Selling or buying property during COVID-19

One thing is certain, the property market has been paralysed by lockdown. However, the tide is turning so if you are looking to put your home on the market or wanting to purchase a property take note.

The advance of modern technology has made everything possible now.  360 Virtual viewings are now an option and your agents can be contacted via email, with some offering video consultations.

Sellers, if you are, or have been thinking about putting your property on the market – don’t delay.

Now is the time to get your house in order- excuse the pun.  Carry out all those essential jobs that you have been putting off in order to make your property more aesthetically pleasing.  The conveyancing process comprises a number of operations that take place behind the scenes. 

For example, at the start of any sale transaction, the seller is required to complete several forms providing information about the property like who maintains the boundary and what will be left behind as part of the fixtures and fittings. Whilst a tedious task, the forms are essential for the buyer and allows the sale to progress efficiently from the start if they are readily available. In fact the process cannot start properly without these forms.

If you are a leaseholder, get in touch with your landlord/freeholder. You will need them to provide essential information for the sale to complete. Don’t wait until they are inundated with requests.

You might also want to think about who will conduct and supply your EPC; the best removal company to use, which agent will market your property.

Buyers, use this time wisely to make a list of what you are looking for in a property; consider what you are willing to compromise on – you may not find everything you want in the property. This will prepare you for your virtual tours and allow you to separate the weed from the chaff and not waste your time viewing properties that are not suited to your needs. In some instances, you might be invited to attend the property for a physical viewing but this will be with social distancing measures in place of course and until we are advised otherwise.   

In both cases, think about instructing your solicitor now. He/she can assist you and provide you with invaluable guidance that will set you up for the conveyancing journey ahead. 

For buyers looking to purchase with the aid of a mortgage.  Now is a really good time to appoint or get in touch with your mortgage advisor/broker if you already have one. 

As borrowing costs for banks and building societies have fallen to an all-time low in response to the convid-19 lockdown, this has impacted (some would say in a good way), on the cost of fixed rate mortgage deals. 

The emergency interest rate cut by the Bank of England in response to the coronavirus has reduced the base rate to a record low and helped the property market weather the fallout from the pandemic. High competition in the mortgage market means a low rate for borrowers at this time. 

Use this time to check mortgage deals both residential and buy to let.  Find out how much you can borrow. Get that all important ‘Decision in Principle’ which goes a long way in showing the estate agent and your proposed seller how committed you are to the process. It will also give you that much needed confidence (at this present time) to start looking for the property you want.

For those of you who already own homes with fixed rates soon coming to an end, you should look at re-mortgaging.

There is also talk of first time buyers and key workers being able to buy new build homes with a 30% discount under a new scheme being proposed by the government.  There are more details to follow but that may well be a topic for my next blog.  Watch this space.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a property, get in touch with myself Laura.Gill@bowlinglaw.co.uk or speak to one of our expert team on 020 8221 8000

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