Moving House During Coronavirus

So, you reached that exciting milestone of buying a house and then an obstacle comes along – a global pandemic. The UK property market maintained its stability despite the coronavirus outbreak, this was because the Government provisionally dropped the stamp duty. Although, the virus has delayed opportunities to get preapproved for a mortgage, meet estate agents and view houses. However, now restrictions have eased, buying a property might be closer than ever!

Virtual House Tours

One of the biggest changes to come out of the pandemic was the move to more things being done online. This included house viewings during coronavirus. Sounds frustrating right? Well, it’s actually been a good thing! It can save you heaps of time, because you’ll have a better idea of whether a house is worth seeing or not. Even better, you can do it all from the comfort of your own home! Whilst some initial viewings can be online, before you spend your hard-earned cash, you can go see your humble abode in person. Remember – when you eventually do this, we’d recommend wearing a face mask and gloves, and make sure you have sanitiser at hand!

Safety remains our number one priority! So, to make sure everything goes smoothly, the rules are as follows:

  • In-person viewings must be organised by appointment only
  • Although restrictions have been lifted, we would still recommend keeping a 2m distance where possible during physical viewings, wearing a face mask and washingyour hands regularly.

Buying a House During Coronavirus

Last year, much to everyone’s delight, the stamp duty was temporarily reduced in a bid to save the housing market. However, now things are returning to some form of normality this has come to an end. So, now what? Well, from 1st October the threshold reverts back to £125,000. Although there’s no need to worry anyway, as Shared Ownership always saves the day! With Shared Ownership you get your dream house, at an affordable price and a repayment that will be no sweat off your back. Plus, depending on your own circumstances, stamp duty may not even be due! Your solicitor will be able to provide more guidance on this or head to the government’s website here for more information.

So, what comes next? You walk into the viewing and instantly fall in love. Now, you’re probably itching to reserve your home. Whilst you’re still free to do this, there’s a few potential factors to be aware of. If we can give you one piece of advice – be prepared for delays. Fear not though – there may be a solution! As we head towards better days, Simultaneous Exchange and Completion (SIMS) could be the future. Normally, doing these two processes on the same day has been avoided. However, by doing both together, Covid related risks are reduced, and the sound of your keys jingling moments away!

At Aster, we want to look out for you, so here’s our tips to reduce the risk of delays:

  • Instruct a conveyancing solicitor as soon as your offer is accepted to get ahead of the game. Our team will be able to provide recommendations to help you along the way.
  • Beat the lags when it comes to your mortgage. Even lenders and brokers are facing Covid related delays. So, start the process ASAP and ensure you have all your supporting documents requested by your mortgage company. This way you’ll be ready to go!

Moving House During Lockdown

So, what’s the lowdown when the time comes to move. You’ll be happy to know, regardless of whether we’re in lockdown or not – you can still move! Though restrictions are easing, the virus has changed our lives forever. It’s safe to say – we’re all probably very conscious of hygiene now. So, moving forward, certain measures will still need to be adhered to, to make moves safe. Following the removal of certain restrictions, it is now personal choice as to mask wearing and other precautions – but we always recommend being as safe as possible!

You’re probably thinking – what about using removal vans? Luckily, you’re able to hire these people to help with your move. At Aster, we’re all about doing things in advance. So, ring them now and discuss all your requirements. All this planning now, means the need for less contact on the day – happy days for everyone!

We’ve got some ideas we think are worth taking on board:

  • Do as much of the packing yourself
  • Clean all your belongings before they’re touched by the removers
  • Stick to social distancing rules (2m) when the removal team is in your house

Shared Ownership Advice

We understand how daunting the thought of saving for a house deposit is. Whilst we’ve exited lockdown in the UK, things still aren’t going to return back to normal immediately. We get it – this isn’t what you want to hear, when you’ve been eager to start house hunting. However, at Aster, we won’t let the virus get in the way of you buying your dream home! Shared Ownership is great for those who want to get onto the property ladder, without breaking the bank. The scheme allows you to take out a mortgage on a slice of your home (25% to 75%) and pay affordable rent on what’s left. So, say goodbye to those big deposits, and hello to home ownership! You’ll find with Shared Ownership, mortgage lenders usually offer competitive mortgage products often only needing a 5% deposit based on the share you buy. If you want to know the Aster way of how it all works, you’ll find everything you need here. Have a peek at our homes for sale, to get a feel for what you want.

Just a heads up – you’ll be paying rent on top of your mortgage payments as well as insurance costs and service charges. There’s also a way to decrease the amount of those rent payments. Let us introduce you to a wonderful thing called staircasing. It makes it possible to increase your owned share to 100% in most instances (we can advise on this once you’ve seen a property you like and check the terms of your lease). This means as you buy more shares, the cost of your rent will also decrease. Maybe you bag that promotion and you’re now earning the big bucks, or you’ve saved lots of money during lockdown. More money to spend means more affordability for a larger share! You can do this anytime during your tenancy.

If we can offer you any wisdom before you apply, do these following things first:

  • Speak to a shared ownership mortgage lender to advise on your affordability.
  • Check Aster’s eligibility criteria for your dream home
  • Read your lease carefully so you’re aware of any restrictions
  • Think about potential future plans and when you’ll be able to begin staircasing

We know at the best of times, getting onto that property ladder isn’t easy, let alone during a global pandemic! Although there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, returning to normal won’t be an instant thing. That also goes for the housing market. Regardless of your situation, Shared Ownership offers a glimmer of hope for all. For more information, check out our nifty property buying guide, to help make buying your dream home a reality!