16 May COVID-19 FAQs
FOR THE SAFETY OF YOU AND OUR STAFF – If you or anybody from your household or anybody that you have been in contact with is displaying any of the COVID-19 symptoms you should NOT visit any of our branches or request or attend any appointments with us until your symptoms have disappeared.
Can I visit my local branch?
For the safety and well-being of our staff, customers and clients you will only be able to attend our branches by appointment only. All our branches and most of our staff are working and are contactable on the following email addresses and telephone numbers.
How will you keep me safe during a Valuation, Energy Performance or Photography appointment?
Our clients and our staff members safety is paramount and here is the procedure we are adopting during an appointment at this time…
- Clients must NOT request a physical valuation, EPC or photography appointment if they are, or any member of their household is, displaying symptoms of the Coronavirus which can be any or all of the following; high temperature/fever, continuous cough and/or shortness of breath.
- We ask that handwashing facilities ideally with separate towels/paper towels are made available to us, however, our valuers will always attend your property with suitable hand sanitisers and/or protective gloves which can be used at the valuation appointment.
- Our valuers will attend at your property with appropriate face masks should it be your preference that these are worn. However, face masks must be worn in the event that social distancing cannot be maintained.
- Prior to us attending a valuation appointment we ask that all internal doors, walk in robes etc. are open in order to avoid us coming into contact with hard surfaces.
- Wherever possible and appropriate we ask that windows, bi-fold and patio doors etc. are opened to ensure good ventilation and ease of access to outside spaces and gardens.
- We politely request that clients vacate the property whilst we make an initial inspection to minimise contact with us and, for you, those not living in your household. This will also allow us to adhere to the social distancing measures of 2 meters whilst walking around your home making notes and sketching floor plans.
- We will always ensure that the social distancing measures are adhered to while we conduct our appraisal and discussion after the initial walk round.
- If we are attending your property to carry out an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) you should ensure the energy assessor has access to all the parts of the property they need to inspect, and make efforts to minimise contact with them, for example by staying in another room whilst they are inspecting your home.
- If we are attending your property to carry out professional photography, please ensure that your property is presented as you wish it to appear in the photographs as the photographer will not be able to move furniture and touch any unnecessary surfaces in your home.
- Two-meter social distancing must be adhered to on all visits to your home.
- You should sanitise door handles and hard surfaces after our visit
How will you keep me safe during a viewing?
When conducting a viewing appointment the following practises have been put into place to protect our clients and ourselves:
- Clients must NOT allow a viewing appointment to take place or attend at a property if they are, or any member of their household has or is displaying symptoms of the Coronavirus which can be any or all of the following; high temperature/fever, continuous cough and/or shortness of breath.
- Clients are requested to view properties on the internet and virtual tours (if available) before requesting a physical viewing appointment.
- Only clients with serious intent to move/offer will be permitted to have physical viewing appointments.
- Only 2 adults from the same household will be permitted to attend a viewing appointment.
- Children are not permitted at house viewings.
- Hand washing facilities, where possible, will be made available and ideally separate towels/paper towels. Hand washing or hand sanitising is to be carried out by all clients at both the beginning and the end of every viewing appointment. However, should hand washing facilities not be available viewers should come to viewing appointments prepared with their own hand sanitiser.
- Clients should attend viewings with a face mask/covering which can be used in the event of any unforeseen circumstances or where social distancing measures cannot be maintained.
- We request that clients vacate the property to minimise contact with us and those not in their household to allow us to adhere to the social distancing measures of 2 meters
- Prior to viewing appointments, all internal doors, walk in robes etc. and windows will be opened to avoid contact with hard surfaces and to ensure good ventilation, wherever possible.
- Viewers are not permitted to touch any hard surfaces or open any cupboards or doors in the property
- Viewing appointments are currently restricted to fifteen/twenty minutes maximum
- Social distancing of 2 meters must be adhered to at all times
- After each viewing all door handles and other hard surfaces that may have been touched will be cleaned with standard household cleaning products or sanitising wipes.
- Our accompanied viewers will no longer be providing property particulars at the appointment in order to reduce the risk of spread of infection. You may download property particulars from the internet or we are able to e-mail them or post them via Royal Mail if preferred.
Is it possible to view a property with somebody who isn’t from my household?
No. You can only view a property with one other person who is from the same household as yourself. A separate appointment will be required for another person outside of your household. Only two adults are permitted at any one time on an accompanied viewing.
Do I need to bring my own PPE if I am viewing a property?
Yes, we request that all viewers at a minimum bring with them their own hand sanitiser. Face mask/coverings should be available to be used in the event that social distancing measures cannot be maintained within the property.
What do you think will happen to house prices?
At this moment in time we are seeing pent up demand and increased activity in our local market and we therefore would expect that prices will remain stable for the time being. We are also seeing many requests for both valuations and viewings which suggests positivity in the housing market. There are still many mortgage lenders offering competitive rates and excellent products.
My house has remained on the market, should I now expect to see increased interest and activity?
Yes. Even in this very short space of time since our industry has been released from lockdown we have seen a considerable jump in activity in the market and we expect this to continue over the coming week and months. If you wish to discuss your own personal situation and circumstances surrounding your property please do not hesitate to contact us.
What is the situation with mortgage lenders?
Steven Hargreaves, Financial Advisor and Head of our Hardisty Financial team always has his finger on the pulse regarding lenders. We have noticed over the last few weeks that most lenders have increased their lending from 60-75% to around 85%, we are expecting as surveyors are able to clear the backlog of outstanding valuations, lenders will start to lend up to 90 and 95% which were available prior to lockdown. Interest rates are remarkably low, now is an opportune time to buy. Interest rates have been low for some time now (unrelated to COVID-19) and so if you’re looking to get on to the property ladder, perhaps need to upsize or need to remortgage, now is a great time.
I am furloughed/self-employed. Can I still apply for a mortgage?
Yes, you can still apply for a mortgage if you are employed and been Furloughed, however, lenders would need to be made aware if you are employed and your income furloughed, this could effect the amount they are prepared to lend you.
The same would apply for a self employed applicant, lenders need to take a responsible approach to lending, and would have to confirm that your income would not drop, if you were unable to work during lockdown, this would have to take this into account.
I received mortgage advice before lockdown, will this advice have changed?
Lenders have changed a lot of their criteria in the last 7 weeks, how much they will lend, what percentage they will lend, what income can and can’t be taken into account, it would be beneficial to ensure the advice you have had is still up to date, and more importantly correct.
How much deposit will I now need to buy a house?
Again prior to lockdown, lenders were prepared to lend in some cases 100% of the value of your new home, however, lenders reduced this during lockdown to needing a whopping 40% deposit, this has eased over the last couple of weeks, however, most lenders still require 15% deposit, hence why it is beneficial taking up to date mortgage advice.
Can I get mortgage advice over the phone?
Yes! We can provide comprehensive mortgage advice over the telephone or if preferred a virtual face to face consultation via the zoom app and are able to notify you of all relevant products available on the market to fit your individual circumstances.
I have already purchased a property will the home survey now go ahead?
Yes. Surveyors are governed by the same guidelines as estate agents and therefore should be able to now visit your property to undertake the survey. You should contact your individual surveyor for further details.
I have been waiting to exchange and complete on a property, is this now possible?
Yes. However, all parties should be flexible over this period and be prepared to delay moves if needed (if somebody becomes ill with the virus). Your legal advisor should be able to help you to ensure that any contract you enter into has sufficient flexibility. If you are using a removal firm for your move, they are able to operate, although they may need to adjust usual procedures in order to ensure moves happen as safely as possible.
If you need financial advice or would like to discuss your requirement, give us a call now on 0113 2390012 or visit the following pages: