Lockdown may have ground many things to a halt, but we’re still very busy in our work-from-home offices, mostly helping out clients with conveyancing and property law issues. Of course, certain elements of the process have been put on hold – like viewings, removals, and transactions concerning occupied properties, but if you had plans to move house this year – or are feeling frustrated by the delays – here’s a handy checklist of things to do to prepare, and ways to help the process go more smoothly once lockdown restrictions are lifted.
- Property searches: As if you need an excuse to browse RightMove or Zoopla… You can obviously still carry out property searches online, and work with your conveyancer to make enquiries about a property you are interested in. Your conveyancer can carry out a number of searches with local authorities on your behalf to find out pertinent information that might affect a sale, for example: conservation areas, water and drainage, access rights, environmental issues and planning permission.
- Virtual viewings: Most listings have plenty of photographs to scour, as well as virtual 360 tours. You may also be able to speak to the estate agent and/or the sellers to get a video tour of a property, or at the very least arrange a phone call or email conversation where you can ask further questions about the house. If you’re selling your own place, consider making some videos of the property for buyers, or putting together some FAQs for your estate agent to pass on. It could make your place stand out among the rest and pave the way for a quick sale once restrictions are lifted.
- Prep for real life viewings: If you can’t arrange virtual viewings, have a think about the questions you’d ask on a real life viewing, or a general checklist to use when you’re able to get out and about again. Use our Guide to House Viewings for tips! And again, if you’re selling up, use this time to prepare your home for viewings by sorting out to all those last minute DIY jobs and decluttering you’ve been meaning to get around to… Check out our ‘Quick Tips That Make a Big Difference’ for ideas.
- Make a post-lockdown to do list: Similarly, if your property plans are on hold for the time being, use the downtime to make plans, gather all the necessary paperwork, consider what surveys you’ll need, carry out deed and title checks, discuss plans with your conveyancer, find a good removal company, plan your new décor, and get all your ducks in a row. Then, when you’re able to get things rolling again, you’ll be ready to go…
- Do your research: If you’re moving to a new area, do as much online research as you can, eg: parking, schools, shops, transport links, community events etc. Compare similar house prices in the area, or even do a bit of light stalking on local Facebook groups and community pages to see what it’s really like to live there. If you live within walking distance, make it part of your daily exercise and have a wander!
- Contact mortgage lenders and sort out property finances: Once again, downtime is your friend when it comes to preparation. If you can secure a mortgage offer or make sure you have all the relevant savings or deposit finances in place, you’ll be in a much stronger position when it comes to making an offer. Many mortgage companies have agreed to place a three month hold on any existing offers during lockdown, and your solicitor may also be able to help you negotiate any financial issues.
And if that wasn’t enough to get along with, you could always start decluttering and packing up for your future move…
Wherever you are in the process, and whatever property advice and support you need, our solicitors and conveyancers are here to take the weight off your shoulders. Get in touch to find out how we can help you prepare for a future sale, move, or purchase, and get a free online conveyancing quote here.
And for a full rundown of the official government advice on buying and selling property during the Coronavirus outbreak, read our guide here.