Now that the government has given a green light to the resumption of property trading, buyers and sellers will no doubt be wondering how the landscape has shifted since the COVID-19 outbreak took hold in the UK. 

Naturally, the physical aspect of buying and selling property during the coronavirus outbreak has changed, but what about the time transactions are now taking to complete? How has the timeframe in which you can expect to move home changed?

We’ll take a look at some of the most common delays you may face whilst completing a property transaction in the midst of a pandemic in today’s post.

Local searches

Ask anyone who has bought or sold property about local searches and you’ll probably get a groan in return. Even at the best of times, search delays are not uncommon, so throw something like coronavirus into the mix and you have a recipe for disaster.

Local councils are likely to be faced with both a backlog of requests and a shortage of staff thanks to COVID-19, so you should expect a lengthy wait for your search to be returned. If you get yours back in quick order, great, but be prepared for a drawn out process, just in case.

Building surveys

Both backlog and staff illness will affect surveyors as much as they hit the councils who will be conducting local searches. On top of that, those who carry out building surveys now have a raft of new guidelines to adhere to as well, and most of them will slow the process of carrying out surveys down considerably.

Mortgage valuation

Mortgage valuation surveys, like the building surveys mentioned above, are also likely to be hit with delays. Although these generally take less time to carry out than building surveys, lenders will still be affected by staff shortages and a backlog in requests. Again, don’t be surprised if this part of the process takes longer than usual.

Buyer, seller, or someone else in the chain falls ill

As the Prime Minister will testify, coronavirus does not discriminate, so there’s a real possibility that someone connected to your transaction could fall ill with COVID-19. If this were to happen, delays would be inevitable and it could even result in the chain collapsing altogether.

Is there anything you can do to avoid delays?

While certain hindrances to your property sale or purchase will be unavoidable at the moment, there are a couple of things you can do to help lessen the chances of them occurring and even expedite the transaction.

Firstly, if you’re currently sitting on the fence over a survey or similar, act now. Yes, there is a backlog, but this will not stop others joining the queue, so take your place in it as early as you possibly can.

Second is communication. An old favourite here at Petty’s, communication can help ease anxiety levels and keep everyone in the chain upbeat. Make sure you keep in constant touch with all concerned, especially your agent and conveyancing solicitor, throughout the process.

Finally, stay on top of any requests made to you and respond as soon as you possibly can, preferably within 24 hours of receipt. This could include something as basic as signing a document or a more in depth request such as the completion of the TA6 Property Information or TA10 Fitting and Contents forms. Regardless of what it is, get it done!

Here at Petty’s, we fully appreciate just how uncertain the current situation feels for homeowners and those looking to get onto the ladder for the first time. We also appreciate that you may have questions regarding your move, and we’d be happy to answer any queries or concerns you may have.

We are all still working from home at present, but rest assured that both our phone lines and email inboxes are being monitored and responded to, so if you have anything property-related you’d like to ask us, do feel free to reach out. We’re always happy to help.

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