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House Purchases in the ‘New Normal’

As the property market now adapts to eased lockdown measures, we take a closer look at the current house-buying process and how it may differ from your expectations pre Covid-19.

The most exciting part of the process is viewing potential new homes. For the time being open house viewings will be a thing of the past. Many estate agents are encouraging “virtual tours” as the first step. The overwhelming message is one of safety first. Rightmove have recently published a guide to how to conduct a viewing from both vendor and buyer point of view1. In it they suggest that having the questions you want to ask in mind, or written down to minimise the potential time in what in most cases is someone else’s home with the attendant risks of spreading the virus that having unknown people present will bring. Don’t be surprised if the agent asks about any symptoms you may have before confirming the viewing.

It is always advisable to have prepared the groundwork for a mortgage application before starting to view properties, but an article in Homes and Property in July2 suggested that this may be more important than ever. With reports of agents asking for proof of intention to buy before arranging physical viewings. Matthew Gilbert, associate director at Hamptons International in Richmond was quoted as saying: “Show that you’re ready to go straightaway”. Using Spot On Mortgages’ easy three step process to finding your mortgage can provide all the evidence you need that you are a serious buyer. 

Reduced rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax will apply for residential properties purchased from now until the end of March next year3. With the rate at zero on properties up to £500,000 this is expected to stimulate demand for houses with first time buyers especially expected to benefit. How much this will affect the market is of course dependant on other factors such as how disruptive Covid-19 is in the coming months or other unforeseen economic effects. 

For other parts of the house buying process the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has compiled for its members as to how surveyors can operate. Removal firms are limiting packing services to breakables only, and may not dismantle and reassemble furniture, and deep cleaning routines pre-move may become the norm.  

As ever Spot On Mortgages are ready to assist with our customary personal service. We are carrying out most meetings via video conferencing at the moment but this does not reduce our commitment or ability to advise and guide you through the mortgage process. Get in touch to discuss your personal position. 

A mortgage is a loan secured against your home. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

1 https://www.rightmove.co.uk/news/articles/property-news/how-to-view-property-safely/  

2 https://www.homesandproperty.co.uk/property-news/buying-a-home-stamp-duty-questions-to-ask-property-viewings-a139561.html 

3 https://www.gov.uk/guidance/stamp-duty-land-tax-temporary-reduced-rates 

 

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