Selling a property during the Covid-19 pandemic
Thinking about selling your property during the Covid-19 pandemic, check out our blog for our latest advice.
Selling a property at any time might seem like a big decision, but during times of uncertainty it can be even more daunting, and you might not know which way to turn for the best advice.
The Covid-19 pandemic is like nothing any of us have experienced before, it is affecting every aspect of our daily lives and can make even simple tasks like popping to the shop difficult let alone thinking about selling the biggest asset you are likely to own.
Should I sell my property during the Covid-19 pandemic?
This will depend on your personal circumstances and the reasons why you are thinking about selling your property.
Different agents may give you different advice, but our honest opinion is to try to wait if your circumstances allow you to do so. Estate Agents and Auctioneers all want to keep the property market moving for obvious reasons, but our main concern is that while prospective purchasers aren’t able to view your property (from the inside or outside without flouting the lockdown rules) then you are not likely to get the best price for your property.
Listing your property with an Estate Agent might be ok as there are still plenty of people browsing the internet (either via an agent’s own website or the usual property portals). Let’s face it most of us have more time than usual on our hands, but are they likely to commit to the purchase without viewing? and could the marketing go a bit stale while everyone is in limbo waiting for the lockdown to be eased, even just slightly to enable viewings to start again?
Auctions are usually a great way to sell if you are looking for security of sale as they offer an immediate exchange of contracts and fixed completion date, but during these times the number of prospective purchasers who are in a position or prepared to exchange contracts without carrying out any checks is going to be limited.
That being said, there are a number of property investors and dealers who often buy properties without seeing them, so your property could still sell, but with limited numbers being prepared to do so this will undoubtedly impact on the price you are likely to achieve for your property.
Another thing to bear in mind is that auction properties are usually sold as seen. If a purchaser is not able to carry out their own due diligence, to include viewing the property or having a builder and/or surveyor inspect the property on their behalf, they could find a problem with the property after they have exchanged and completed. Following completion, a purchaser may feel that the photographs/videos used by an auctioneer/agent did not provide a true reflection of the condition of the property and this could ultimately leave some vendors or auctioneers in a difficult position.
Is your sale critical?
The Government’s advice is to only sell your property if it is critical to do so. What defines critical is somewhat subjective, but it really depends on your circumstances. Do you need to sell immediately for financial, health or job reasons? or could you wait a few weeks or so for some of the restrictions to be eased?
If you can wait, then our advice would certainly be to do so. This will enable your local Estate Agent or Auctioneer to visit the property to take professional photos and a video tour, showcasing your property in the best possible way, for viewings to be undertaken (critical in our opinion) and for a surveyor to visit the property for your purchaser to raise their finances, if necessary.
The number of people viewing a property at one time is likely to be limited for some time yet, we can generate so much interest that we often have hundreds of people view each property, but this is something we can manage as we come out of lockdown. Our priority will always be the safety and well-being of our staff, clients and everyone we meet, and we will therefore ensure everyone maintains any social distancing rules and that we continue to follow the Government’s latest advice.
If your personal circumstances mean that you are not able to wait, then please contact us and one of our advisers will give you their honest and impartial advice, tailored to your needs.
Selling in an online auction could be one solution. This still offers you the speed and security of a fixed exchange and completion date with a 10% deposit being paid at the end of the auction and the flexibility to start and end the auction on any day to suit you. But this will come at a price, and for the reasons set out above, you are likely to going to need to be more flexible on the price you are willing to accept.
Remote Bidding Auctions
At the beginning of April, we made the difficult decision to cancel our May auction. We are the Number 1 Auctioneer in Midlands, and as the market leader we felt that we had an obligation to prioritize the health and safety of our clients, staff and the wider public over our commercial objectives. Our record-breaking and award-winning team are passionate about selling property and especially about property auctions, and we were devastated to have to make such a decision. We have between 2,000-3,000 people attend each of our auctions so for obvious reasons our traditional in-room auction could not go ahead.
We could have turned to what we call remote bidding auctions, where the auction is still held on a set time and date, with a number of properties being offered on the same day. Potential purchasers register before the auction which allows them to place a proxy bid (the auctioneer bids on their behalf up to their maximum amount), by phone (they bid over the phone via a member of our team) or on the internet (via a secure area on our website). We already offer these services at our in-room auctions, so they are all tried and trusted ways of bidding, in fact we had 850 remote bidders register for our 27th February 2020 auction, so we know it works. However, the reason why we decided not to proceed down this route at this time, as some other auctioneers have done, goes back to the fact that potential purchasers can’t view and with difficulties of getting a surveyor out to a property they can’t carry out their usual pre-auction checks and may find it difficult to raise finance.
As lockdown is eased, hopefully over the coming month or so, this is likely to be the first stage of getting our auctions back up and running. Our team are eager to get going again so as soon as we can commence viewings, we will be ready to hold our next auction.
Honest & Impartial Advice
We already have over 130 lots confirmed for our next auction – and we could get close to beating our own record!
You do not have to wait to contact us, our team are working from home and are fully operational, so can answer any questions or queries. Please contact us in the usual way by phone 0121 312 1212 or email [email protected].
We can do a remote valuation of your property at any time – we have the most experienced and successful auction team in the region and therefore we have a host of information and data available to us. We promise to always offer our honest and impartial advice to best suit your needs, and we will be able to give you our advice on what might be the best way to sell your property (auction or open market) and an accurate indication of what price we think we could achieve on your behalf.
Please continue to follow the latest Government advice – stay at home as much as possible, only go out for essential supplies, exercise and work (if you are not able to work from home). We are all in this together and it is important that we help each other to get through it.