Teddy bear wearing medical mask, coronavirus and real estate sector

What effect is coronavirus (Covid-19) having on the real estate market?

Sure you have lots of questions about the current situation and the containment measures adopted by the Belgian authorities. Here at Immoweb, we’ve answered your most frequently asked questions and looked at the current state of play. Information is available from a variety of sources and the situation is changing fast, so please also visit the official Belgian public health website.

Updated on 26 March 2020.

1. Can I arrange visits or viewings so I can sell or rent out my property?

Visits to properties are not allowed

Ongoing sales processes may continue, but property visits are strictly prohibited and no new visit can be scheduled. This applies to both real estate agents and private owners. Indeed, it is not considered by the Service Public Fédéral (SPF) as an essential service. It is therefore really not the time to organise visits to sell or rent your property. Health above all…

2. Can I arrange a virtual tour or visit?

Organise a virtual visit by video link

To showcase your property, we recommend you video a virtual tour, which you can then publish online in addition to your advert on www.immoweb.be. That will provide more information for anyone who’s interested, and they will look forward to visiting in person when the time comes.

We also recommend offering guided visits by video link for people interested in buying or renting your property. You might feel a bit awkward doing this remotely, but remember that everyone is new to using these virtual arrangements in a ‘formal’ context. Everyone’s doing their best to adapt. If you play along with the new arrangements, you will stay ahead of the game.

3. Can I contact an estate agent?

Keep in touch with your estate agent

If you would like to sell or rent out your property in future, please make contact now with one of our agencies in your region. Once the containment period is over, their diaries will fill up again very quickly.

If you are already in touch with an estate agent, please contact them by email or phone so we can schedule a visit as soon as possible and process your paperwork.

4. How can I find out what my property is worth?

Valuate your house or flat

While you wait for an expert or specialist estate agent to visit and value your property, feel free to estimate the asking price at estimation.immoweb.be. A few clicks will tell you which price bracket your property is in. If you’d like to put your property up for sale in the near future, we’ll put you in touch with an agent in your region so you’re ready once the containment period has ended.

5. Can I move house?

Moving is permitted, but…

According to the Ministry, you may move house or apartment if this is urgent, but you must comply with the strict social distancing and hygiene requirements. Only those people living in the household may be involved in the move. It will not be easy to find a removals firm, because most are now shut. If you do need to move, you will need to make arrangements as soon as possible.

6. Can I begin or continue with renovation or building works?

Building work can continue, within the rules

There are currently no restrictions on building or renovation works. However, building supplies and DIY stores are only open to trade professionals. Individuals must therefore use home deliveries ordered online. Please note that, where work is being done, workers on site must comply with hygiene regulations and work at least 1.5 m apart. If your work is not urgent, we’d advise you to postpone it for the sake of workers in the building trade.

7. Buying: Can I make an offer on a property?

Notaries and real estate agents are available to make an offer

Yes, you can make an offer on a property which you visited before the containment period began. Please send your offer to your notary or agent by email, and they will send it to the seller.

8. Can I sign a contract to buy or sell during the lockdown?

Notaries are available to draw up contracts

It it is perfectly possible to finalise a contract remotely. However, it will not be possible to finalise a contract face to face until after 5 April. Your notary can prepare the contract documents and ask the buyer and seller to sign the documents, scan them in and return them. The Belgian notaries’ federation has also made the necessary arrangements for life insurance to be documented without a face-to-face appointment.

9. Can I sign a notarised deed of sale for a property during the containment period?

It is not possible to finalise a notarised deed until after 5 April

Although the law requires deeds to be signed within four months, all notarially authenticated deeds will now be postponed until after 5 April (with the exception of death certificates). However, in urgent cases the buyer’s and seller’s notaries may reach an agreement, provided that this does not create complications such as with vacating the property. Please get in touch with your notary straight away.

10. Can I suspend my mortgage payments?

It is now easier to suspend your mortgage payments

Most banks will allow you to take a ‘holiday ’ from your mortgage payments, provided you can prove a loss of income directly associated with the Covid-19 situation. You will need to get in touch with your bank and apply for this holiday, and it is not compulsory for the bank to grant it. Please gather the information you need, and read the relevant conditions for your application carefully. We expect each bank to follow their own procedures for suspending mortgage payments, but all of them plan to make it easier to do this.

We know that these are uncertain times, and we will help you find your way through them. We’ll be updating this article regularly with the latest information from government as well as industry associations and stakeholders.

Immoweb is still here to help you find your dream home.

We know that these are uncertain times, and we will help you find your way through them. We’ll be updating this article regularly with the latest information from government as well as industry associations and stakeholders.

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Please take care of yourself and your loved ones.

#StayHome

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