During this unprecedented time as a prospective home purchaser or vendor you may be experiencing some uncertainty as to how your matter will proceed. As Government Guidance changes daily you may think that it will now become an impossible task to proceed with however, there are a few points that you should be aware of before making any decisions.
You have found your property, instructed your solicitor and matters are already underway.
You have yet to exchange contracts:
Your solicitor will continue to work towards ensuring that your matter is progressed to a point where you are in a position to exchange contracts. At this stage it must be noted that there may be some delays due to issues out of our control i.e. Searches being delayed, other parties being affected by the Coronavirus etc. We will in any event ensure that all matters are progressed as far a possible and once they are concluded we can start to look at some suitable completion dates.
If the property you are purchasing or selling is vacant and or/there is no “chain” involved the matter will proceed as normal and we would draw your attention to the Government Guidance regards social distancing. We would encourage you to read the guidance to allow for you to ensure that you are able to comply.
In instances where a property is not vacant, we will need to assess whether there is an urgent need to proceed to exchange and completion. If it is deemed to be necessary, again, it will be necessary to ensure that you are able to complete with the Government Guidance. In this scenario, we would, however, strongly recommend deferring the transaction until restrictions are lifted.
Please note that we will now aim for a simultaneous exchange of contracts for all parties benefit. This is where we will exchange and complete on the same day. This is beneficial as you are less likely to be tied into a contract you are unable to complete.
Your matter has already exchanged - where do I stand?
We will work towards ensuring that all parties involved in the transaction are in a position to proceed with the agreed date. However, it must be noted that where an exchange of contracts has already taken place you are legally obligated to complete the transaction. If you fail to do so there could be financial penalties incurred.
Where properties are vacant we must ensure that we are following Government Guidance in relation to social distancing and to ensure that this is complied with in any event.
Where properties are occupied and/or the transaction forms part of a chain of transactions, we may request that parties take a view and try and obtain an agreement whereby all parties agree to vary the contract to allow for a more suitable date for when completion can be agreed. However, please note it may not be possible to take such a view without incurring a penalty.
Moving forward, we will continue to liaise with all parties involved in the transaction including your mortgage provider to ensure that completion is still achievable and to resolve any potential issues prior to any agreed date