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Can I sell my house during the coronavirus outbreak?
Selling your house in the current climate may not be easy, but it's not impossible. You're able to list your property for sale, but reaching completion will be delayed during the stay at home measures.
In the current climate, there are many unknowns that we are all having to deal with and adapt as new regulations and safety measures are implemented. One of the most significant concerns that millions of homeowners across the country are facing is where the property market stands, what changes are being put in place and how it will affect the market as we know it. Here at We Buy Any House, we’ve spent some time looking into these worries to get you the answers that you need.
Gov.uk has provided lots of information for every element of our lives during this outbreak, but they have also given outlines for property buyers and sellers. While suggesting that property purchases should be adapted, they haven’t declared that house sales and purchases are not to go through. Trying to start a new house purchase currently is more difficult, meaning selling is also complicated, but not impossible. The guidelines are for all parties involved to be as flexible and adaptable as possible, with the goal to delay sales until the stay at home measures get lifted. However, this isn’t going to be possible for every homeowner, so there are alternatives.
If a property is vacant, transactions should still be able to continue as planned, albeit most likely somewhat delayed, and with all of the guidelines to protect safety implemented. This can make organising removal companies harder, for example, and mean that you need to do the bulk of moving yourself.
If a property is currently occupied, all parties involved are being encouraged to delay the sale until the measures have been lifted, to make the transaction safer and easier for everyone.
For those who are unable to wait, especially due to financial reasons, there have been new regulations put in place by the government to try and ease the process –
There is new guidance developed with the Public Health of England for homebuyers and those who are involved in the selling and moving process to keep everyone safe
Agreements have been made with banks to ensure that mortgage offers should be extended when completions have been delayed for the safety of all involved
Currently working with conveyancers to redevelop the legal process to defer completion offers without the exchange being cancelled to suit both buyer and seller.
What if my house isn’t on the market yet?
If your house wasn’t already on the market before the stay at home measures were introduced, you will find it more challenging to get your property listed. For now, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t able to; however – many estate agents are still working from home and doing all they can to keep things running as smoothly as possible. You should be able to ring an estate agent and get some advice about the market from their perspective, and some guidance on house prices, but they won’t be able to go forward as they usually would.
This means that you’ll need to take your own photos for the property to be listed online and try to do so in as professional a manner as possible. An estate agent can give you some guidance with this, and you can also look at other listings to get an idea of angles to help you take your own photos. You won’t be able to have potential buyers around to view the property, but what you will be able to do is host virtual viewings.
If you’re able to conduct virtual viewings and find someone interested in buying your house, you are able to accept an offer from them. This process is likely to take longer, but you are able to move forward to this step. At the point of exchanging contracts, where the transaction will become a legal agreement, things can slow down. If the property that you’re trying to sell is empty, it will be easier, but if you’re currently living in the property, you will find that things become more difficult. This can also change depending on what your next step is – if you’re moving out and are looking to buy a smaller house for financial relief, you may find that you struggle to find a property to buy yourself in the current climate. If you’re planning to rent, it may be easier as you aren’t relying on as much paperwork and won’t be waiting for someone else to leave the property before you’re able to move in.
What help is available for me if I’m struggling financially due to COVID-19?
The government has implemented several different methods of financial support for those who have been affected by the outbreak. The most prevalent one is covering up to 80% of workers who have either been furloughed by their business or who have lost their job due to the pandemic. This support is available now and is helping those affected cover their monthly bills. There are also options for Universal Credit and other benefits to support those who need it, and they are working on the same scheme for self-employed workers to be able to receive 80% of the profits made based on their previous tax returns. This scheme is still in development and currently isn’t due to start until June. Both of these support schemes will last for three months but may be extended by the government if needed in the coming months.
While you may feel that selling your house is the only way to solve your financial struggles, there may be other methods that can help ease your difficulties if selling in the current climate is going to prove difficult for you.
Try to cut costs for everything you can and save as much as possible for the coming weeks. With the stay-at-home measures, there is less for us to spend on, so try and limit your spending to your food shopping and your bills. If you’re able to, look at meal prepping and planning to reduce your food shopping bills, and look at trying to reduce your bills – heading into April, it is starting to warm up which should help decrease heating bills.
We’ve all heard the phrase “saving for a rainy day”, but none of us quite expected an event like this that would fall under that category. If you have savings, utilise them. You can speak to your bank about accessing savings account if you need it to support yourself until things resolve and you’re in a stronger position to start building them back up.
Talk to your lenders
If you know that you’re going to struggle to pay outgoings such as your mortgage, credit cards, or council tax, the best thing to do is speak to your lender. Everyone is in the same position, and there is more flexibility than ever before with all manner of lenders allowing three-month breaks, reduced payments or interest-only payments as the country as a whole recover from this pandemic.
These alternatives can be helpful, but for some, those measures aren’t enough to relieve the pressure and selling their house is their only option. If you’re in that position, selling your house now is not impossible, just harder work than it previously was. You’re likely to face severe delays and struggle to deal with viewings, but there are still options. We’re always here to do everything we can to achieve your sale and allow you to get yourself back on a stronger footing. Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help.
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