Selling and Buying Property during the Coronavirus Pandemic
THEODORA MICHAELOUDIS >
Consultant SolicitorThu 28 May 2020
It is certainly good news that the government has eased its restrictions on the property market and whilst over the years the property market has suffered many challenges, this is a new and unexpected challenge to the market. As estate agents are opening their doors to customers and viewings are resuming, they are seeking to reassure sellers and buyers that it is possible to still sell and buy in this climate but sellers and buyers have their own concerns. I have set out below what sellers/buyers should be considering.
Many agents have indicated to me that whilst they did fear that the market will suffer, the reality is not as bad as they originally envisaged and there is still interest in viewings and offers been made. This must be reassuring for many buyers and sellers. Even if you feel this is not the right time you can still arrange a meeting with an agent to discuss your options. It could be the case, that the situation is not how you thought it would be and it is always a good idea to consider all your options with your agent.
In the current climate, sellers are concerned that they may have to reduce their sale price or risk having their property on the market for some time. In these circumstances, sellers should consider having another valuation carried out to ascertain the current value of the property and how COVID-19 has impacted on the value of their property. If the valuation indicates that the market value of the property has fallen then a seller has to consider whether they want to sell and if they do, consider revising the asking price. Conducting a valuation will alleviate your concerns. Do not automatically assume you know the market until a valuation has been carried out. It could be the case that the impact is not as you had expected.
Sellers involved in chain transactions who are selling at a particular price in order to buy another property, at an agreed price have concerns that if they reduce their sale price they will not be able to buy at the agreed price. This is where communication with your agent and solicitor is important as you need to consider whether you can approach the seller of the property which you are buying for a price reduction to reflect changes in the market. You also need to speak to your lender to ensure everything is still in order with your mortgage and if a price reduction is agreed on the property you are buying you may be able to reduce the amount which you need to borrow. Lenders must be kept informed and agree to any change in price.
If as a seller you decide that now is not the right time to sell, then if you are selling a leasehold property now maybe a good time to extend the term of the lease. If you are selling a lease with a term of under 80 years the buyer will seek to reduce the amount that they offer. However, if a lease term has been extended this could increase the marketability potential of the property which you are selling.
Always keep in mind that the property market is always evolving. The property market has and will continue to survive the challenges it faces. Even if you have experienced delays in the process of selling/buying, these delays are not permanent but temporary and things can only improve. People are always going to want to sell for various reasons and people are always going to want to buy.
If you have any questions on the points raised above make sure you get expert property advice from Solicitor Theodora Michaeloudis. Click on the contact us icon to email Theodora directly or call on 020 3540 4447.
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