The COVID-19 lockdown that came into place here in the UK back in March brought most house moves to a grinding halt. Here at Jordan & Halstead, we watched as estate agents and prospective buyers across the country were left frustrated as the property market stalled and home buying needed to either be postponed or cancelled. Fortunately, the lockdown has been lifted and the housing market is back up and running.
If you are someone who wants to move home but is still uncertain about how the coronavirus has changed things and what exactly you can and can’t do, then you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’re going to look at exactly you should expect from the property search and home move process while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact how we do things. From preparing for safe physical viewings and removals to potential delays and making offers – let’s take a look at buying a property during the COVID pandemic.
Can I move house now that the lockdown has been lifted?
Yes, now that the housing market is back up and running since lockdown has been lifted, it is possible to move home across the UK in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Estate agents are open and working – including the team here at Jordan & Halstead, who are always on hand for a chat about how we can help you – viewings are taking place again, and surveyors, conveyancers and removal firms are all working again too.
However, we are far from being back to normal. While the property market is back in gear, delays are to be expected and all parties involved in a house move are expected to remain flexible. Hygiene measures, social distancing and other extra measures also need to be adhered to during the process.
Preparing for property viewings
There’s a very good chance that you will be expected to perform virtual viewings of a property before actually attending for a physical viewing. Virtual visits are becoming part of the ‘new normal’ when it comes to marketing and buying property here in the UK, and your estate agent will advise you to thoroughly research any property you intend to view online first.
When attending a physical viewing, you’ll be asked to refrain from touching surfaces – the host will likely have left doors, windows and cupboards open to avoid the need for touching handles and surfaces. You’ll also need to bring the appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) such as face masks and gloves.
You’ll need to maintain proper social distancing whilst visiting a property for a physical viewing. Part of this might mean limiting the number of people you bring with you to the viewing.
Making an offer for a property
Generally speaking, you are free to make an offer on any property as you would under normal circumstances. However, it is worth noting that the risk of one of the involved parties needing to delay the move is much higher – if someone begins showing symptoms or is diagnosed with the coronavirus and needs to self isolate, the entire process can be pushed back for a matter of weeks.
Of course, if you do make an offer and it is accepted, there’s a good chance you might want to make additional visits to the property. In these cases, the same measures that are implemented for initial viewings should also be adhered to here – social distancing, hygiene measures and reduced contact. If you need to schedule tradespeople to visit the property for an inspection, then the same applies here again.
Moving into your new property
Removal firms are also back up and running, meaning that you can now plan to move all of your belongings into your new home. However, as with other aspects of your house move, the process is subject to delay and removal firms may need to be flexible. As such, we recommend that you get in touch with your removal firm as early as possible into the process.
You should also try to perform as much of the packing as possible. Your removal firm may have measures in place to do this for you safely, so it’s recommended that you inform them as to your plans regarding the packing.
Get in touch
Planning your house move during the COVID-19 pandemic? We know it is an uncertain and frustrating time. If you’re looking for more guidance and advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team here at Jordan & Halstead. We are back up and running and we are always on hand to help our clients and customers with what they need.