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Moving home during the Coronavirus pandemic – what do you need to know?

Following the recent government announcement, England is set to go into a second lockdown from Thursday 5th November until Wednesday 2nd December. And it’s probably safe to say you have a lot of questions about what this means for you.

Whether you’re thinking of moving house, in the process of moving, unsure how you’ll afford mortgage payments, or more – we’ve put together a list of a few commonly asked questions to help steer you in the right direction, and put your mind at ease.

Please note, Wales and Scotland currently have different restrictions in place to England.

For more information on moving home during the Coronavirus pandemic in Wales visit gov.wales or for Scotland, click here.

Can I list my home for sale?

Yes, you can still list your home on the property market just like normal. Contact an estate agent as your normally would, and they’ll be able to take care of the rest. You may need to book an appointment for any points of contact between you and the estate agency. 

Is the process of searching and moving into a new home the same?

As noted by the government, the “process of searching for and moving into a new home is different because property agents, conveyancers and other professionals have modified how they work in order to reduce the risk from COVID-19”. So, while people can still move home, the process may take a little bit longer and be a bit different from normal.

 

As part of the recent announcements, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick confirmed:

 

  • Renters and homeowners will still be able to move
  • Removal firms and estate agents can still operate
  • Construction sites can still continue
  • Tradespeople will be able to enter homes

 

If you want to know a bit more about the official government guidance on moving home, read more here.

Can I still view a house?

Yes. House viewings can still be made by appointment only. However, home movers are being encouraged to do their initial property searches online wherever possible.

Could I still apply for a mortgage payment holiday?

Yes, you can. The government recently announced an extension to the mortgage payment holiday by up to six months. The scheme allows homeowners to take a break from making mortgage payments, until they are able to do so once again. However, the length of time you can extend will be decided on a case by case basis by the lender.

What if I can now afford to make mortgage payments?

If you can afford to start paying your mortgage again, you should. It is a critical outgoing which you don’t want to fall into arrears with as this can lead to challenges in obtaining credit in the future.

 

It should be your priority to pay the mortgage, if you can. After all, it is one of the largest monthly outgoings most people have.

What if my financial situation hasn’t improved?

Lenders are understanding about the current unprecedented times we’re facing. If you’re still experiencing payment difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic, lenders will offer you further support so do not be afraid to have a conversation with them.

 

However, if you’re contacting a lender to discuss a possible extension of your payment holiday, you will be subject to a detailed income and expenditure check.

 

This means you must have a clear overview of all your outgoings and income – be prepared to share your previous 3 – 6 months’ worth of bank statements too. Try our budget calculator here to line up all your finances before speaking to your lender.

Will a mortgage holiday affect my credit score?

Usually taking a mortgage holiday would affect your credit score, but in this case, lenders are saying that it will not have any detrimental effect on your credit score, going forwards.

It’s important to know that even if you proceed with another mortgage holiday, this still won’t affect your credit score.

How long will it take for my mortgage application to be processed?

The lockdown period will undoubtedly present further challenges. Mortgage applications are expected to take longer to process with many staff working from home, and the large increase in mortgage applications from those wanting to make use of the stamp duty holiday.

 

We strongly encourage that when it comes to sending off your mortgage application, you have all the required paperwork signed, sealed and ready to go such as ID, bank statements and proof of address. The sooner you share these things with your lender or mortgage adviser, the more chance they stand of processing the application efficiently.

I submitted my mortgage application recently, but the UK has now gone into lockdown. Will this affect my application’s ability to be accepted?

No. The government has confirmed the housing market will remain open meaning you can still move house and apply for a mortgage as normal. However, we’d always recommend seeking mortgage advice as everyone’s individual circumstances are different and therefore, this will determine the options available to you.

I recently bought some protection in relation to my mortgage. Can I apply for a payment holiday?

Many of our providers offer this. Please speak to your adviser who can give you the full details, as they can vary with each provider.

Because we play by the book we want to tell you that…

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
There may be a fee for mortgage advice. The actual amount you pay will depend upon your circumstances.
The fee is up to 1% but a typical fee is 0.3% of the amount borrowed.

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