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How to get mortgage ready during lockdown

The beginning of a New Year has seen tough lockdown restrictions put in place across the UK, and until at least mid-February for England. However, despite stricter Coronavirus measures being introduced, the housing market remains open for business.

There are still rules in place for home movers: they include doing remote viewings where possible but where this isn’t an option, adhering to social distancing, wearing a mask and only people from one household viewing a property at any one time.

However, whilst the option to move home is still open to everyone, some may not feel comfortable moving home at this time, and would rather wait until the lockdown has ended. The first national lockdown in March last year afforded those still working the ability to save more. With potentially another six weeks at least spent around the home and no spending on leisure, holidays or dining out, the lockdown may present further opportunity for people to focus their minds and get their finances in shape ready for a potential home move.

It may also encourage others to think about the environment they currently live in and whether they might have a better work-life balance living somewhere else, particularly those who are confined to apartment living with little or no personal outside space.

If then you’re thinking of moving home in the near future, here are some of our top tips on how you can use the third lockdown to get yourself mortgage ready and prepared for your next home move.

Opportunities to save

For those of us lucky enough to save money during lockdowns, any extra cash you have can then go into a savings account, which if you’re looking to move can contribute to a deposit.

Making steps to save little and often can contribute to a deposit. You do not have to save huge chunks of money. It can be as simple as going for a less expensive option when at the supermarket. Or cancelling any membership or subscriptions that you’re not using.

If you want to save a bit more money, or just want to understand your finances a little better, we’ve created a free budgeting tool.

Research is key

If you lived in a big town or city during 2020’s restrictions, and with restrictions continuing currently, you may be yearning to move to the countryside; especially if your home doesn’t have any outside space. And while moving away from city living can offer more space, maybe even at a cheaper price, it’s equally important to consider whether your move will involve a major lifestyle change too. Our new interactive quiz could help you find your ideal location.

It’s important to research the practicalities like schools, and the daily commute to work (if you’re not working from home), as well as other amenities you’re used to having on your doorstep, whether that’s bars and restaurants or a gym, once places begin to re-open. If your chosen new location doesn’t have these nearby, consider how important that is to you when weighing up your move.

As restrictions look set to continue in some form, it’s worth considering how this new way of life might affect where you choose to live. Additionally, make sure you research estate agents thoroughly in the local area – ones that can offer virtual viewings due to restrictions are a huge plus and will ensure the process is sped up.

Get organised

As a priority, you should find out how much you can expect to sell your current home for. Get in touch with some local estate agents and they’ll be able to value your property. This bit is really important! If your home is overvalued, it could be on the market for a while. If it’s undervalued, you could sell below market value. You should have a few different estate agents value your house to get a good idea of how much your home is worth.

Do as much preparation as you can now to avoid wasting time further down the line. If you’re buying, investigate your mortgage options as a matter of priority. Speak to a mortgage adviser who will talk you through your options. It’s a good idea to do this before you start viewing houses so you’ll know your budget. Also, dig out all the paperwork you’ll need when you apply for a mortgage too, such as payslips. It’s wise to choose your legal firm in advance as well. First time buyers will also need to provide a full audit trail of deposit cash.

Nail some DIY

If you’re planning to sell, there’s a lot you can do now to maximise your chances of a quick sale and lockdown provides the perfect opportunity to carry out any DIY. With not much daylight and shorter days, we will inevitably spend more time indoors. This might offer a period of reflection for homeowners about whether it’s time to crack on with that DIY project or create a better living space for you and or your family. One thing is for certain, we’re all going to be spending more time at home so whether it’s getting your house ready to put on the market or making where you live more comfortable and enjoyable, why not use this period as an opportunity to make positive change?

Make sure your home is looking its best; so clear out all your clutter, fix anything that’s broken and give your home a fresh lick of neutral paint.

If you’re unsure what the lockdown means for moving home, getting a mortgage or you’d like help with mortgage payment holidays, we’ve also created an online resource of FAQs about how the lockdown will affect house moves.

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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