31 Mar Here To Help You Now: Coronavirus Update
With this cloud of uncertainty hanging over everything and everyone at the moment, nobody has any real 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.
Our Coronavirus update
The housing market has always been significantly affected by confidence and 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 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 significant rises in property transactions and asking prices. Indeed, there was palpable excitement in the industry that things were, at last, looking up.
Right across the UK agents were reporting sales being agreed, increases in houses being put up for sale and buyer sentiment riding high. This was 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. remains unchanged. Therefore, once the madness has passed, whenever that might 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 unique situations – tough decisions are being faced.
A few words of advice…
First, 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.
However, use the time to research the local market. Look at historic house prices and revisit your budget. This could be an excellent time to speak to your mortgage adviser and look at affordability again.
It’s also a good time to start thinking about your choice of conveyancer – plenty of solicitors have an automated conveyancing quotation tool to help you compare the costs.
For people selling – no more viewers are coming through the door anyway; so, my only advice would be to spend this time really making sure your house is 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 once again, it’s going to be more crucial than ever to ensure your house stands out from the crowd.
Are there rooms which would benefit from a lick of paint? Is it time to start decluttering to let rooms breathe and show off the space and the potential? Can you start to de-personalise and make it more of a ‘blank canvas’?
Look at your budget again and make sure you understand all the costs, including solicitors’ fees, searches, surveys and removals. Look at your mortgage again and speak to an advisor – one this is certain, and that’s that there are some fantastic deals out there.
However, 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.
Everybody will be desperately wondering what the best course of action is.
Should you continue as is? Or put the transaction on hold? Pull out altogether? Renegotiate the price? There are so many variables; it’s impossible to offer useful advice across the board.
What I would say is that whatever decision you reach will depend on your unique circumstances. It will be affected by a combination of what your original motivation was to buy, sell or move. How happy you were with what you’d found or the deal you’d agreed. And whether or not you expect current events to alter your income, savings or borrowing capacity?
I’m afraid there are no easy answers.
Finally, 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, and it’s essential 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 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.
Ask me your questions
Like you, I too find myself with time on my hands in my typically busy schedule. So, I plan to use this time to help you as much as I can and wanted to let you know that I, and the Anthony Jones team, are here for you.
You no doubt have plenty of questions for me about what’s the best course of action to take. The reality is that no one really knows the right answer for sure. But if there’s something you think my team or I can help with, please let us know your question, and we’ll do our best to help and guide you.
We’re also allowing everyone to ask me their essential questions which can be done over on our twitter channel – using the hashtag #AskAJP. If you don’t already, please do follow us and look out for our post. I will try to answer as many of your questions as I possibly can and will be answering them personally.
We are continuing to monitor the situation closely, its impact on the property market and bring you the relevant news.