Buying and selling post-lockdown
Before Covid-19 put a halt to buying and selling properties, many were coming out of winter spent wrapped up indoors, house hunting on Rightmove. While those who had decided over the Christmas break to up and sell were spring-cleaning their homes, ready to put them on the market.
For most of these people, the global pandemic paused the buying and selling process, be that on advice to stay inside or over worries about the effect it would have on the housing market.
As we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, although ‘back to normal’ is likely to be very different, those who are keen to market the properties they’ve scrubbed clean during lockdown will need to start preparing to do so. And those looking for a new home will need to ensure they’re ready to go once given the all clear.
How can I ensure my property sells post-lockdown?
With lots of property owners rushing to resume with their sale, post-lockdown, the market is likely to be crowded and so standing out from the crowd will be essential. It goes without saying that a property which is well-kept will get far more interest than one that relies on the buyer seeing past the outdated décor.
Use your time at home wisely. Check your sheds and garages for pots of paint you could use to touch up those walls. Do a deep clean and fix that hole in the door that you’ve been putting off.
Focus on smaller improvements rather than knocking down walls (your buyer may well put them back up again) and spending huge sums of money in an attempt to add value.
How can I prepare to fend off other potential buyers?
Once we’re allowed to venture beyond our familiar four walls, home buyers will be eager to secure that dream home.
Now is a good time to get your house in order (no pun intended). A budgeting spreadsheet is a good way of working out what you can realistically afford. A full assessment of your income and outgoings could save you a lot of money (and disappointment). It could also perhaps boost your deposit or help pay for some of the moving costs. On that note, don’t forget to calculate all the costs of moving, from a building survey, legal fees and any stamp duty, to the van hire.
Research your mortgage options and, if possible, get that mortgage application or offer ready to go. Lenders will generally offer up to four-and-a-half times your annual income, pre-lockdown, although this can vary. Once we are out the other side, it does remain to be seen what approach individual lenders will take and also, what percentage as a deposit they will be looking for applicants to put down.
Many mortgage lenders may struggle to accurately assess the borrowing capacity of buyers in a post-virus marketplace. Therefore, it’s important to keep communication open and be realistic about your income and what you can afford.
Will house prices be affected by coronavirus?
It’s easy to get lost in the sea of internet speculation and conflicting news reports. No one really knows exactly what will happen to the housing market. Yes, house sales may have changed during this time, but we don’t know how and what the impact will be at the moment. Estate agency Knight Frank has predicted that prices could fall by 3% this year, but then bounce back by 8% in 2021.
I’m ready to sell. Can I still put my house on the market?
Yes. Many estate agents are still working as usual, but remotely. Some are even doing viewings over video. You can also still instruct us as your conveyancing solicitors, whether you’re buying or selling. We can open a file on your behalf and prepare all the paperwork necessary to issue the draft contract. Once you have a buyer, we can send the paperwork to their solicitor to approve and progress the sale.
This is an uncertain time and the housing market has certainly experienced a shaky few weeks. However, buying and selling hasn’t and won’t stop. You can find more of our conveyancing FAQs on our dedicated page.