Can we still be put on a list to look at properties when lockdown ends?
Whilst many estate agencies have furloughed their staff, there are still quite a few available. Obviously they can’t show you around a property, but they’ll be compiling their lists of potential buyers, and maybe even organising virtual viewings with help from the owners. It doesn’t hurt to get in there early if all your screen time has resulted in finding your dream home.
Are there still properties listed online?
There are still listings available online – there may not be many new properties available at the moment, but if you’re looking in a new area or lockdown has made you re-evaluate what kind of property you want, then there are definitely properties to consider.
Can I make a deal during lockdown?
There’s no reason you can’t make an offer, or start the process during lockdown, but it will be hard to finalise a deal. However, you can start your conveyancing solicitor on the process, and get the ball rolling. You may find that some have had buyers drop out and there’s a bargain to be had.
What can we do to get our property ready to list?
This is where you can make great use of your time during lockdown, including having a good clear out, giving rooms a lick of paint, fixing wobbly cupboard doors, or making general home improvements that will increase the value and make the home look more impressive.
How can we protect the property chain during lockdown?
This is hard – during times of uncertainty it’s natural to want to tie in the deal, but you don’t know what circumstances may change. If your buyer loses their job, or their mortgage deal expires, or if the seller is unable to move due to illness…it can be difficult to confirm a deal.
If you are both certain that you want the transaction to proceed, you could talk to your solicitors about creating a reservation agreement. This might be slightly problematic for a buyer if the property value drops, and they can’t renegotiate the price.
The best thing to do is stay in contact with the buyer/seller, make clear you’re still eager to go ahead and get all the paperwork you can sorted out in advance, ready to speed through the purchase when the time comes.
Should we renegotiate on price? How do we do this appropriately?
This is a difficult situation – it’s unclear yet whether property prices have significantly changed because surveyors can’t carry out valuations. However, if the market is impacted by fewer mortgages being granted, it might mean that supply outdoes demand and sellers will need to drop their prices.
Buyers and sellers both want to protect their investments – the seller may need the originally agreed amount in order to buy their next property. Which means a lower price would destroy the sale. However, the buyer doesn’t want to overpay and be left in negative equity if the market changes.
Try to be understanding and kind – during such a difficult time no one wants to feel they’ve been taken advantage of. If your situation has changed and you can no longer afford the property, or you need a discount, work it out and try to be realistic. Stay in touch with your conveyancing solicitor and the estate agent.
For more answers, look at our article on what to do to be in the best position
for property when lockdown ends.