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  • 11 Jun 2020

    Buying a House in a Post-Coronavirus Market

    How long will it take to buy a new house?

    The coronavirus pandemic saw the housing and property market almost completely shut down for nearly three months. Viewings, offers and completions were put on hold until the industry received guidance from the government that viewings and listings would be allowed again from mid-May.But how has this impacted the industry - and house moves - as a whole?

    How long will the house-buying process take?

    It’s estimated that approximately 450,000 people who were either buying or selling a house were caught in limbo when the industry ground to a halt in March due to the coronavirus lockdown. It’s likely these people will be keen to complete their moves. As well as these people, there will undoubtedly be those who were either ready to put their house on the market but missed it just before lockdown, or where the lockdown and the pandemic has meant that personal circumstances have changed and who are now looking to sell.Therefore, despite what is regularly being reported in news stories, data suggests the housing market won’t take long to regain momentum.However, there are a few things that could mean the house-buying process will take longer now than in more ‘normal’ times.Both search providers and lenders may have longer delivery times due to Council departments and Surveyors having been shut down during lockdown and backlogs are taking their toll on timescales.The conveyancing process relies on a lot of data and information being provided to the conveyancer and necessary checks being made to ensure that the property you are purchasing is suitable for not only the buyer but any lenders that may be involved.  Any delay in this information being provided by buyers, sellers, solicitors or lender will all have an effect on how quickly the process can take.

    Someone in the chain contracts coronavirus

    If someone in the chain contracts coronavirus or is required to self-isolate because they have come into contact with someone who has the virus, this could delay the completion process for at least two weeks, and possibly more if other members of their family also have to isolate.Likewise, if someone in a household becomes ill with the virus, that will stall all face-to-face viewings on their property for a few weeks – not to mention that fact that many people will be anxious about letting people into their homes during this time – so that is another factor that may mean the normal timeframe in which you could expect to complete the purchase or sale of a house to be extended during this time.Our conveyancers will be happy to discuss potential solutions with our clients to reduce the risk of breaching contracts if this happens during the transaction.

    Professional services involved in the process are delayed

    At Hegarty Solicitors we are pleased to say that throughout the uncertain period from March to May 2020, we continued to work efficiently and effectively remotely, keeping in touch with our clients regularly. However, other legal offices and estate agents may be understaffed. Therefore, there could be a hold up in completions or correspondence due to some offices working reduced staff, therefore slowing down the process of buying or selling your house.

    How we can help

    We’re here to make things easier for you. Choosing us as your trusted conveyancing solicitor means you’ll have a team on hand who have worked hard throughout the social distancing measures to keep clients up to date on their moves.  Therefore, if you’ve been waiting to move house but are unsure under the current circumstances, we’ll be more than happy to talk you through the steps and processes we’re currently following to ensure things go ahead smoothly.We have recently updated our processes and the way we send out documents and correspondence to our clients so that we reduce as much delay as possible.  We will now contact you predominantly by email so you are not waiting for documents to come through the post.  We are now starting to send out the initial forms you will have to complete on sale transactions with our quotes, so when you are ready to instruct us we can get the contract papers out as quickly as possible.If you have not yet instructed a conveyancer, are still looking for the perfect property or if you have your house on the market and are waiting for a buyer but want to know what you can do to make sure your move goes through as quickly as possible, we have compiled a list of the things you can do to help ensure there are as few delays as possible:
    • Make sure you have your Photo ID ready to provide and verify to your conveyancer at the start of the transaction (passport or photocard driving licence or other photo ID)
    • Make sure you have your proof of address ready to provide and verify to your conveyancer at the start of the transaction (a bank statement or utility bill in your name with your current address on that is dated within the last 3 months)
    See a full checklist for both buyers and sellers to help speed up the transaction:[button_shortcode button_url="/personal-advice/moving-house/buying-selling-checklist/" button_text="Buying and selling Check-list"]So if you are thinking about moving house, contact us to chat to one of our trusted experts or get an online quote here.[button_shortcode button_url="/personal-advice/moving-house/online-quote/" button_text="Get a quote online"]  

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