The three key COVID-19 rules remain the same: we must frequently wash our hands with soap, use face coverings in enclosed areas, and maintain a 2 metres (or 1 meter with extra precautions) social distance from others.

Frustratingly, contraction levels are on the rise again, and consequently, the government has altered UK rules in the hope of limiting the spread. We have been told to work at home as much as possible, for all events to be limited to 15 people, that pubs and restaurants close before 10 pm and staff in hospitality and retail must wear face masks at all times. These new rules have not directly affected the property market. So, as it stands, you are completely fine to buy or sell a home as normal (providing you have no symptoms and aren’t quarantining).  Nevertheless, there are a few things you might need to take into consideration when buying or selling a home over the next few months. Today, the team at Houso would like to guide you through how to handle viewings, selling and moving in what is a very strange year.

Whether you are buying or selling, try to attempt a virtual viewing first (if possible). By offering virtual viewings as a seller, not only are you reducing the potential of virus spread, you are also increasing your audience. Online viewings will attract people who are currently uncomfortable with face to face interaction, and by uploading a virtual tour online, you can sell to potential buyers across the whole country. If you are a buyer, a virtual viewing can save you a lot of time. You may fall in love with a home by virtual viewing alone, but, contrarily, you may dislike the look of a home. By doing a virtual viewing, you’ll have saved a long car journey to a disappointment. If you do go to viewings in person, remember to wear a face covering, keep 2 meters distance from people, avoid touching surfaces and wash your hands! As a seller, it might be a nice touch to leave all doors open for viewers so that they do not need to use any door handles. Also, remember to disinfect your home surfaces after the visit, ready for you to enjoy safely.

Once you have found your dream home, you are currently free to make an offer as normal. Just be aware that the process may be slower than usual. Solicitors and agents might be working in smaller teams, or from home. Additionally, the housing market is actually quite busy at the moment. Before entering a legally binding contract, discuss any possible delays and/or implications with the other party.  We need to be a little more understanding and accept COVID-19’s consequences, for instance, self-isolation, quarantining, or even worse – grievance. It may be wise to ask your legal representative to add any provisions for these possible scenarios so that both the buyer and the seller have a mutual understanding and flexibility if any hiccups do crop up.

During your move, you can still hire removal companies, but book them very, very early! They are currently extremely busy, and you might not find one at a short notice. Try to do as much of the packing and if possible anti-bac your belongings before they are handled by removals (and afterwards). Most removal companies are working as normal, if not, they will tell you so before the day of your move. When they are around, maintain social distance and wash your hands regularly. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to offer them a cup of tea, but they won’t get too upset and will understand why!

Buying and selling homes hasn’t massively changed. Just keep in it mind that you may need to be a bit more patient, plan more, and perhaps utilise virtual viewings. We hope that these tips helped! Download our FREE Houso App today to get your winter move in motion: for Android or Apple devices.