Re-Opening of the Housing Market
Published by Kilnstone Property on 25th June 2020 -
There has been adaptations on the restrictions from the Government, in regards to the housing market. On 13 May, the Government announced that it will be easing restrictions for the property market.
People who want to move homes can now do so, however there is advice that we should adhere to. Estate agents can now visit your home in order to take photos and videos, prospective buyers are able to view your property and removals companies have been given the green light to facilitate home moves again.
However, the Government has made clear that people’s well-being and health should be put first; and advice has been given to ensure that everyone’s safety is put first. In all instances it is important to adhere to social distancing measures and any physical appointments should be postponed immediately if anyone is self-isolating or showing symptoms of coronavirus. If you are showing any symptoms you should self-isolate for 14 days and not go to any viewings or appointments you may have.
All parties are encouraged to adapt and be flexible, altering their usual practices, agreeing alternative dates to move if necessary.
Much of the anxiety around house moves comes from the contractual terms and Government has tried to ease this pressure through:
- Laying down sector specific guidelines;
- Asking banks and building societies to extend the period prior to the expiry of a mortgage offer;
- Working with conveyancers to develop a standard legal process for delaying moving completion dates.
The new guidance states that you can now put your house on the market and conduct viewings. Agents can list new properties and visit your home to take any photos and videos; while adhering to the social-distance guidance from the Government. If any member of the household is showing symptoms or self-isolating then estate agents should not physically visit the property; and this can be conducted virtually.
As of 15 June, Government guidance allows for physically distanced viewings that carefully follow the public health guidance. It is vital that safety comes first, with the guidance stating several measures that need to be followed to conduct viewings safely. These measures are:
- Viewings must only take place with serious buyers who are genuinely interested in the property.
- Initial viewings should be done online as virtual viewings.
- When conducting physical viewings, they should be done by appointment only and open houses are not permitted.
- If your home is being viewed, open all windows and doors prior to the viewing taking place and if possible, leave the property for the duration of the viewing.
- Everyone involved must wash their hands prior to the viewing and handwashing facilities should be made available with separate paper towels if possible.
- Estate agents will look to restrict the number of people present at the viewing in order to follow social distancing guidelines.
- Once the viewing has finished, the homeowner should ensure surfaces such as door handles are cleaned.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Before the viewing your estate agent will confirm with you in writing that you have appropriate protective equipment. All parties involved should use during viewings, including gloves and face coverings. You must use the appropriate PPE to ensure that everyone is safe.
You can find the full Government guidance on property viewings here.
Potential buyers who have agreed a sale may wish to visit a property again; as restriction have now been lifted. They are now able to do so as long as they follow the same advice for viewings, such as conducting a virtual viewing at first, only allowing viewings by appointment, maintaining social distancing and following all hygiene guidance. You should remember that if you are showing any symptoms you cannot attend any viewings.
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