Managing your home purchase 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, and prospective buyers are kept safe.
Our teams are able to work both remotely and are available on site, 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 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.
Is anyone in your household self-isolating or has tested positive for COVID-19?
If you are buying a home, Government guidance says you should not view properties or move home at this time. 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 buying a property through our Sales Team, please let us know if anyone in your household is self-isolating or has tested positive for COVID-19.
Verifying your identity
If you are interested in buying a property, our panel financial advisor will use online sources to carry out the verifications needed to check your identity.
Viewings for properties
Following the latest Government advice, we wanted to reassure you that we remain open. However, all initial viewing request appointments will be carried out virtually. Our sales teams are working remotely and available to book you in for viewings via phone or video call. If you are interested in one of our properties we will send you a video or a link, so you can view the property that way.
Where possible you should continue your property purchase online. However, we understand that in some cases, it it necessary to visit a property for a physical viewing. With the agreement of all parties and strictly following our covid-secure procedures, we will review physical viewing arrangements on a case by case basis. The arrangements for physical viewings will vary from development to development. Your Sales Consultant will talk you through our physical viewing process.
If you are visiting a property in person to view it, please follow Government guidance:
- The viewing will be carried out with no contact, and you must follow the social distancing rules that are currently in place.
- All buyers will be asked to wear gloves and shoe coverings – these will be provided by our team once we meet you in the office or at the property.
- Once you have viewed the property, all further discussions or questions will take place remotely.
- Only members from one household can view, and you must provide the name of each person before the viewing.
- We are unable to give any buyer access to toilet facilities or provide any refreshments on site.
- You should follow Government guidance, which can be found here
You should consider the risk of entering a home to view it. Metropolitan Thames Valley does not accept any liability in relation to viewings.
Reserving a property to buy
Buyers can register their interest for a property at any time and reserve it. This is done by completing an initial affordability. Assessment with our financial advisor, choosing a property to buy and paying a reservation deposit. Once we have the affordability assessment from our financial advisor, we will collect the financial documents needed for a mortgage application.
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. Our panel of independent financial advisors can discuss your circumstances and propose a suitable lender.
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 forward 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.
If you have questions/concerns give us a call on 020 8607 0550. Our teams are ready to help.