Coronavirus: government reveals new guidelines on moving house

News at Kings Estates | 31/03/2020

The government has issued new guidance for those buying, selling and renting a new home during the coronavirus lockdown.

Buyers, sellers, estate agents and new homes developers have been given new advice from the government about moving home while the UK is in lockdown to fight the coronavirus pandemic. 

Buyers who are due to move into an empty property are being advised to go ahead, but others have been told to delay their transaction.

The government stressed that while there was no need to pull out of a purchase, people must currently stay at home to help prevent coronavirus from spreading.  It has called on everyone involved in home moving to adapt and be flexible.


Can I still move home?

If the property you are moving into is empty, you are being advised to continue with your transaction.

But if your new home is currently occupied, the government is asking everyone involved in the transaction to do everything they can to agree an alternative date to move when the current social distancing measures are no longer in place.

The government has granted new emergency enforcement powers to the police to respond to coronavirus, but there is an exemption for 'critical' home moves when a new date cannot be agreed.

Even so, if someone in the chain has symptoms of the virus or is self-isolating, the move should be put on hold.


What does it mean if you're buying?

You should only consider going ahead with your move in the immediate term if you have already exchanged contracts. 

If you have not yet exchanged contracts, the government are advising you to delay doing so.

Banks and building societies have agreed to extend mortgage offers for up to an additional three months to enable customers to move at a later date without losing the deal they had lined up.

If your circumstances change during this period or the terms of the house purchase alter significantly, meaning that continuing with the mortgage would put you into financial hardship, lenders have pledged to work with you to manage your finances as a matter of urgency.


What it means if you are selling?

Putting your property on the market will be more challenging than usual, as you are not allowed to have visitors to your home but we are offering virtual market appraisals via Skype & Facetime.

If your home is already on the market, you can continue to advertise it for sale. We have created video tours, so that  we can still engage with buyers as best as possible in the absence of  being able to do actual viewings during this period.

Importantly, you are still allowed to accept offers on your property during the current period.

In fact, the number of sales agreed between March 16 and March 22 were only 4% lower than a year earlier (source - Zoopla Cities House Price Index)

For up to date advise please check - Government advice on home moving during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

We are seeing a good number of buyers actively looking online and buyers are stil continuing to register with us, so if you are thinking of selling in 2020, please get in touch

The Kings Estates Sales Team