Guidance for Vendors During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Here You Can Find Useful Information for Vendors 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 vendor, 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 sell 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 Vendor’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 things 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 weren’t 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. If you are looking to but a property as a home, over the next few years it is very likely to remain a solid investment.

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 Do Viewings on My 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, people may view your property as long as they 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 vacate the property while the viewing is being undertaken (the viewing party counts as one household/bubble and the estate agent showing them around counts as a second household/bubble).

Should I Be Worried About the Chain Falling Through?

The continuation of your property chain will heavily depend upon whether people have all their mortgage offers. If you’re still waiting to hear whether all mortgage offers are in, the success of the chain will be dependent upon whether lenders are currently doing valuations and how long this might take. It may also be dependent on personal circumstances of those within the chain, for example their financial and/or health situations may be impacted.

If all parties have successfully had their mortgage offers in, then there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

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 you hand over your keys).

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.

Should I Accept a Reduction on My Property?

If you’ve been asked for a reduction on your property, the reasons behind this are likely because either the purchaser thinks that house prices will fall, or because of an unfortunate change in personal circumstances, such as their income prospects have fallen away. The choice to accept is ultimately yours, but it’s important to ask the purchaser’s estate agent their reasons behind the reduction.

If reasons are due to a fall in house prices, there are factors to consider before accepting. As a property owner in London, your home will still most likely be worth more than you purchased it for, despite the country’s fall in house prices. However, it’s worth noting that the property market is likely to rebound next year, therefore, you may want to consider waiting if possible.

If the reduced offer is because of changes in personal circumstances, your choice will depend heavily upon your own situation and whether you are sympathetic to the buyer. Please note that you are 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 find that in the current market you might face heightened house prices in some parts of London and more competition from other buyers.

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 climate. 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.

 


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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