If you’re in the process of you home move right now, or you’re about to put your property on the market. You’re probably wondering how much of an impact the latest lockdown will have on your move.
The important thing to remember throughout this period is that viewings can still take place, and estate agents are still open.
However, despite the market remaining open, there are likely to be delays along the way, because there are a lot more sales going through than usual.
We’ve spoken to a few estate agents and dedicated sales progressors about the steps you can take to keep your move on track during lockdown.
I’m preparing to sell, what should I do?
You’ll want to find an experienced agent who will guide and talk you through the process. If you haven’t moved for a long time, you’ll really appreciate having an agent who’ll advise you every step of the way.
As you may already know, the market is really busy at the moment and as such there’s a bit of a backlog with transactions. In fact, it hasn’t been busier than this in at least 10 years. So start researching conveyancers and asking them for quotes and what their workload is like as soon as you put your home on the market.
Should I be organising paperwork in my own time?
Absolutely. Bear in mind that snags and delays tend to happen after the sold board goes up, so make sure you get all your ducks in a row as early as possible.
You can do lots of the legwork ahead of time so that you’re ready to go when your estate agent or solicitor starts asking for certain documents – you’ll be in a far better position if you can get your paperwork gathered and organised even before you’ve found a buyer.
Conveyancers are under a huge amount of pressure at the moment, so to shorten the delays further down the line, organising your paperwork will really help.
Showing patience and empathy will go a long way, too. Remember that the people you’re dealing with are only human and will be doing their best for you. They’ll really appreciate it if you can do as much of the document-gathering as you can early on, so that they only need to chase specifics at a later date.
Which documents should I be gathering?
As we’ve been saying, there’s no reason why you can’t begin filling out documents at an early stage. Many forms require general information that you can fill in straight away. Regardless of who you sell to, you’ll need to complete them at some stage in the process, so it’s best to get on top of it early.
Some of the paperwork that you can start filling out includes: fixtures and fittings forms, ID verification, and property information sheets. Ask your agent what these are if you’re unsure.
Other documents to consider rounding up include:
- HM Land Registry title documents
- gas checks completed by a Gas Safe registered engineer (or Corgi-registered engineer prior to 2009)
- electrical checks – an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) or a NAPIT or NICEIC certificate/report from a registered electrical competent person
- FENSA or CERTAS certificates for windows
- planning permission for any major work carried out
- building regulation completion certificates and builder’s guarantee certificates for alterations or additions
- subsidence guarantees/warranties
- damp guarantees/warranties
- party wall agreements (if relevant)
- if a listed building, listed building consent for interior and exterior works
- if your home is in a conservation area, conservation area consent for works
- any title insurance policies you may have taken out to solve title defects
How can I present my home in the best possible way?
This may sound obvious, but decluttering your home is a hugely important job and should not be underestimated. Completing this simple task will make your rooms look bigger and also means that buyers will be viewing a clean and tidy home.
If home-hunters can visualise living in a property, they are likely to be more serious about putting an offer in. Also, try upcycling tired or worn-out furniture if you have some free time.
Also, give rooms the right purpose. For instance, if you’ve marketed your home as having three-bedrooms, do your best to make sure there are three bedrooms for home-hunters to view, rather than two bedrooms and a study or playroom.
If you’ve got spare time to make these changes, they could be the difference between finding a buyer or not. The key here is to show people what they can have, rather than telling them.
What should my estate agent be focusing on?
In the current market sellers have a good choice of buyers, but make sure your estate agent is asking all the right questions about buyers’ circumstances, and has a proper vetting process. You only want to filter through serious buyers so that you don’t end up wasting your time.
The stamp duty deadline is an added incentive for lots of home-movers right now, so it’s important that your chain can sustain itself before the deadline. Make sure everyone up and down the chain stays informed and knows exactly where they stand.
You wouldn’t want to think that you’re home and dry, only to find out that the sale won’t go through for three months because certain questions hadn’t been asked. Agents should be going to the nth degree to find information out.
How can I prevent delays?
Unfortunately, with the market being so busy and everything else that is happening in the world at the moment, delays are inevitable.
Patience and empathy both go a long way, now more than ever. Things may naturally take a little longer at the moment, but don’t get disheartened.
How else can I help move the process along?
The ideal home-moving scenario is to sell one place and buy another at the same time. However, that can often be a lot easier said than done. On average, people move once every 10 years and so you don’t want to rush yourself.
If you want the best value for your property, but also want time to find somewhere else that you absolutely love, consider moving out into rented accommodation for six months – or however long you need to find your next home.
This way you can naturally speed things up by shortening the chain. The more links there are in a chain, the more stressful things tend to get.
How can I speed things up on moving day?
On moving day, do as much packing as you can yourself. Start clearing away at an early stage, because there’s a good possibility of a simultaneous exchange and completion, rather than being staggered by a few days. So the more prepared you are, the less stressful it should be.
How can Love Your Postcode help?
Here at Love Your Postcode we are currently assisting buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants with their house moves during this difficult time, following strict government guidelines, and encourage anyone who needs help or advice with the current property market to contact us.