Published 25th March 2020
There is a cloud of uncertainty hanging over everything and everyone at the moment, and as things stand, nobody has any proper idea how long it’s going to last. We don’t know what we don’t know – which means the only thing to do is make the best of things as you see them today.
As I find myself with time on my hands due to a normally busy filming schedule being temporarily postponed I plan to use this time to help you as much as I can. My team and I will be sending regular email updates to help make sense of it all, so do subscribe and let’s talk!
The housing market has always been hugely affected by sentiment. Nobody likes making big decisions about whether to buy, to sell, to rent or to move without having as much of the information in front of them as possible. That’s just not possible right now and many people will feel stranded, not knowing what to do or which way to turn.
It was only a few weeks ago there was much talk in the market about major rises in activity levels. Indeed there was palpable excitement in the industry that things were truly looking up.
Right across the UK, agents were reporting deals being agreed, good numbers of houses being put up for sale, and buyer sentiment riding high. This was such a significant change from the malaise of 2019 – when the combination of Brexit and the General Election dampened everything.
And yet here we are today – with the world in a very different place.
So, what to do?
Due to the increased activity earlier in the year, we must presume people’s original motivation to buy, sell, move etc still remains as was. And therefore once the madness has passed, whenever that may be, that same level of activity will return. That being said –there will be plenty of people whose lives, jobs, businesses and savings will be dramatically affected in the interim.
We are all in this together, and while individual decisions are personal to people’s own unique situtations – tough decisions are being faced.
A few words of advice
Firstly, for any tenants who are, or shortly expect to be, unable to pay the rent.
Begin conversations early. Talk to your landlord or your letting agent as soon as possible, its important to do this as far in advance as you can before the problems really hit home. It’s vital to have an open and honest dialogue. Don’t wait until you can’t pay.
Try to negotiate some middle ground that’s realistic for both sides. Remember that landlords will have their own mortgages to pay, and use the rent you pay each month to do that. Yes, they may be able to arrange a ‘payment holiday’, but the money will still be owed.
For people who had been going out on viewings and looking for a new home to buy – I can only imagine you’ve now shut up shop, cancelled appointments and settled down to wait things out.
For people selling – there are no more viewers coming through the door anyway; so my only advice would be to spend this time really making sure your house in tip top order.
Write a list of all the jobs you’ve been putting off for too long and get cracking. You can’t go out anyway, and there’s no sport on telly! Once the world settles down and people feel like moving around it once again – it’s going to be more crucial than ever to ensure your house stands out from the crowd.
If you’re in a chain right now
Where things get way more complicated, more fraught and harder to make decisions – is where offers have been made, deals agreed, surveys done, solicitors in touch and whole chains questioning what to do. These are the people I particularly feel for.
Everybody will be desperately wondering what the best course of action is. Should you continue as is? Government advice as of 25th March 2020 is as follows:
“Home buyers and renters should, as far as possible, delay moving to a new house while emergency measures are in place to fight coronavirus.
“If moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons and the parties are unable to reach an agreement to delay, people must follow advice on social distancing to minimise the spread of the virus.
“Anyone with symptoms, self-isolating or shielding from the virus, should follow medical advice and not move house for the time being.”
Further guidance will be published in due course, but where moves do need to go ahead everyone involved should take care to follow Government guidance on social distancing and hygiene
I’m afraid there are no easy answers. Just about the only thing that can be relied on right now – is there are some incredible mortgage deals out there!
If you want to speak to our panel of mortgage advisors about the best rates on offer right now, then we’d be happy to connect you.
How can you prepare? Listen to my property tips on The Move iQ Podcast
The home buying and selling process can be a stressful and demanding experience. The Coronavirus, may have added to this but actually it buys you time to get better educated and prepared.