We break down the advice from the Government, mortgage lenders and solicitors when it comes to navigating moving home during lockdown.
During these unprecedented times, there is a lot of uncertainty for home buyers and sellers. TRUE Solicitors' residential conveyancing team has answered the most commonly asked questions on the subject of your legal rights while moving home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Can you still put your home on the market?
You can also still put your house on the market but it may not be practical right now. You are not allowed professional photographers to take pictures of your home, and advertising without those can lead to a 61% loss in page views on a house selling site. Similarly, many buyers will not purchase a property without physically entering the home. Therefore, this is the best time to ensure your house is in its best selling shape.
Can you legally move home?
You do not need to pull out of transactions but follow safety guidelines. If the property is vacant you are moving into, you can continue with this transaction, but you should follow guidance on home removals. If you are moving into a property that will have occupants until the moving date, all parties are encouraged to move the date until stay at home measures are no longer in place.
Will your solicitors still help with your move?
If you have already instructed a solicitor to help you with buying or selling your property, they will continue to assist you throughout the process. Many law firms are now working remotely and adapted their processes to allow for the sending and receiving of electronic paperwork. It's important to be aware that the legal process of buying and selling is likely to take longer, due to the impact of delays in surveys etc.
Can you still accept offers?
If someone puts in an offer at this moment, you can still accept it. But, be aware that the selling process will take longer.
Can you exchange a contract?
It is still possible to exchange contracts at this time, nevertheless, the Government advises that if the property that you are purchasing is currently occupied, all parties involved in the chain should agree to delay the exchange of contracts until after the lockdown is lifted; or include explicit contractual provisions to take account of the risks presented by the virus. If the property is vacant, you can exchange as normal although we are recommending that exchange takes place on the day of completion in case the lockdown restrictions change.
What about a removal company?
Removers are being encouraged to honour their existing commitments if it can be done safely and the moving date cannot be changed. Removers must follow the latest guidelines that states work can be carried out in people’s homes, as long as the tradesperson has not displayed any symptoms (no matter how mild) of COVID-19. Removers should practice maintaining a 2 metre distance, along with continually washing hands for 20 seconds.
Are you due to move in the next few months? Let us know on social! Tweet us @goodhomesmag or post a comment on our Facebook page.