Covid-19 has caused a huge amount of upheaval in the living of everyday life. With lockdown coming into force, one of the most important features of the country’s response to Covid-19 is that people should stay inside their home as much as possible. So if the idea is people shouldn’t leave their home – you might think that would shelve any potential plans you have for buying.
However, this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. Of course, it is essential that everyone should conform to the requirements of lockdown, but also life has to go on. Some people do not have the option of staying where they are, and as we will see, in certain aspects now could actually be a great time to buy a property, even if you may not wish to complete or move in until the end of lockdown.
Here we take a look at exactly what we already know about what the conditions of lockdown mean for buying property, and examine whether the Covid-19 crisis might actually still be a great time to be house hunting.
First, it is important to note that the government has set out some advice specifically relating to property purchase. For vacant properties, it says that “you can continue with this transaction although you should follow the guidance in this document on home removals”, while actually moving into a previously occupied property is discouraged and individuals are advised to postpone actually completing the sale until after the Covid-19 crisis is over.
However, this does not mean that individuals cannot go through the entire process of buying before completing. After all, the conveyancing process typically takes up to 12 weeks to be completely finished. It is currently unclear how long lockdown will last, but it is certainly still possible that it could be over within that timeframe alone.
Additionally, of course, we must remember that under the terms of lockdown, individuals are only permitted outside for a number of very specific reasons – and hunting for a new home is not one of them. This means that it is not currently possible for estate agents to conduct viewings – but that does not mean that all is lost.
It is impossible to comment on all property professionals, but a great many businesses are staying open and working through the lockdown. Estate agents are a good example of this. Viewings may not be possible, but this has meant that they have had to explore alternative options. Many are now offering virtual tours of properties and 360 images of rooms.
It’s not just estate agents who are making changes to their work. Hocking Associates are an example of chartered surveyors who are continuing to work through the lockdown. “We have had to adapt the way we work for our customers; in many cases, it is possible to carry out surveys on vacant properties, and ensuring our team maintains social distancing”.
Against the odds, buying a property now may actually be a very positive thing for buyers. It may actually be best to begin your search now so that you can complete when lockdown is over and you have had a chance to see the property in person.
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