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There is clear advice from the government today about how you can start to think about buying, selling or letting a property.

The key here is clearly caution. And the government guidelines are detailed. Over the next few days we will study the guidelines in depth and work out a safe plan for all our services. We will communicate these to you at the earliest opportunity.

If you want to read the guidelines for yourself in the meantime, please find them here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

In short, people are free to move home, yes, but there are strict safety recommendations in place to protect all parties at every step of the process.

You can put your house on the market right now and start to look for a new property to move into, but there are rules around keeping as much of the process virtual as possible, and sticking very carefully to social distancing and hygiene advice. This means video tours for people to view, and that online valuations will continue to be the norm.

If you find a property that you’re really interested in through these means, and you are serious about making an offer, you can arrange a physical viewing which the estate agent must ensure follows stringent social distancing and hygiene standards.

Removal firms too are preparing themselves to offer safe removal services to people finding themselves in a position to move. The advice recommends that packing is undertaken by the client wherever possible and social distancing is maintained at all times.

If there has been any instance of the COVID-19 or its symptoms none of the above will be allowed to happen, so honesty and transparency is going to be essential, and a fair bit of trust is going to be needed from all sides. And if you are vulnerable or being shielded the advice is still to avoid moving house if you can, or delay it where possible.

Solicitors are being asked to add clauses to legal contracts that provide flexibility in the event of delays due to illness or isolation, and property surveyors are being issued with their own safety guidelines moving forward.

Rest assured we are open for business and ready to help you, but we will continue to work with the main aim of protecting our staff and clients.