How to stay safe moving home during lockdown

Under the current lockdown rules, home moves can still take place providing everyone follows the government’s safety guidance.

This means that you you’re free to contact estate agents, view homes in person, get your home valued, and do just about everything that home-moving involves, as long as you stick to the government’s latest advice.

If you’re unsure about what all these guidelines are, we’ve summarised them for you below.

But before we get into the details, the government maintains that the three most important rules continue to be:

  • Wash your hands – with soap, regularly, and for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your face – especially when in an enclosed space with people you don’t usually meet with, and where socially distancing is difficult.
  • Maintain social distancing – stay two meters apart as much as possible.

Also remember that if you or anyone in your household is experiencing any flu symptoms or tested positive for coronavirus, you must pause your plans to move until you’re better. You shouldn’t view properties in person or allow people to come view yours until your period of self-isolation is over.

Viewings

Try to do a virtual viewing first, if it’s an option. It’ll reduce the number of viewings agents do, which also minimises the spread of germs.

It could also save you time, because you’ll have a better idea of whether a house is worth seeing or not.

When viewing a property in person, this should only be done by appointment. Make sure you wear a face mask, avoid touching surfaces, and wash your hands or use sanitiser before and after.

There shouldn’t be more than two households within the property at any one time, and viewings should only be arranged by appointment, so ‘open houses’ shouldn’t be happening at the moment.

If you’re selling your home and are having interested buyers come around to have a look, open all the inside doors beforehand so they don’t have to touch the door handles. You may also want to have some hand sanitiser available to them in case they forget theirs.

It’s recommended that you’re not in the property during the viewing, and that you disinfect all surfaces after.

Here are five questions to ask to help you stay safe at a viewing.

Offers through to completion

You’re free to make or accept an offer or reserve a property as normal.

Bear in mind that in some areas the conveyancing process will be slower than usual, as some solicitors and agents may be operating at limited capacity, or are very busy working through deals that have stacked up over the last few months.

If you are about to enter into a legally binding contract, you should discuss the possible implications of one of the parties being affected by having to self-isolate or quarantine.  Ask your legal representative if they can include provisions to manage these risks in the contracts.

If someone in your household – or the other party’s – began to show any flu symptoms just as you’re about to complete, you’ll probably need to postpone things by a few weeks.

The government says we should all remain flexible in this sort of scenario, so it would be ideal if your contracts can reflect that.

Moving

Removal firms are able to carry out work, as long as all the usual procedures that ensure everyone’s safety are in place.

Try to do most of your packing yourself, if possible. And if you can, give your belongings a quick spray or wipe-down with a disinfectant before they’re handled by someone else.

When the removals’ team is around, do your best to maintain distance and wash your hands regularly.

 

Read more: Your full guide on how to view property safely.


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