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COVID-19: We're still open and operating safely

Moving and selling your home during Covid-19

If you are currently thinking of selling a property or moving house during the current coronavirus crisis and have questions before you do so, we’ve put together some FAQs which incorporate the advice of government as well as Reeds Rains.

You can also book a property valuation today and we can talk you through everything you need to know before selling or moving house.

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Can I still sell my house during the coronavirus pandemic?

Yes, but whilst following all official government guidelines to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus. This is to protect both yourself and everyone associated with the sale. Reed Rains has a team in place to ensure our staff are adhering to the Covid-19 guidelines set by the government, as well as constantly monitoring developments so that we can best protect our customers, colleagues and all those involved in your house sale.

Can I still sell my property during the second lockdown?

Yes. The government has announced that the housing market will remain open throughout the second lockdown. We will continue to keep transactions moving, although emphasise that everyone should play their part in reducing the spread of the virus by following the government’s guidance.

Reeds Rains sales operations are continuing to operate as they have done in recent months; all our normal lines of communication remain open and we will be available as normal via phone and/or email. You can also still visit branches with a pre-booked appointment.

We are dedicated to helping you in every way possible during this difficult time whilst ensuring our customers’ and staffs’ health are protected.

Is this a good time to sell my house or should I wait?

The housing market has been strong since the lockdown was eased in July 2020. We have found many buyers taking advantage of the stamp duty holiday that was introduced earlier in 2020. This offers significant savings for any buyer if they complete the purchase of their main residence before the holiday comes to an end on 31 March 2021.  This change has seen a very high demand for residential property. If you’d like to find out how much buyers can save, use our Stamp Duty calculator.

Is it better to use an estate agent to sell at the current time?

There are many benefits in choosing a high street agent to help you sell your home but make sure to choose one that is demonstrating they are responding effectively to coronavirus and the guidelines set by the government.

Reeds Rains are committed to our customers’ safety and have taken steps to ensure this including the introduction of safe valuation processes, 360° virtual viewings for buyers as well as advice and guidance on what should happen at physical property viewings, whether conducted by our colleagues or by you. We have made sure we work within a Covid-19 secure environment. An advantage of being a large national brand is that we also have a dedicated team that will monitor the coronavirus situation meaning, unlike many agents, we can quickly and effectively respond to changes that may be introduced in relation to Covid-19. As an example of what we’ve done so far, we’ve got a special Coronavirus section of our website.

Are agents business as usual during the second lockdown?

Some agents are but their service may be impacted by the current crisis.

It is worth checking their website to see if they have any information  and whether they are adhering to government guidelines and ongoing restrictions.

At Reeds Rains we have put measures in place to ensure the health and safety of our customers, staff and those involved in any sale or let.

We’ve introduced safe valuation processes, 360° virtual viewings for buyers as well as advice and guidance on what should happen at property viewings. We have a dedicated team who are able to continually monitor developments within the industry, and within government, and inform both our customers and staff quickly and effectively about what they need to do to operate compliantly to keep safe.

We now have an appointment only system at our branches and can provide guidance and help to customers both before and after their visit to avoid the transmission of the virus – and at all times operating within a Covid-secure environment.

How will house valuations work?

During a house valuation the agent will still assess the value of your property and perhaps take photos and measurements in readiness for marketing. The visit to your property by Reeds Rains will be as safe as possible using our developed Safe Valuation Guidance. This also includes information about how you can best prepare for the valuation appointment which you’ll receive in advance of the appointment.

A valuation of a property can still continue during the second lockdown provided all government guidelines are followed.

How will my property be marketed?

Most agents will probably adopt very similar marketing techniques to the ones they usually use.

Reeds Rains will ensure we do all we can to market your property to as many potential buyers as possible both at a local and national level. We will continue to offer our comprehensive marketing packages as well as offer 360° virtual viewings. Our website is also being constantly updated and improved to help buyers to search for property to best suit their needs. On top of this we have a very active social media presence. So, even during the current crisis, we’re still able to make your property stand out and be marketed effectively.

What happens with property viewings?

We’ve developed Safe Property Agent Videos and guidance for viewings being conducted by the agent (accompanied viewings) and for viewings where the seller themselves conducts the appointment (unaccompanied viewings). 

During viewings we stress the importance of social distancing, the opening of all the internal doors prior to the viewing and allowing access to handwashing facilities and ideally separate towels/paper towels. Potential buyers are also advised to avoid touching any surfaces where possible.

If any member of either the household of the property being viewed, or the household coming to the viewing, is showing symptoms of Covid-19 or is self-isolating, then we advise that an in-person viewing should be delayed. A 360° virtual viewings will be offered until it is safe to re-arrange.

A viewing of a property can still continue during the second lockdown as confirmed by new legislation which sets out exemptions that apply to the estate agents. This states that individuals may leave home to undertake any of the following activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property:

  • visiting estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes;
  • viewing residential properties to look for a property to buy or to rent;
  • preparing a residential property to move in;
  • moving house;
  • visiting a residential property to undertake any activities required for the rental or sale of that property.

During viewings we’ll be following government guidelines which state that, at the current time all viewings should involve no more than 2 households at any one time plus the agent accompanying the viewing. Anyone in a support bubble with either household, however, will count as part of that household.

Should the prospective buyers be from separate households, and wish to view the property at the same time, the government suggests that one household leaves the property to allow the other to enter – which we also encourage.

“Back to back” viewings of properties are to be avoided, so that there is sufficient time between each viewing for the necessary ‘post viewing’ cleaning to take place.

All viewings should be by appointment only and no open house viewings should take place.

What happens once an offer is made on my property?

If we receive an offer for a property this will be communicated remotely either using online/virtual meetings or the phone. This allows for discussions to take place in the same way without the need for face to face communication. Once accepted, the usual conveyancing process will begin, with our support.

How will property searches, surveys and EPC assessments work?

Usually the conveyancing solicitor acting for the buyer will carry out environmental searches etc. (which are required when buying) on your property online which should pose no risk to the transmission of the coronavirus.

We do recommend that surveys of the property, which may be required by the buyer and/or their mortgage lender, as well as EPC assessments, should be conducted by appointment only and, like tradespeople, should only involve one person at a time visiting the property where possible. This follows current government advice.

We can offer advice about visits of this kind and will suggest, as the owner of the property, you should ensure social distance guidelines are followed and that the surveyor or assessor has access to all the parts of the property they need to inspect and, if possible, stay in another room.

Could my house sale be delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic?

It is possible that some delays may arise because someone involved in the sale or purchase of your property may be affected by the coronavirus. We will constantly monitor the progress of a sale and will be able to liaise with solicitors to ensure that contracts or any agreements are as flexible as possible.

What happens on moving day and can I still move during the second lockdown?

It is important to make arrangements with any removal firms well in advance of any house move and take action to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus. This is particularly relevant to vulnerable households who should also seek advice from their GP if they have concerns about the house move.

We recommend that you should also do as much of the packing yourself or, if not possible, speak to your removal firm in advance for advice. If you are particularly worried about the risk of infection, speak to us or the removers as between us we may be able to help put extra precautionary measures in place.

The government has also drawn up guidelines about the use of removal firms and it’s also worth knowing that at Reeds Rains we always ensure that any keys are cleaned before handover.

As confirmed by the government you can still move home during the second lockdown but people outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless this is absolutely necessary.

It’s important that you follow the national guidance on moving home safely, when moving.

What if the buyer or I contract coronavirus when I am due to be moving?

As instructed by the government, Reeds Rains recommend that buyers and sellers should not expect to make a move if any member of their household has symptoms or has contracted coronavirus until they are well and the period of self-isolation has ended. We can help to ensure that terms within the contract are included to allow for some flexibility on timings if this was to occur.

What happens if, when second lockdown ends, there is a local lockdown in my area? What happens to my sale?

We would expect existing sales can progress assuming that all parties can continue to work online but house moves could be affected. It is important to work with your legal representatives and your agent to understand what is, and what is not, allowed.

If you are yet to choose an agent to help you, it is advisable to contact them by phone initially to gain an understanding of whether any house sale can begin and, if so, what measures they have in place to restrict the spread of the coronavirus. At Reeds Rains we can provide you with evidence of the risk assessments we have made and how they are complying with government guidelines.

As this is a developing situation, it is advisable to check the government website in relation to local lockdowns and to any particular restrictions that may apply. See: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/local-restrictions-areas-with-an-outbreak-of-coronavirus-covid-19

What if the second lockdown is extended and could this affect my sale?

At Reeds Rains we will continue to monitor official government guidelines should the second lockdown be extended and act appropriately. At the current time, we do not anticipate that there will be any change in the way we have operated since the second lockdown was announced, with all our normal lines of communication remaining open, via phone and/or email, and with our branches remaining open for pre-booked appointments only. Should this situation change, however, our website will be updated with information.  

If the government continues to state that the housing market will remain open throughout any extended second lockdown period, and that it is important to keep transactions moving, we hope that any extension would not affect your house sale.

Need more advice?

Reeds Rains has comprehensive advice and support available on the coronavirus section of our website. We aim to keep this up-to-date with any changes to government advice and guidelines.