Moving house during lockdown? Need a house with an office? More space ready for the baby due in the next few months? Or a garden in case there’s another summer lockdown?
Yes, you can still move home!
However people outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary.
Estate and letting agents and removal firms can continue to work. If you are looking to move, you can go to property viewings. And most estate agents will be able to arrange virtual valuations or viewings to limit risks.
There are additional guidelines for people looking to move home to ensure the safety of everyone involved. We will cover some of these further down.
Yes, estate agents remain open and viewings can continue. You should try to use virtual viewings in the first instance where possible.
When searching for a property you should use online searches and virtual viewings initially. And only arrange a physical viewing when you are seriously considering a property to prevent unnecessary contact.
It is also recommended that you should vacate the property during any viewings if possible. Although with only essential places open we’re not sure where you’ll go.
To ensure viewings are as safe as possible other guidance should be followed. Such as wearing face coverings, hand washing and avoiding touching surfaces unnecessarily. It also goes without saying that viewings should be rearranged where any parties are showing symptoms or self isolating.
You are free to make and accept offers as normal.
Once your offer has been accepted you may want to visit the property again or arrange for surveyors/ tradespeople to attend. This is allowed but the same guidance for viewings should be followed. Utilising virtual visits if at all possible, extra hygiene measures and maintaining social distancing.
There can also be delays during the purchase process due to delays with local searches and the risk of someone involved in the transaction having to self isolate. You should raise any concerns with your conveyancing solicitor and ensure that any legal contracts you enter into are flexible should delays occur. This may be particularly relevant if you are looking to utilise the current stamp duty holiday. You can read more about this in our previous blog. Here
Removal firms are able to carry out work but how they work may be different to ensure keep moves as safe as possible.
– Your chosen removal company might not be working when you need them. So it may be worth getting in touch as early as possible when you have an idea of your moving date. Or get the van hired and the car filled!
– If removal firms are unavailable, another household can help you move, but social distancing guidelines and hygiene measures should be followed where possible.
– You and your household should also try and do as much of the packing yourself as possible. No getting all the mates round to help unfortunately. However, where you’re using a removals firm, you may wish to get their advice on packing in advance. Especially with anything fragile like your new large screen TV.
– Where possible, you should clean any belongings that may be handled by others, including removal firms.
– While the removers are in your home, you should ensure any internal doors are open and try to minimise your contact with the removers, maintaining a distance of at least 2 metres where possible.
– Anyone helping should wash their hands regularly and/or use hand sanitiser and should avoid touching surfaces where possible to reduce the risk.
Banks and mortgage lenders are essential services and remain open. Meaning mortgages should continue to be available and lenders service levels keep improving.
One key difference to the initial lockdown in March last year is that surveyors can continue to visit properties. This means that we should continue to see lenders offering higher loan to value products that were pretty non existent in the first lockdown.
Over the previous couple of months a number of lenders are returning to offering 10% deposit options on a permanent basis. This is great news for first time buyers and those looking to move home who might not have built up enough equity just yet.
Additionally for those looking to stay put but need to secure a new mortgage deal. With the Bank of England base rate at its lowest ever level there are some of the lowest ever rates available for remortgages. Check out how much just a small drop in interest rate could save you with our mortgage calculator. Here
With various industries and businesses having to close and unable to trade, you may have to use one of the various government schemes to support your income. Whether you’re employed and find yourself on furlough or self employed and need to apply for a self employed grant. The first question to ask is, if the impact on your income continues, are you able to maintain any new mortgage you may be applying for.
A mortgage adviser will check this and advise you on the right option for you.
Lender criteria continues to change frequently and depending on your situation it may be possible to snap up a mortgage whilst on furlough.
Most lenders will want to know when you are due to return to work or if there is any risk of redundancy before considering your application. There are lenders who may consider furlough income but will assess each case on its own merits.
The mortgage will need to be affordable based on your current level of income if you do not have a return to work date.
Self employed have a number of different support options available. And COVID has had an impact on different industries in different ways. It is still possible to secure a mortgage but it depends on your individual circumstances.
When it comes to your self employed income, lenders will dig a little deeper to understand your current position. Are trading levels consistent? Is the income sustainable going forward? Have you stopped trading for a period of time? Will any loans taken impact your income going forward?
These are just a number of the questions lenders will ask and they will fully assess every case before making a decision.
Having a mortgage adviser by your side is the best way to improve your chance of securing a mortgage. They will review your situation and recommend the right self employed mortgage options for you.
Blue Crocodile remain fully available to support you with any questions regarding moving house during lockdown.
Our advisers are working remotely. We can offer video appointments or telephone appointments to support with any mortgage advice or general enquiries you may have.
Whether you are a first time buyer, looking to move house during lockdown or save some money each month with a better mortgage deal. We’re open and ready to support. So get in touch!
Find full guidance on moving house during lockdown on the government website. Here