Helping you sell your 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.
See the latest guidance Government guidance on buying and selling homes 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.
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.
Viewing your property
We will continue to market your home within the nomination period. In order to minimise public health risks we will move to conduct virtual tours with our partner Viewber. This will be at no additional cost to you.
We will continue to do the following:
- Handle all enquiries coming in for your property.
- Pre-book all appointments with interested buyers. We will continue to liaise with you about when access can be arranged for your home.
- A person from Viewber will attend your property on the viewing day.
- They will call buyers on the day and show your home to the buyer via Whatsapp. For safety purposes, no buyers will be attending your home for viewings.
- Any interested parties after these virtual viewings, will be financially assessed by a panel financial advisor and the suitable buyer will be offered the property.
- We can then arrange a time with you, for when the chosen buyer can view the property in person.
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 have been taking longer than expected, due to lender concerns on market conditions.
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 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.
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 any questions or concerns give us a call on 020 8607 0550. Our teams are ready to help.