After seven weeks on hold, the government has lifted restrictions on the property market. Since the 13th May 2020, estate agents have been allowed to reopen, buyers and tenants have been allowed to view properties and property professionals such as surveyors and removal firms have been allowed to get back to work.
Below, we’ve summarised everything you need to know about moving home during the coronavirus pandemic.
Considering your options
During lockdown, we’ve all had a lot of time to think. Many of us have had a change of heart regarding where we want to live. Many people living in cities now envisage a countryside lifestyle, while others living far away from their families want to move closer to home.
Before jumping into anything, gather all your thoughts from the past few months so you can make an informed decision about where you want to live.
Preparing to buy and sell a house during Coronavirus
The government has encouraged initial viewings to be carried out via virtual tours, rather than in person. Estate agents can visit your home to take photos and videos of your property, which they will then share with prospective buyers so that they can get a good feel for your property and whether it meets their requirements. When visiting your home, estate agents should follow social distancing measures.
House viewing checklist during Coronavirus
Once the initial stages of virtual viewings have been carried out and you or your potential buyer are seriously considering making an offer, it’s time for an in-person house viewing. It’s important that nobody involved is experiencing COVID symptoms, or has had any symptoms in the past two weeks. If you’re the homeowner, you should vacate the property while the viewing takes place and wipe down all surfaces before and after the viewing.
If you’re the prospective buyer, the following steps should be taken to ensure everyone’s safety:
- Maintain a 2-metre distance at all times. If this isn’t possible, you should wear a face mask.
- Only members of one household can attend physical viewings, so only people that you live with.
- Bring hand sanitiser. The estate agent may provide some, but we recommend bringing your own too.
- Avoid touching any surfaces whilst in the property. 
How to make an offer on a house during Coronavirus
Government guidance states that you are free to make or accept an offer or reserve a property as normal.
It’s worth bearing in mind that there is a greater risk that parties may need to delay because someone is showing symptoms of coronavirus. Your solicitor should advise you and help make sure that any contracts or agreements are as flexible as possible to accommodate this risk. 
How to move house during Coronavirus
If you’re using a removal company to make the move, there are certain measures that the government advises:
- You and your household should try to do as much of the packing yourself as possible. Where this is not possible, you should speak to your removal firm in advance to make alternative arrangements.
- Where possible you should clean your belongings with standard domestic cleaning products before they are handled by others.
- Whilst the removers are in your home, you should ensure any internal doors are open and try to minimise contact with the removal staff, staying at least 2 metres apart where possible.
- Everyone involved in the move should wash their hands regularly and avoid touching surfaces where possible to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus.
- You shouldn’t provide refreshments, but you should ensure removal staff have access to hand washing facilities, using separate towels or paper towels if possible, which should be washed or disposed of safely afterwards. 
Ready to buy or sell a property? As always, we are here to help you and provide free no obligation advice. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with your local branch! We are as committed as ever to supporting you through these difficult times.