You have made the commitment to buy a new home – you pick up the keys, excited to start the next chapter. But we are all living in lockdown conditions at the moment in response to the coronavirus outbreak. All but essential activities have been stopped. The big question is, can you move home during lockdown?
The short answer is yes!
Home buyers are allowed to move house during lockdown. So for Pocket buyers and new residents it is business as usual, with a few extra rules to keep everyone safe. Head to our COVID-19 page for our most recent updates.
So what are the rules around moving home? Our experienced sales team have broken them down in this handy guide.
What are the current COVID-19 rules?
England is currently under lockdown measures. Head to the Government’s national lockdown page for full details of the rules.
Can I move home during lockdown?
Yes, you can still move home.
The housing market remains open. And will continue to remain open once our restriction levels lift to tier 4 and tier 3.
But people outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary.
Estate agents, conveyancing firms, surveyors and removals firms can continue to work.
If you are looking to move, you can view properties (by appointment only).
All parties must follow the national guidance on moving home safely, which includes social distancing, washing hands regularly, letting fresh air in, and wearing a face covering.
Can a friend/relative help me move?
Government advice is that people outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary.
Can a tradesperson still come into my home?
Yes – tradespeople like electricians, plumbers, repairers of domestic appliances can enter your home. They will need to follow social distancing guidance.
What changes apply when moving home during the coronavirus lockdown?
You can expect the following to apply as part of the “new normal” for moving home at the moment:
1. More is being done online
The process of searching for and moving into a new home is different because property agents, conveyancers and other professionals have modified how they work to reduce the risk from COVID-19. These changes include doing more online, such as offering virtual viewings.
2. Viewings rules
With physical viewings, the government advises that:
- Viewings in person need to be arranged by appointment only.
- The sales team and potential buyers should wear face masks during viewings.
- There should be no more than one household inside the property at any one time. Anyone in a support bubble with the household, however, will count as part of that household.
- The sales team should keep internal doors open and clean surfaces and door handles with standard household cleaning products between viewings.
3. Expect delays and be flexible
COVID-19 could cause unexpected delays to your home move.
Your conveyancer will be able to make sure that any contracts or agreements include flexibility where possible to accommodate these risks and protect you from unexpected costs.
Speak to a conveyancing solicitor for advice.
It may also be possible for you to speak to the seller of the home you are purchasing to make arrangements that protect you when it comes to your move. For example, Pocket is currently offering contact-free key collections when our purchasers complete on their new homes. The most up to date details can be found on our COVID-19 page.
4. Packing and moving house during lockdown
The government advises you do as much of the packing yourself as possible. If you are using a removals firm or someone outside your household is helping you, then these additional rules apply:
- clean your belongings where possible before being handled
- leave doors open
- do not provide refreshments
- use separate towels or paper towels for hand washing where possible
Good luck with your moves buyers of our current developments, remember that our dedicated sales team is here to help in any way they can and stay safe!