Helping you to buy more shares during COVID-19 restrictions
As the Government updates its measures to tackle COVID-19, we want to reassure you that we continue to follow best practice to ensure our people, homeowners and prospective buyers are kept safe.
Our teams are working remotely, and we have put special systems in place so that we can keep providing a smooth, normal service. However, some areas are being affected by the current situation, and there are a few changes to our standard process or timelines. Below we explain how the latest guidelines could affect your transaction.
Government guidance about selling and buying homes has changed recently. See the latest guidance here.
Are you vulnerable or shielding?
If you are a clinically vulnerable or shielded person (that means if you have received a letter saying you are in this group), and you are selling at the same time as buying more shares, you should consider carefully whether you really need to move home at this time. You may wish to ask for medical advice before deciding whether to commit to, or go ahead with a move. Some moves may be lower risk – for instance if the home you are moving to is empty, if all travel can be in your own transport, and you can avoid contact with others.
Is anyone in your household self-isolating or has tested positive for COVID-19?
If you are selling your home, Government guidance says you should not have physical property viewings or move home if anyone in your household is self-isolating or has tested positive for COVID-19. If you are contractually committed to move, you should make arrangements with your solicitor to change the dates of your move where possible.
Valuing your property
The latest Government guidance allows surveyors to visit and inspect homes to give valuations. The surveyors on our panel are of course concerned with customer and staff safety. Some of them will offer options to either visit your home, or a desktop valuation without visiting your home. You will be asked to provide information about the property to the surveyor, if you opt for a desktop valuation. Please enquire directly with your chosen surveyor. Surveyors will be following the Government’s guidance for social distancing and safety guidelines when working in people’s homes.
Verifying your identity
When you sell your home, we normally ask for copies of identity and residence documents which have been certified by a bank, solicitor or other appropriate authority. As this may not be possible at the moment, we are willing to accept uncertified copies when you send us your instructions to proceed. We will then use a video call to certify your identity.
Energy Performance Certificates
If you are planning to sell, you need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC ) for your home. EPC assessors can at the moment visit homes to provide a certificate. They will follow the Government’s guidance for social distancing and safety guidelines when working in people’s homes.
You may already have a valid EPC for your home as they last for 10 years. Just go to www.epcregister.com to find yours.
We are seeing lengthier delays with obtaining mortgages from lenders, due to stricter lending criteria in response to the current market conditions. Lockdown restrictions may also impact on the lender’s surveyors being able to value your home. We are monitoring the situation.
If you are planning to re-mortgage, you should check the availability of lending before you commit money to your transaction. Talk to an independent financial advisor or your current lender about this.
If a mortgage offer is already in place, this will help the sale move forwards smoothly. Where a mortgage offer has not been issued, there could be some delays.
Completing on your transaction
We will work with you and your solicitor to ensure all legal paperwork is completed.
If you are selling as well, your solicitor will either have added a COVID-19 clause to your contract, which allows for flexibility in your move date, or will arrange exchange and completion on the same day.
If your household is self-isolating or someone in it has tested positive for COVID-19, and you are contractually committed to move, you should ask your solicitor to re-arrange the date of the move where possible.
Removal firms can work, as long as they follow Government guidance on safety and social distancing. Please check arrangements with your chosen company when you book.
If you have any questions or concerns give us a call on 020 8607 0550. Our teams are ready to help.