How to buy a house in lockdown – a pandemic guide.

There are many people out there wondering, can you buy a house in lockdown… So, can you? 

Yes, you can!

Although Covid-19 has resulted in varying lockdown measures across the UK, house purchases have continued, as lenders, financial services, and solicitors adopted the nationwide work from home policy, ourselves included.

Despite the first lockdown completely closing estate agents, preventing viewings and putting evaluations on hold, the market has since moved to a more straightforward process. Wherever possible, automated processes for valuations and legal work now take the place of physical visits.

So, what does this all mean for you?

First and foremost, I need to relay some basic health and safety advice… Whether you are looking for a new home, investment property or for a house to rent, please follow government guidance and keep your distance, wear a mask, protect yourself and others around you.

At the time of writing (February 2021), viewing a property has been declared an acceptable reason to leave your home during lockdown.

In my years of giving advice, Lender criteria has probably seen the biggest number of changes to policy & procedure within such a short period. With lenders worried that property prices could fall, and many people could find themselves unemployed or without a steady income, getting advice has never been so important.

Thankfully, the government financial support schemes and freeze on stamp duty (up to £500,000, ending 31 March 2021) has seen a surge in people actively looking to move home, and a market boom!

So, what do you need to know?

Firstly, there are many tips and tricks out there to explain the safest ways to buy, from visiting your local estate agents, to limiting house visits through virtual viewings, and getting advice via video call.

With your mortgage a key part of any purchase, we recommend getting advice from a truly independent service, like us. We have invested in being able to offer the widest range of mortgages to find the best possible match for your circumstances. Including mortgage products for those of us who are self-employed, furloughed or otherwise impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

By using video calling from Zoom or Microsoft Teams, email or even an old-fashioned phone call, you can still get the same excellent advice from an independent Advisor without having to speak face-to face.

With all of this in mind, the process of buying a home and getting a mortgage in lockdown is the same as it’s always been… apart from shouting “you’re on mute!” once in a while.

  1. Speak to an independent Advisor to discuss your mortgage requirements and how much you can borrow (we won’t be offended if you don’t choose us)
  2. Find out if you’re eligible for a government scheme, like Help to Buy or the freeze on Stamp Duty
  3. Search for your dream home, socially distanced of course.
  4. Ask your solicitor to do all the legal work (we can recommend you someone)
  5. Get a valuation for your desired purchase
  6. Agree a price for your chosen property, and we will guide you through the rest of the process.

In summary, lockdown has changed a lot of how we work, talk, and keep in touch; but thankfully the process of buying a house has remained the same, regardless of Covid-19. All that remains for us to say is, keep your distance, wear a mask, and stay safe.

About the author

Steve joined the financial services industry in 2006 after a 22 year career in the Royal Air Force. Now five years into his time at Warners, Steve is an expert mortgage and protection Advisor.

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