Guidance for Buyers During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Here You Can Find Useful Information for Buyers During This Strange and Confusing Time

** This article was last updated on 05.11.2020**

We understand that the current crisis is a confusing and stressful time for most and as a buyer you may have some worries about whether you can continue with your own exchange and completion, how it will influence the current housing market or whether it will affect your ability to buy a property right now.

We want to offer as much support as possible, so to help put that stress at ease, we’ve put together the Buyer’s Guide to help keep you informed on everything you need to know during the COVID-19 outbreak and current lockdown measures advised by the government.

Will the Property Market Fall in London?

The only thing we can be certain of in the country’s current circumstance is that, well… nothing’s certain. So with thing’s constantly changing, it’s pretty hard to predict whether the property market in London will fall.

Reports have shown that COVID-19’s effect on our economy may influence a drop in house prices, but it’s unlikely they’ll fall drastically as there were not any systematic problems with the market prior to the outbreak. Believe it or not, London property prices were starting to revive in the early part of 2020, and there has been a growing demand following the last few years. So it’s quite possible that the property market could rebound next year.

The announcement of the Stamp Duty holiday has also impacted the market, with increased demand leading to a flood of properties coming onto the market in many parts of London. Read our article about the Stamp Duty Holiday by clicking here.

Can I Still Buy a Property?

Yes you can as the Government have now confirmed that the property market is allowed to stay open throughout lockdown 2.0. In line with government regulations and restrictions, you may view a property as long as you wear a mask and adhere to social distancing rules. Only two households, or bubbles, are permitted to enter a residential property however, meaning that you must only attend a viewing with other members of your household or bubble.

It’s important that you take practical steps to try and avoid catching the virus when buying a property during the outbreak. We’d suggest the following tips to help minimise contact and spread:

  1. Go digital – thoroughly assess the property photographs, floorplans and information about the local neighbourhood (please see our ‘Neighbourhoods’ pages for guides, to help narrow down the properties you really want to view, before booking in for a viewing.
  2. Understanding floorplans – reading floorplans may be a bit confusing if you’re new to buying, but it’s worth measuring out the rooms in your own home to gain a better perspective on the space of rooms in the house you’re viewing.
  3. Work remotely – it’s important to ensure all paper and solicitor work is done remotely to avoid any unnecessary contact with people and to avoid catching the virus.
  4. Travel carefully – if you can walk or cycle to your viewing that would be great! However, if you must take public transport let us know so that we can arrange a viewing(s) during off peak hours, wherever possible.
  5. Arrive prepared – you must wear a mask, covering your mouth and nose, for the duration of your property viewing. Please also bring hand sanitiser and use it prior to entering and upon exiting a property. Please also don’t shake our agent’s hand – they won’t be offended, promise!

Should I Ask for a Reduction?

If you find yourself considering whether to ask for a reduction on a home, chances are it’s either because you think that house prices will fall, or because of an unfortunate change in personal circumstances, such as if your income prospects have fallen away.

Renegotiating the price should only be done if you feel as though it’s absolutely necessary. Given the current economy, it’s completely understandable if you don’t feel that you can move forward with the agreed price due to financial concerns. Therefore, it’s important that you explain your circumstance to the vendor’s estate agent, as the seller may be sympathetic to your situation. However, please note that the vendor is not obliged to accept.

What Would Happen if I Pull Out or Reduce?

There are many things to consider before you opt to pull out or reduce your offer. If your reduced offer is rejected and you opt to pull out instead, you may face rising house prices and increased competition in the current market due to the Stamp Duty holiday.

It could also have a negative effect financially, as you will need to either change your mortgage offer or get a completely new one, which may prove difficult in the present economy. It’s worth bearing in mind that due to the outbreak, some lenders criteria on the amount of a deposit required beforehand has increased, therefore, you might not be able to get a mortgage if you can’t match the increased amount.

Can I Still Exchange and Complete?

Yes you can and from a legal perspective, once contracts have been exchanged you are obliged to continue completion (which is the day your keys are handed over).

Whilst exchanging and completing it’s important to follow the advice on maintaining strict social distancing and other COVID-19 safety measures, such as wearing a mask, to minimise the spread of the virus. If you are due to move into an empty property this is much easier and safer to organise.

 


If you are currently in the middle of purchasing a property through Davies & Davies or have put in an offer on a property please contact your negotiator directly on:

Mark Scales: 07870 510 129 / mark@daviesdavies.co.uk

Derek Taverner:  07400 851 310 / derek@daviesdavies.co.uk

Javerna Lightbourne:  07413 555 413 / javerna@daviesdavies.co.uk

Lamar Morris: 07490 915 991 / lamar@daviesdavies.co.uk

 

We’ll try to keep this information updated as things change but in the mean time, if you have any general property questions you can reach us on:

0207 272 0986 / info@daviesdavies.co.uk.

Please note: all advice given within this article is for general guidance only and should not be considered legal advice. Any links to external websites are accessed at the users own risk. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of any advice or information contained within external sources and websites not run by Davies & Davies and users accessing this advice or information do so at their own risk.

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Contact

info@daviesdavies.co.uk

020 7272 0986

Address

85 Stroud Green Road

Finsbury Park

London, N4 3EG

Opening Times

Mon – Thurs: 0845 – 1815
Fri: 0845 – 1800
Sat: 1000 – 1600
Sun: Appointments by request

 

 

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