North West chartered surveyors considers the delays for those moving home and the impact on the housing market

The Government has strongly advised those in the process of a house move to delay until the end of the lock down put in place to stop the spread of Covid-19. In response, Helen Forbes, Senior Sales Advisor for H&H Land & Estates, says at the current time their work is not just about selling or letting houses, it is about helping people. She is keen to re-assure those moving or considering moving through these difficult times what steps they could consider.

The news is unsettling but far from unexpected given these unprecedented times, but Helen believes the Government is trying everything in its power to keep the economy afloat, so as to ensure that the housing market is impacted as little as possible. It is inevitable that households will be delayed in their house moves, whether buying or renting, however, this is to protect each and every one of us.

As a result of this action, there has been criticism in the papers that the Government has effectively stopped the UK’s property market. Helen doesn’t see it this way and explains: “I truly believe it is a pause in order to ensure that there is a property market available once the lock down is over. This is down to the practical limitations due to social distancing – you cannot maintain a 2-metre gap in these circumstances. Once these rules are lifted, the market should bounce back, and for that we will be ready!”

In support of these new guidelines, mortgage lenders have been encouraged to extend mortgage offers for those beyond exchange stage for at least three months to ensure that the moving chain is re-enabled beyond the crisis. On another positive side, interest rates remain the lowest in history, so this should encourage movement once the UK comes out of the Coronavirus eye of the storm.

Like many businesses across the UK, H&H Land & Estates has closed its doors in order to stop the spread of the virus. However, Helen is following Government guidelines and working from home to provide help and support to those buying, selling, renting or letting, and to answer any property enquiries you may have.

During this time, the Government has said that buying and selling should continue as normal, but that buyers and sellers should be aware the process will be delayed, and strict guidelines will remain in place. Sellers are free to accept offers on their property but are advised the sale and completion process will take longer than normal.

Helen encourages those considering moving house, not to put the idea on ice, but to start thinking about it now so to encourage the housing market once the lock down is lifted. Her advice, whilst you are house bound, is to take the time to look at your property objectively and perhaps consider doing some minor improvements such a painting, gardening or de-cluttering, all while observing social distancing guidelines. It is also a good time to get all your paperwork in order and gather all the information potential purchasers will need.

Helen adds: “It is recognised that moving house can be a stressful time. It is usually done whilst trying to juggle many other things in life, so, as we find ourselves house bound and looking for things to occupy our time, take the time to get prepared ready for when things return to normal.”