Helping you sell you home 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), 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.
If you are selling your home through the Resales Team, please let us know if you are vulnerable or shielding.
Is anyone in your household self-isolating or has tested positive for COVID-19?
When 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.
If you are selling your home through our Resales Team, please let us know if anyone in your household is self-isolating or has tested positive for COVID-19.
Valuing your property
The latest Government guidance has made it easier for surveyors to start visiting and inspecting homes to give valuations. The surveyors on our panel are now providing their normal service, and you can contact them for an appointment in the usual way. They 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. This will change as businesses such as solicitors are able to open, and can certify your identity documents in person.
Energy Performance Certificates
If you are planning to sell, you need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC ) for your home. EPC assessors can now 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.
Viewing your property
We are using video viewings wherever possible to minimise health risks. If you want to sell your home, you may want to provide a video of the interior – we can either upload it to our website or send it to interested buyers. If you prefer, you can hold video calls direct with potential buyers.
If virtual viewings are not possible for you, we can arrange physical viewings, as long as Government guidance is followed. This means:
- You must let us know if anyone in the household is self-isolating or has tested positive for COVID-19. Physical viewings cannot take place if this is the case.
- Viewings will be by appointment only and booked in by us.
- Before a viewing, you should open all the internal doors, and give viewers access to handwashing facilities, ideally with separate towels or paper towels.
- If you need to stay in your home during the viewing, please follow social distancing rules and maintain a two-metre distance.
- After each viewing, make sure you clean surfaces such as door handles with standard household cleaning products and paper or cloth towels. Dispose of paper towels safely, and wash cloth towels separately.
- We will ask buyers to confirm in advance if anyone wishing to visit is self-isolating or has tested positive for COVID-19. If so, physical viewings cannot take place with that buyer.
- We will ask buyers to limit the number of people viewing your property to a maximum of two, both from the same household.
- Buyers will be encouraged only to view a property in person if they are serious about making an offer.
All buyers and sellers are asked to consider the risks of viewing properties in person. Metropolitan Thames Valley does not accept any liability in relation to viewings.
Reserving a property for a sale
Once buyers have viewed a property, they can register their interest. Our panel financial advisor will then carry out their affordability assessment and collect the financial documents needed for a mortgage application.
Once a buyer’s initial assessment is approved, we can reserve the property and hold it for them until lending arrangements are in place. Mortgage applications had stalled because of restrictions on surveying properties, but after recent announcements we expect more lenders to come back to the market over the coming weeks. We will keep you and the buyer updated with the situation.
As more surveyors start to visit properties, we expect more lenders to come back to the market with mortgage products. We are monitoring the situation.
If you are planning to buy a new home, 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 until lenders relax their lending and valuation criteria over the coming weeks.
Completing and moving home
We will work with you and your solicitor to ensure all legal paperwork is completed, so it is ready when you can move home. 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.