Lockdown V.2.0 is officially underway. For many of us, it’s an unwelcome sense of deja-vu with ‘stay at home’ the order of the day.
But on a property market level what does lockdown this time around actually mean? Is it a total shut down once again?
We answer your FAQs.
Is the UK property market shut down?
No — The Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has explicitly confirmed that the property market can stay open for business in November as long as it operates within the rules of covid-19 (socially-distant viewings etc).
Can I still move home?
Yes — van hire and other services related to moving home are still open. It’s just a case of following the rules (wear a mask, limit the number of people in a house, use gloves etc).
Are estate agents open?
Yes — they are allowed to stay open but it’s up to the estate agents themselves to decide whether they want to keep branches open to the public or not.
What about online agents?
Online agents operate digitally so there is no real change.
But be careful — they get bad press and for good reason:
- They charge up front fees rather than payment upon completion of a successful sale. This means that there is no incentive for them to sell your home once you have agreed to work with them.
- They don’t offer a hand-holding service so you’re on your own to make it happen. If you do have questions or need support, then they have a call centre style set up where you’re passed from pillar to post.
- If your property does sell, it can take months and months to complete with no guarantees. 1 in 3 homes in the UK fall through costing homeowners thousands.
What are my other options?
- Cash buying companies — like Hull Cash Buyers, cash buying companies cut out the middle-man estate agent and will: purchase your home for cash; buy as seen; exchange quickly (usually 7-14 days); not charge selling fees; and offer a guaranteed sale.
- Auction — this is worth considering if you need to sell an unusual property (so one with a short lease or defective title). Finding a buyer is not guaranteed though and it’s a gamble on the night in terms of whether it will sell or not. Plus, you can’t control the price.
What’s a virtual viewing?
As we all become more and more accustomed to staying 2 metres apart from anyone that you don’t live with, virtual house viewings are on the rise. There are different formats offered by different agents from virtual appointments where an agent walks you round to 3D formats where buyers can take a self-guided tour at their own leisure.
Can surveyors value my property?
Yes — they are allowed to operate normally.
What happens if I am struggling to pay my mortgage? Will there be a new mortgage payment holiday?
The first time around banks and the government worked together to support homeowners in difficulty. The mortgage payment holiday was due to end but has been extended for lockdown part 2. Borrowers who have not yet requested a payment holiday, can ask for a 6 month deferral period. Those who already have a deferred period can extend it to the full 6 months.
What does lockdown 2 mean for house prices?
The property market bounced back strongly after the first lockdown owing to a combination of things: pent up demand, stamp duty holiday, and also people re-evaluating where they actually wanted to live (not in cities with no outside space). What lockdown part 2 will mean is anyone’s guess. What we do know if that there’s never a perfect time to sell, so just do it when it is right for you.