I think we can all agree that each and every one of us has been impacted by Coronavirus in one way or another. We are reaching a stage where lockdown is starting to be eased but what does this mean if you want to move house? What is the new normal for doing that?
During lockdown some transactions were able to still proceed such as re-mortgages, transfers or a sale and purchase of an empty house which was vacated some time ago but all other transactions involving chains quickly came to a halt. Since the easing of lock down began, the Regulations have been amended. Instead of being told to “Stay Home” we are now being told to “Stay Alert” so common sense is always going to be a consideration when deciding to move. The Regulations were amended and those who wish to move can now do so, provided it is safe to do so.
The process of viewing houses has now changed. Most agents are providing, would be buyers a virtual tour of a property in the first instance with a view to only allowing the most serious and interested buyer to actually view in person. Any viewing of a property will be done so keeping in line with all safety and social distancing requirements. Vendors may also be asked to leave whilst a viewing takes place. Estate Agents will likely have a “by appointment only” way of doing business now which is something which will affect all other similar sectors including the Legal Sector. You can no longer just “pop in” if you are passing. However, at present many are still working from home so the use of technology and video calls has never been so popular.
The Conveyancing process is sill the same but certain aspects of that transaction may take longer because of other staff shortages which could affect searches being returned, for instance. The Government has encouraged movers to be as flexible as possible, taking into account people’s circumstances, such as those who are shielding as they are vulnerable. This also applies should someone become ill with Coronavirus (including any member of their household) during the process and so time will be required to recover and to isolate appropriately. This may mean completion could be delayed which is also required to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus.
Other professionals are also allowed to operate, such as Surveyors and you shouldn’t find any restrictions on what type of Survey your Surveyor can provide. Buyers should discuss this directly with their Surveyor to decide what type of Survey they should obtain. When attending a property, an appointment should be made in advance and should be undertaken by the Surveyor in the safest way possible adhering again, to all social distancing requirements.
Removers can also operate but the advice is that you should carry out as much of your own packing as is possible but your Removal Company will discuss this with you so the safest way can be agreed upon. Other advice includes opening all internal doors when they are in the house and not providing refreshments. Other advice is to make sure you clean all keys handed over to you and of course the cleaning of your new should be a priority.
In all aspects, contact will be as minimal as possible. No one can tell us when normality may return or even if it will. This pandemic has certainly changed many aspects of our day to day lives. It seems to me that it’s becoming a normal reality now to have to queue to enter a supermarket and to be satisfied with a video chat to a loved one we can’t yet see.
Here at TFS, we are all aware of the difficulties and we have adapted for those changes. We want to support you through this “New Normal” as much as we can. Whilst some staff are currently on furlough, we still have many Legal Advisors available to help you, whether that’s with a quote or an instruction, we will be here to support you from start to finish.
The offices are still closed to the public but we are available online, via our website www.thomasflavell.co.uk via Facebook, via email and of course by phone, please feel free to contact us on the main numbers.