Residential Property FAQ's
Bradley Bernett, Head of Property at Curwens LLP offers some advice to those in the process of buying and selling a home during the Coronavirus pandemic
In view of the unprecedented times that we face, the government has announced restrictions on movement, which have changed the way that individuals and businesses can operate for the time being. This has caused confusion and issues amongst many buyers and sellers at all stages of transactions. The property team and I wanted to provide some answers to the common questions we are being asked and provide guidance on related issues for clarity on the situation and offer our full support with any property transactions going forwards.
The general process is to continue much in the same way as prior to the pandemic and lock down.
My team are set up to work from home with full remote access. This enables matters to progress with the same speed, care and due diligence as before. We have seen completions take place without hindrance and have been able to progress matters to exchange.
For employers who do not already have a working from home policy, we advise that staff are given brief guidance on what is expected of them whilst working remotely.
In the main the answers is yes.
Whilst the announcements made by the government, may potentially have an impact on your ability to move in to a property, the property team are striving to find workarounds and ensuring that no transaction is stagnated due to the current situation.
Completion time lines may need to be adjusted, but with the new welcomed news from mortgage lenders this should not cause too much disruption.
Where possible you should consider a longer completion date, whilst no one can estimate the duration of the lock down, the idea of ‘business as usual’ springs to mind. We recommend exchange with a completion date some time in the future, which will enable you to secure the property.
The government guidelines as referred to above, advise people to delay moving home during the current lockdown. However, you can arrange to move if the property is vacant. On the basis that the development you are to purchase is built this would be an empty property and therefore you can complete.
On the other hand if you are planning to exchange on a new build that has not yet been constructed, then the completion date will be sometime in the future and for this reason matters can progress to exchange in the normal course of the transaction process.
You should speak with your broker and or your mortgage lender about this as many lenders have agreed to grant an automatic extension and in some cases this is up to 3 months.
As with most things in the modern world, we are seeing clients face to face less and less due to an increase in general time pressure and demands on clients, so NO, this will not negatively impact a transaction.
Our dedicated property team will continue to correspond with you via email, telephone and post.
During the course of a property transaction documents will require signatures to be witnessed.
We are working with all clients and third parties to agree a way for this to be dealt with, even down to offering where possible, for witnesses to be present using remote methods such as Zoom or other video conferencing platforms.
During normal working hours, you can still call your dedicated contact within the team who will be available to answer the phone, please also refer to our website for further information and general advice about access to other specialists within the firm.