GUIDANCE FOR VENDORS DURING THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK

HERE YOU CAN FIND USEFUL INFORMATION FOR VENDORS DURING THIS STRANGE AND CONFUSING TIME.

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.

Can I still do viewings on my property?

With the lockdown in place, it is not possible to view properties in person. The government has advised to delay all buying/selling procedures as far as possible, with Boris Johnson banning physical viewings and advising that house moves are delayed until after lockdown where properties are not vacant, in line with government regulations and restrictions.

While you cannot physically view homes, you are able to show photographs, floor plans and, in some instances, videos of the local neighbourhood. You can also film video tours of your property to give purchasers a better insight from the safety of their own home.

When can we start viewings again?

Due to the country’s uncertain state, we can’t confirm exactly when you will be able to continue viewings on the property.

We’re making sure that our team are keeping informed with all government updates, so as soon as we hear further news about lockdown restrictions being lifted, your agent will be in touch to discuss restarting viewings on your property.

As soon as the lockdown has been relaxed, should we start viewing straight away?

Once the government announce it’s safe for lockdown restrictions to be relaxed, current news updates suggest that it will be a gradual process. It’s unlikely that the country will get back to normal immediately. We can’t stress enough that your health comes first and continuing viewings straight away may compromise this.

Therefore, our next steps on property viewings will heavily depend upon the government advice provided, meaning that we may have to wait slightly longer to resume the viewings on your property.

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?

From a legal perspective, once contracts have been exchanged you are obliged to continue completion (which is the day you hand over your keys). However, from a health perspective, it’s really important that you remain inline with the government lockdown regulations and try to delay the exchange and completion process until after lockdown has been lifted, or if a delay isn’t possible you could opt to exchange and complete on the same day in order to remove the risk of anything adverse happening inbetween those time periods.

If you find that exchange and completion is necessary, then it’s important to follow the advice on maintaining strict separation 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 the 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, it’s unlikely that you’ll find another property in the current market as it’s not currently possible to physically view properties and house sales are dropping.

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.

SHOULD I ASK FOR A DELAY IN EXCHANGE AND COMPLETION?

We understand the ‘Should I…? Shouldn’t I…?’ motions you may be going through right now when considering whether you should continue with exchange and completion as normal, so hopefully we can shed some light on this for you.

You may be advised to delay your exchange and completion and, if the buyer’s situation allows it, then it might be best to agree to a delay. Remember, current government advice is to only move house if it is absolutely necessary. However, if the property you are buying is empty then this makes it easier and you should be able to move as normal.


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.

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020 7272 0986

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85 Stroud Green Road,

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