This week the Government introduced the three tier system for England to help control the speed of Covid-19. Regions are now classed as medium, high or very high, which means that many people are living under different local lockdown restrictions. As I am writing, Leeds is currently on Tier 2, meaning that you can’t meet with anybody outside your household or support bubble in an indoor setting but does this mean that you are restricted to buying or selling a home at this time too?
The answer is – No, you can move house during local lockdowns even if you are living in a tier 3 (very high) area, which Leeds currently isn’t.
Estate Agents as well as removal companies and surveyors are still able to work, and viewings and valuations can still take place.
When it comes to choosing your agent, you can call or visit them – although many offices are open, some may be by appointment only. All offices should be following Government Guidelines in terms of PPE, and masks and hand sanitiser should be used when entering – protective screens should be in place.
You can market your home with Estate Agents too at this time with Agents able to visit to take photos and 3D tours of your property and if your home requires an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) then this is allowed too. We are able to do virtual valuations if this feels more comfortable and we have a simple but efficient process in place to undertake these.
Whether an agent is under local lockdown restrictions or not, more agents are now working to the ‘new normal’ in the following ways.
Much more is now being done online, with 3D virtual tours being the new ‘first viewing’ and this is encouraged. At David Phillip Estate agents we have been big fans of virtual tours from the launch of our office in Bramhope – not only because they are now essential during Covid-19, but because they enhance the customer experience too. If someone is genuinely interested in the property then a ‘physical’ second viewing will be arranged.
All agents should have viewing protocol in place following Government Guidelines, which includes, no more than two people viewing, PPE being used, all doors left open and following the 2 meter social distancing rules. We have our own company protocol for viewings and valuations, and if you require more information around this then please just call us.
The post house sale process may be slightly delayed at this time, predominantly because solicitors have seen a huge increase in workload due to the Stamp Duty holiday, so it is important to be flexible. Conveyancing can be carried out online, and if someone is suffering from the symptoms of Covid -19 and is in self isolation then it may be possible to ensure that any contracts in place are flexible to accommodate this risk, and not expose any further costs.
Recently a solicitor handling one of our clients added a Covid-19 Clause into the contract which allowed his client to exchange contracts, but ensured they were not at fault and in breach of contract with any associated costs should the buyer be unable to complete – the completion has now taken place on time but the clause gave all parties that extra peace of mind.
There are things that you can do to speed up the process in the meantime:-
- Think about choosing a solicitor as soon as your home has been listed, and speak to them about the process and the costs so that you can budget accordingly and are ready to instruct once an an offer has been accepted.
- Sort your mortgage – some lenders are experiencing Covid19 related delays, and mortgage choices may have been reduced.
- Get the paperwork in order – locate certificates showing compliance with regulations of any work done, from planning permission, to FENSA certificates for window replacement and boiler repairs. If the property is leasehold find the lease and don’t forget any guarantees that the buyer may want to see. We have a checklist for our vendors when they are moving home, which makes the process so much more simple.
Removal firms have introduced their own safety measures, but we advise that you do as much of the packing yourself, and if you are using a removal company, ensure all doors are left open, furniture is cleaned down, separate hand washing/sanitising is available and don’t feel obliged to provide refreshments.
We are advising clients to deep-clean a property prior to moving and we recommend that before moving into your new home you may want to arrange for a cleaning company to deep clean that property too, we can recommend a company to do this.
If you are looking to sell and want to take advantage of the Stamp Duty holiday then there is still time to do so. We recently listed a property in Bramhope at the beginning of July which completed at the end of September – just over 2 months, and a property we listed on Long Meadows this month sold stc within a week. We heavily market properties by appearing on all the main portals as well as using some of the best technology so you can be sure we are working in the most effective way possible.
So although we are living in uncertain times due to Covid-19, you can be sure that at David Phillip Estate Agents we are doing all we can to minimise any risk when selling your home.
If you are looking to sell and would like a free no obligation market appraisal, then please call us on 01134 676 400 w: davidphillip.co.uk a: 86, Leeds Road, Bramhope