including maintaining a 2-metre distance from others, and washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available).

·        No work should be carried out by a person who has coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, however mild.

 

Removals firms

There will be people who have already committed to moving home; where possible the government guidelines encourage them to delay their move, but a small number of moves may need to go ahead. In this instance, we would urge everyone to take all sensible precautions to ensure the move can happen safely.

·       Removers should honour their existing commitments where it is clear that the move can be done safely for the client and your own staff and it is clear that the moving date cannot be moved.

·       Removers should follow the latest government guidance which currently (26 March 2020) states that work carried out in people’s homes can continue, provided the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms or coronavirus (COVID-19).

·        It is important to ensure government guidelines are followed, including maintaining a 2-metre distance from others, and washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available).

·        No work should be carried out by a person who has coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, however mild.

 

If anyone would like any further advice or clarification about the moving process during this time, please do not hesitate to contact a member or our friendly team on 01925 407210 or visit our website at www.harper-williams.co.uk.

 

When you’re happy, we’re happy!

The Property Ombudsman NAEA Zoopla Primelocation