Helping clients to buy and sell homes during the Covid-19 Crisis

The Corona virus has thrown up many challenges for businesses around the world and the property market has certainly been affected by the restrictions currently in place here in the UK. But, while it may currently be rather more complicated and challenging to buy or sell a home during the Covid-19 crisis, it IS still possible to do so while keeping within the UK lockdown restrictions. 

One couple who showed real tenacity and flexibility in order to push their purchase through, were our clients Rhianna Evans and Theo Van der Lugt. Having planned to hold their wedding on the 8th May, they were very disappointed when it had to be cancelled as a result of lockdown restrictions. They were determined not to let the Covid-19 crisis keep them from moving into their first home together as well!

We helped them to reach an agreement with the seller to exchange and complete contracts on the same day. This is not a practice we would usually recommend to clients, since it can be risky and very stressful – should anything go wrong on the day with mortgage completions, bank transfers, or someone just changing their mind at the last minute, the sale could fall through. But unusual times call for unusual solutions, so we supported Rhianna and Theo as they pushed on and we were all delighted when the transaction safely took place, leaving them the proud owners of their first home together. With the help of family friends they managed to move in quickly afterwards and are now enjoying their first family home. 

Here’s what Rhianna had to say about working with us: 

“The team at Amanda Shaw have been fantastic from the start, they were very quick and efficient with everything and were always on the other end of the phone if we had any concerns. With the prospect of Covid-19 delaying our sale and purchase by potentially months, it was a worrying time, but the team did everything possible to get us into our new home and within two weeks of lockdown we had exchanged and completed on both our sale and purchase within a day. We are now in our new home and feeling very thankful that this has been made possible with huge thanks to Amanda Shaw Solicitors.”

For clients who find themselves ‘stuck’ somewhere in the process of buying or selling right now, there are a few things we can advise, that may help to smooth that process along. 

  1. Do try to make contact directly with your vendor and/or buyer. They may be just as keen as you are to complete, and if you are all ‘on the same page’ you can more easily work together to make it happen having established that goodwill between you first. 
  2. Do make sure you know your chain. A short chain, or no chain at all, better still with empty property involved, makes the sale much easier to complete under current circumstances, whereas those with longer, complicated chains should prepare themselves for a much longer wait. 
  3. Do beware of so-called ‘Covid Contracts’ that claim to protect you from the dangers of exchanging contracts prior to completion, only to find someone has to drop out due to Covid issues. In our experience, these contracts offer no real protection and should be avoided. The best protection against transactions falling through is to follow the example of our clients above – exchange and complete on the same day. We know this can be a stressful option, but it’s preferable to finding you can’t complete having already exchanged contracts and being liable for the costs associated with breaking the contract. 
  4. If all is going to plan and it looks like you WILL be able to complete your purchase, start your research to find a removal firm early. Many of the national firms have closed their doors to new business for now, while some of the local, family-run firms are still able to offer a service, albeit they may have increased prices, and have fewer staff available, so booking early, or arranging to handle some of the removal task yourself could be helpful.  

We hope these suggestions and information are useful to you. It’s generally accepted that moving house can be a very stressful experience, and the Covid situation has only added to that stress, but please rest assured that we are still working to guide our clients’ sales and purchases through the process, and are here to answer any questions you may have. 

Please get in touch with us if you need help to work out how you could still buy or sell your house during the lockdown.

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