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Buying a House During a Pandemic

Moving to a new house, especially if you are buying for the first time, is always stressful. But, doing it during a pandemic is even worse. Whatever stage you are at, whether you are still viewing homes, looking for a mortgage or packing ready to move it, it’s going to be a little different.

Some of the viewings may be online, tools like an online mortgage rate calculator are more important than ever, and you might never meet your solicitor, instead conducting business over email and phone, and being posted documents to sign. 

The good news is, if you are due to move in the next month, house moves are still allowed while we are in lockdown. The bad news is, house prices are all over the place, and your friends and family might not be able to help as much as you’d like.

Can I View a Home?

Yes. Viewings are currently allowed. But, you might want to ask if you can take a video tour first, to ensure you are only viewing houses in person you are definitely interested in, and minimising the places that you visit. Many estate agents are filming tours and posting them online, so this might be easy to do. 

Then, when you are ready to view in person, ask for all internal and external doors to be opened so that you don’t have to touch anything and ventilation is good. Make sure you take sanitiser in case there is nowhere to wash your hands, wear a face covering, and maintain social distancing. If you feel unwell on the day of your visit, ring to rearrange.

Can I Make an Offer and Apply for a Mortgage?

Most banks and mortgage advisors are offering virtual application processes, and you’ll be able to make an offer for your home online or over the phone too. From that point, all business should be conducted online or by phone, without your needing to go into the offices. If you do need to see someone in person, make an appointment and check their guidelines for visitors. 

Can I Use a Removals Team?

Another yes. Removals companies are allowed to work during this lockdown. But, you should do your best to limit contact. Don’t offer food or drinks, and make sure everything is packed ready for them to help with. You should all wear face coverings, drink from your own bottles, and maintain social distancing as much as you possibly can. It can also be a good idea to quarantine your possessions at the other end. So, pack anything that you desperately need separately, and make sure only people from your household touch those boxes or that furniture. Leave everything else out of the way and unpack a few days later. 

Stock up on Sanitiser and Hand Cream

Moving out of one house and into another is a very physical process, and distancing can be difficult. You’ll want to sanitise your hands frequently. Which, coupled with carrying boxes and being out in the cold can leave you with dry, chapped hands, so hand cream is a must.

Plan Ahead

Moving into a new home always takes time. But, like everything else in our lives, there’s been massive disruption, and things have been different. For months this year, people weren’t allowed to move at all. That meant that once the market opened up again, there was a massive backlog of people waiting to get into homes they’d already bought. Removals teams are heavily booked and in high demand. It can be a good idea to book ahead, and to consider booking at what might be a quieter period, like mid-week. 

Give Yourself Time

Moving is hard work. If you’ve been waiting for a while, you might be keen to get on with things as fast as you can. But, this can be a mistake. Take your time to find the right house, even if it increases the number of viewings you have to attend. Then, when you do find it, make sure surveys are carried out, and everything is right, before taking your time to pack and move. We’re all keen to get on with our lives, but a new house isn’t something that you want to rush. 

While the good news is, you are free to move, and shouldn’t have any trouble viewing, making offers and arranging mortgages. But, with the virus still in circulation, you must practise social distancing, hand washing and wear the correct PPE throughout. Give yourself plenty of time, take care of yourself, and find the right home before making a move.

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