Coronavirus and Moving House – What Should You Do?

We are living through unprecedented times and as Coronavirus continues its grip on the UK, and our movements are becoming more and more restricted, many people trying to buy or sell property are unsure where they stand.

Here, Clare Egerton looks at the issues involved and advises on how best to proceed.

Sellers

For those trying to sell their house, the practicalities of doing so whilst observing social distancing are making the prospect of a sale very difficult. Whilst many estate agents are trying their hand at virtual viewings, the fact is that when it comes to buying a house, the vast majority of people will still want to view in person.

Having said this, there are still people who want to sell their homes, they perhaps just can’t complete the process right now. If your house is already on the market, there is an argument for keeping it on. With some vendors withdrawing their property from sale altogether, there will be less competition. With more people at home self-isolating, there is more time for people to spend online looking at houses!

Buyers

The majority of clients we’re dealing with who are already halfway through making a home purchase are still wanting to proceed.

The long-term effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on the property market are currently unknown. It’s unlikely the sector will be unscathed, but many economists are predicting a quick economic recovery.

Some buyers in the midst of a sale may consider trying to renegotiate the sale price. This very much depends on the stage of the process you are at; if you have already exchanged contracts, this won’t be possible. If you are keen to proceed, it’s also worth considering that re-negotiating will slow down the entire process as paperwork will need redrafting on both sides. The sheer number of householders looking to apply for mortgage holidays is also causing delays from lenders, who are taking longer to get through to and longer to process paperwork.

What if I Need to Self-Isolate?

Another factor for buyers and sellers to consider is if they need to enter self-isolation or get seriously ill. In conveyancing, there is no clause for unforeseeable circumstances in standard sale contracts. If you or a member of your family shows symptoms of Covid-19, please contact your conveyancing solicitor as soon as possible so we can work to try and agree an additional clause to allow contracts to be delayed or rescinded without financial implication.

Business as usual – But Please Bear With Us

From our perspective, we are still conducting business as usual – albeit working remotely. As such, we may need to ask for your patience during this time. Rest assured that we are working as hard as possible to ensure our clients are able to complete their purchases.

Claire Egerton is Head of Residential Property at O’Donnell Solicitors.

For any further advice, please contact Claire on 01457 761320 or email Claire.Egerton@odonnellsolicitors.co.uk.