Lockdown No.2 - Buying & Selling during the restrictions

News at Musker McIntyre | 12/11/2020

Lockdown latest - buying and selling during COVID 19 restrictions

Like many areas of the economy, the housing market has had a turbulent year. During the first national lockdown, buying and selling virtually ground to a halt, with many experts predicting a housing price crash was on the way.

However, when the market opened up again in the middle of May, many estate agents, including Musker McIntyre, were busier than ever. The temporary stamp duty holiday (until 31st March 2021) introduced by the chancellor has proved incredibly popular, with many buyers taking the opportunity to up sticks and relocate. Soon, prices were actually starting to climb and demand for new properties was outstripping supply.

However, with the introduction of a new lockdown this week, many buyers and sellers will be wondering where they stand. If you were in the process of buying a new property, or if you want to get your home on the market in the coming weeks, understanding the new rules will help make the process as easy as possible. Keep reading to find out more.

The new lockdown

The new national lockdown came into force on the 5th November and will last until at least the 2nd December. During this time, Brits will be banned from leaving their homes unless it’s for specific purposes and all non-essential shops will shut. It’s possible that this lockdown will be extended by weeks, or even months, if the spread of Covid-19 isn’t brought under control.

On the face of it, this doesn’t sound like great news for the housing market. However, the Government has said that certain aspects of the industry can continue. This means that it might well still be possible to complete your move, or put your house on the market, under lockdown.

What the rules say

At the moment, the Government has said that estate agents can continue to operate and removal firms can continue to relocate customers to their new properties. Tradespeople can also continue to work in people’s homes during lockdown. However, all of these professionals are required to follow strict Covid-19 safety measures while they’re at work.

These rules apply to both tenants and buyers. So whether you’re looking for a new rental property or searching for your forever home, you shouldn’t let the new national lockdown hold you back.


One of the most difficult aspects of buying and selling under Covid-19 restrictions is carrying out viewings. The Government is currently advising that viewings be carried out virtually wherever possible. While not ideal, virtual viewings do give buyers a good insight into the layout and look of a property and can be a useful way for house hunters to make an initial assessment of their prospective new home.

In cases where virtual viewings aren’t an option, real-life viewings are allowed. However, all those taking part in real-life viewings will need to follow strict safety procedures. This includes wearing a mask, washing hands and staying as far apart as possible plus the house being well-ventilated with vendors opening up doors and windows.   Here at Musker McIntyre we have been following a strict Viewing Protocol for all viewings, valuations and appointments - with all of our teams following the Government Guidelines to stay Covid-secure.

Paperwork and negotiations

Once the viewing is complete and an offer has been accepted, most of the paperwork can be done remotely. Solicitors can carry out searches and get the legal pack together and mortgage companies can approve and issue loans all without anyone getting too close. The only part of the process that might require some extra care is the survey. However, as most surveyors operate alone, they should be able to take all relevant safety measures and keep their distance, while taking a closer look at the property.

Completion and getting the keys

Once all the paperwork is done and dusted and the buyers and sellers have completed, the new owners will need to pick up the keys. All keys should be properly cleaned and sanitised before being handed over in order to prevent infection. If possible, the new owners should also avoid going into the estate agents’ offices. If this isn’t an option, everyone present should wear a mask and stay as far apart as possible. Sanitising hands and keeping windows open will also help to minimise the risk of transmission.

Moving in

As removal companies will be able to operate during the new national lockdown, it should still be possible to complete your move over the next few weeks. However, you may want to allow a little more time for the packing, loading and unloading of boxes as removal companies will have to take extra precautions when entering your home and handling your belongings.

The only part of moving house that might be difficult during the national lockdown is accommodation. If you had planned on staying with family or friends while your home was being packed up, moved and unloaded, you may have to think again. The Government has banned people from spending a night in another household, so you may need to stay in your current home right up until the day of your move.

Moving in Tier 3 or Tier 2 lockdown

Once the national lockdown is lifted, it’s likely that parts of the country will remain under a high level of restriction. Luckily for prospective house hunters, even if Tier 2 and 3 restrictions are reintroduced, buying, selling and renting will be able to continue.

House hunters, estate agents and everyone else involved with the process will have to follow strict safety rules in order to avoid transmission. This will generally involve wearing masks, sanitising hands, keeping a safe distance and meeting in well-ventilated spaces where possible. The use of virtual viewings will also be encouraged, although in-person viewings will be easier.

If you’re thinking about buying or selling in the coming weeks, or if you’re already partway through the process and are concerned about being stuck in limbo, don’t worry, things should be able to proceed. To find out more about current restrictions, our Covid-19 safety measures and the services we’ll be offering through lockdown, get in touch with a member of our team today.

We are here to assist you in anyway we can and have a team of friendly and professional property consultants as the end of a phone or email in one of our offices:
Norwich - 01603 859343
Diss - 01379 644822
Loddon - 01508 521110
Bungay - 01986 888160
Beccles - 01502 710180
Halesworth - 01986 888205
Harleston - 01379 882535
Lettings & Management: 0330 0535950 
email: info@muskermcintyre.co.uk