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Should I sell my house now?

Traditionally, Spring is one of the best times to put your home on the market. But with a global pandemic and UK wide lockdown, is this really the time to be moving house?

Post updated: March 2nd, 2021

5 minute read

The housing market is still open despite the current lockdown. This means that people looking to move home can continue with planned moves and view new properties to move into in the future.

A good time for sellers

The number of properties on the market at the moment is lower than previous years. But new buyer enquiries are up 18% on the same period a year ago according to Rightmove. So if you do decide to sell now, you should get a lot of interest.

And with demand outstripping a modest supply of housing, the vast majority of newly listed homes for sale are being snapped up. This puts sellers in a strong position to negotiate and pick from the best buyers who are able to move quickly. Data from our estateagent4me tool shows that March is one of the best months of the year for a speedy sale.

The stamp duty holiday deadline originally due to end 1st April is to be extended to the end of June and is likely to continue to encourage people to push forward their plans to buy a property in order to pocket a tax saving.

Time to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday is tight. So if you’ve got your mind set on selling, it may be best to do so sooner rather than later.

What about the recession?

With the economy shrinking as a result of lockdowns and other restrictions, it didn’t take long for a formal recession to be announced last year.

Because recessions lead to job and income losses, they can result in less people looking to invest in something as expensive as a new home, meaning house prices generally fall during a recession.

But lockdown has also had the surprising consequence of increasing demand among homebuyers as people reassess their housing needs and preferences as a result of life in lockdown. As a result, we are likely to see a continued increase in demand for certain types of homes (there is higher demand for larger homes, rural properties and homes that can provide office and garden space).

January 2021 activity so far…

The 2020 housing market finished with transactions at a 13 year high and house prices up on average 7% on the previous year.

January and February 2021 have been busy as well.  Buyers are moving quickly as they still hope to find a property and complete before the stamp duty tax-saving cut-off at the end of March.

Rightmove reports that agreed sales in February this year compared with 2020 are up 7%.

Consumer confidence in the housing market will no doubt continue to grow as the vaccine effort continues to be successfully rolled out and facilitates a return to a more normal way of life later in the year.

Covid-19 local lockdown restrictions

The housing market remains open. You can buy, sell and move house. Property professionals from surveyors to estate agents have responded by adapting what they do to minimise risks of contracting and spreading the virus, while keeping the market moving.

Preliminary viewings can now be conducted online, with socially-distanced second viewings in person. Conveyancing can be carried out online. And removals firms have introduced new safety measures.

Nevertheless, moving home is currently subject to delays.

How to speed up your house sale

1. Find an estate agent with a good track record or go with an online agent

Sellers can use our estate agent tool to find the best local estate agent based on how quickly they sell, how often they achieve asking price, their success rate and more

Find and Compare Local Estate Agents

This form will take you to for the results

Online estate agents offer an affordable and, as the name suggests, online service. Take a look at our online estate agent comparison table which compares all the main providers, from PurpleBricks to YOPA so you can choose the right package and price for your house sale.

2. Sellers should instruct a solicitor as soon as you list, and buyers as soon as your offer is accepted

You can compare quotes now from conveyancing solicitors and speak to them about the process and costs so you’re ready to instruct them.

3. Opt for a legal team using a digital platform

They can complete transactions quicker. Digital Move claims cases can be completed up to 6 weeks quicker. Our panel is entirely Digital Move enabled allowig for real-time updates and online document verification and signing Find a Digital Move conveyancing firm.

4. Sort your Energy Performance Certificate

Also known as an EPC this has to be included with a sale by law. It shows how energy efficient your new home is and if you moved in within the last 10 years, yours is still valid. Here’s how to check if you have one or how to get one if you still need to.

5. Get your paperwork together

If it’s a leasehold, find the lease. Locate certificates showing compliance with regulations of any works done from planning permissions to FENSA certificates for window replacements. Don’t forget valid guarantees a home buyer will want to see. Here’s a list of essential documents to get ready

6. Get a mortgage agreement in principle before you make an offer on a property

Many lenders and brokers continue to experience COVID related delays and mortgage choices are somewhat reduced. Avoid wasting time later down the line and start the mortgage process now.

7. Homebuyer protection insurance

If you are buying a home at the same time, in uncertain times like these, home buyer protection insurance covers buyers for some of their legal and survey costs as well as mortgage lending fees should your purchase fall through.

8. Build in time for local searches

Covid-19 and now lockdown restrictions mean many local authorities are struggling to supply their own searches and also to provide access to data for personal search companies.

If you are moving within an area you know well, then “no search indemnity insurance” will cover you if one or more searches do not come through before you need to exchange. But you’ll need to check your lender would be happy to lend on that basis. For more information see our guide, with details of what to consider and information on local delays.

Tell us about your house selling experience in the comments below

Leave a comment (7)* Required

  1. RondaRonda

    I am looking to buy a new home with a move in on ,March my house will be on the market early January Ian concerned that my potential buyer cannot move that quickly should I go ahead with this move or wait till I sell then find something else?

  2. Ellie AllenEllie Allen

    I completed on my house last week and am relieved – however I am now renting as I couldn’t find a suitable house to buy.
    Houses are generally selling fast in desirable areas. However it appears that agents are overestimating house prices because of the stamp duty holiday and buyers are bamboozled and feel they can afford higher prices – even if a house is deemed to be overpriced. In my experience some unscrupulous agents are also manipulating and bullying buyers – one agent refused to put forward my offer of £5000 less than the asking price because it wasn’t ‘fair’to the sellers. I am a cash buyer and supposedly in a ‘goid position’ however I don’t feel
    confident in the current dog eat dog agent led market.

  3. Julie FriendJulie Friend

    I’ve had to put on hold my plans to sell or rent out my house and move to join my daughter in Australia. So worried about such a big move with the added complication of this pandemic. Sell now? Rent my house out? But what if the property market drops and I can’t sell in the future. My decision also includes retirement so no fall back plan financially. And rent or buy in Australia? And I’m on my own so no support with all the decisions help!

  4. CathyCathy

    We got caught in Lockdown between exchange and completion. It was a hassle to stop things and get everyone to agree, but we did. Finally moved in May- the removal firm was great and although we moved over 200 miles we felt safe at all times. Hope this offers some reassurance.

  5. CarolCarol

    We have had 3 apply to view since lockdown was lifted and 2 did not have their houses on the market so not allowed to view. Doesn’t seem like there is a shortage of property for sale here in Northumberland. Want rid now as we have moved out to downsize. Thinking of renting but did this before during last recession and it took us a year to repair the property so in limbo!

  6. Vernon DVernon D'Costa

    Decided to sell an existing 2 bedroom Barn conversion in February. However, got caught up with the lockdown amidst up grading an attached garage to incorporate a lovely large open plan kitchen and adding a 3rd bedroom. I have just listed online with Rightmove (Purple Bricks) two weeks ago and have had one local viewing. Hopefully this will improve. My concern is that it may just get caught up in another lockdown, because of the accepted constraints of limiting the exposure to “online” Should I consider a traditional Estate Agent. Location in West Sussex on the south coast and superb for anyone wishing to move away from Cities to Rural living.

  7. KarenKaren

    I’ve been SSTC since March, but there is nothing for me to buy, and even on the rare occasion that a property does come onto the market that is suitable, there are now ten times as many buyers waiting, and then it becomes a ‘Best and Final Offers process, giving me little to no chance of being the successful bidder at this rate I am going to lose my buyer, and my buyer is going to lose theirs, because there is simply nothing left, and nothing becoming available for me to buy. Whereas this time last year there were a multitude of properties I would have bought, that were sitting there for months and that I would have had no difficulties in buying. It is getting scary quite frankly, because I need to move for health reasons.

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