Entering a new year generally means new beginnings, goals, and a planned future – which regularly includes buying or selling property. However, as we move into 2021 with England placed into national lockdown, many hopeful home-hunters and first-time buyers are concerned about how these measures will affect your move.
Moving home is considered a new chapter in life, regardless if this is your first or third move etc. After the indulgences of Christmas are over, buying or selling a property brings a new adventure… new beginnings! And despite the worry of COVID-19 restricting us from our everyday luxuries, the property market is ploughing on.
Since tier 4 restrictions and a third national lockdown has come into place on Boxing Day, after some brief hesitation, the national housing market has remained open, resuming all property activity including buying, selling, renting, letting, moving and conveyancing… with efficient government-advised social distancing guidelines in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
What are the restrictions in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus?
From the 5th January 2021 onwards, the whole of England have been living under new rules of a national lockdown, including no household mixing and working from home if possible. That mean people aren’t permitted to leave or be outside of their area unless for a specific purpose or reasonable excuse i.e. moving home.
With this in mind, only your bubble and professional services can assist you during your move, such as removal companies and your household family.
In addition to this, the government has also published specific guidance for home-movers in the nation. Stating: “You can still move home. People outside your household support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary.”
“Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work. If you are looking to move, you can go to property viewings.”
“Follow the national guidance on moving home safely, which includes advice on social distancing and wearing a face covering.”
Therefore, as long as all parties are taking hands, face, space into consideration during viewings, communication, and the move, the property market can resume in a safe and professional manner.
Advice for Estate Agents during the sales process
Just like home-movers, estate agents have also been given official government advice for those continuing to operate (in this case, Peter Lane & Partners). This advice is in place to help educate agents on updated rules so they can inform their customers and own staff about the social distancing guidelines and safety procedures they need to follow during the sales process. Specifically, the advice states:
- Agents should ask whether any party is showing symptoms or have been asked to self-isolate before going ahead with any viewing, or visits to offices.
- Agents should inform visitors to their offices of the need to wear face coverings. Agents should ensure their offices are ‘Covid secure’ and agents should take appropriate measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
- Agents should strongly encourage clients to view properties virtually in the first instance and then only physically inspect properties which they have a strong interest in.
- Where they do not accompany the visit, they should make sure that both the buyers and sellers clearly understand how the viewing should be conducted safely.
- Agents should avoid driving clients to appointments. Advise clients to find alternative means of travel including public transport, walking, cycling, or using their own vehicle.
- All parties viewing a property should wash their hands with soap and water (or hand sanitiser if available) immediately after entering the property, with internal doors opened and surfaces having been wiped down before they enter.
- Agents should do what they can to promote flexibility when arranging move dates.
- Agents should work with their clients and other agents to broker a new date to move where sales are due to complete and one of the parties falls ill with coronavirus or has to self-isolate.
- Agents should ensure that any keys are appropriately cleaned before handover.
- Agents should ask clients whether they have returned from the UK from one of the countries not on the exception list.
Here at Peter Lane & Partners, all properties for sale or to let are available to browse on our website. To help our visitors make the most out of our online properties, we have a filter search, so viewers can browse properties in a specific location or with particular features.
To prevent the spread of coronavirus, we encourage buyers and renters to do their initial property searches online wherever possible i.e. our website and Rightmove. This puts less pressure on agents, as well as reduces the number of daily viewings for buyers and sellers. If they come across a property that is of strong interest, they can enquire with us and we will carry out a safe viewing for all parties involved.
What is in store for 2021?
The property predictions for 2021 have been rolling in since December, as the industry hopes for a better and safer year. According to GRE Assets (residential property development specialists in UK), they believe with pent-up demand after the November lockdown and promising news regarding the COVID-19 vaccine in full dispute, the UK property market should expect an encouraging start this year.
Managing director of GRE Assets, Michael El-Kassir has explained “the pandemic has been a wake-up call for prospective buyers and renters, who have to reassess their priorities when looking for their next home…”
“As 2020 draws to a close, the market is showing continued growth with interest from both buyers and renters in new-build developments location in towns and cities undergoing major regenerations,” he comments.
So, to answer the question – yes you can move despite the national lockdown restrictions. We expect the consistent distribution of the vaccine will kickstart a positive year for estate agents and those involved in the property industry. We are determined and ready for the year ahead.
Peter Lane & Partners have been at the forefront of the property market for nearly 30 years. During that time we have helped people achieve their dream move even at the very depths of the great recession and in all parts of several boom-and-bust cycles. Even now through the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen sales through to completion.
If you are a buyer or seller, renter or lender, looking to make that dream move in 2021, get in touch with Peter Lane & Partners today by requesting a free valuation.