Reaching out to potential property buyers during lockdown is not easy, however recent Amendments to the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 have relaxed restrictions on moving home and the buying and selling of property (see our recent insight)  resulting in the property market slowly returning from the lockdown. We have been exploring new ways to engage buyers during the Covid-19 pandemic and set out below how you could do the same.

What are the issues for RPs?

RPs are facing some unprecedented issues during the lockdown, the non-statutory guidance on moving home during COVID-19 applies to people moving into homes in both the private or social sector and must be taken into account. The protective measures that should be considered, include:

  • considering conducting initial viewings as ‘virtual viewings’,
  • preventing “open house” viewings
  • limiting the number of people at physical viewings to those who “absolutely have to be there”

On 27 May 2020, Capsticks were on the panel of a webinar put in place by one of our clients on the topic of shared ownership property. The panel was made up of mortgage advisors, new homes sales, a solicitor and resales. This was an online shared ownership open day and involved potential buyers who asked a variety of questions to the panellists. The questions were answered live via video streaming and dealt with a variety of topics all around shared ownership.

For many buyers shared ownership is easy to understand but questions are inevitable and having an online platform of specialists to alleviate any worries or queries buyers may have in these uncertain times proved a success.  Questions were posted online and answered by the panel in real time.

What were the common themes? 

Common themes were mortgages and Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT), with the legal side of the transaction following close behind. Buyers were concerned with what options there are for payment of SDLT when purchasing a shared ownership property and what the role of a solicitor is during the process.  We were able to reassure the buyers and build confidence by explaining the options to select payment of SDLT at the point of purchase of a shared ownership property and explaining the roles of the buyer’s and the seller’s solicitor. It was also important for the potential buyer to hear that the shared ownership product is a specialist product that may require a solicitor with particular knowledge of the field. Buyers’ research in selecting the right solicitor in this respect is essential.

It was surprisingly easy to engage with the members of the public and answer questions. In some respects, it was far easier for the buyers to participate in this way, from the comfort of their home. Time will tell whether online events will continue to be popular and well attended but one thing is for sure, they do work to convey the message across to the buyers that shared ownership offers a unique opportunity for many first time buyers to get onto the housing ladder.

How can Capsticks help? 

Capsticks’ housing team provides a truly full-service, with particular expertise in development, corporate and securitisation, housing leasehold and asset management. We advise housing associations and local authorities on a range of matters from setting up shared ownership schemes and drafting lease incorporating requirements of planning agreements to new build plot sales, shared equity and void disposals.

If you have any queries around what's discussed in this insight, and the impact on your organisation, please speak to Nalton Stembari or any of your contacts at Capsticks to find out more about how we can help.