Is Now A Good Time To Sell My House?

Traditionally, January is considered one of the best times to put your home on the market. But with a global pandemic and UK wide lockdown (thankfully soon to be eased), is now really the best time to be moving house?

A Good Time For Sellers

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

According to Rightmove, the number of properties on the market at the moment is lower than that in previous years but buyer activity has continued to exceed the same period a year ago. So it stands to reason that if you do decide to sell now, you should get a lot of interest.

With demand outstripping the current supply of housing, the vast majority of newly listed homes for sale are being snapped up at record pace putting sellers in a strong position to negotiate and choose from the most suitable buyers who are able to move quickly.

Stamp Duty Holiday

The stamp duty holiday has had a huge impact on both the volume of house purchases and house prices. The tax break completely removes the stamp duty charge on properties costing between £125,000 and £500,000 and reduces it on homes costing more than that. This has unsurprisingly enticed buyers this is a massive saving.  It came into effect last summer during lockdown and was originally due to end on 31 March 2021.

However, Rishi Sunak is understood to have decided to extend the holiday for three months until June. This is encouraging people to push forward their plans to buy a property in order to make the saving. But what is less clear is what will happen in the future. So if you’ve got your mind set on selling, it may be best to do so sooner rather than later.

The Recession Of 2020

With the economy in trouble as a result of lockdown restrictions, it didn’t take long for a formal recession to be announced in 2020 and since recessions lead to income losses, they can result in fewer people looking to invest in a new home. As a result, house prices generally fall during a recession.

But lockdown has also had the surprising consequence of increasing demand among homebuyers as people have been reassessing their housing needs as a result of life in lockdown; Rightmove reported that buyer demand remained high in January and forecasted 4% national average price growth in 2021, though price rises for newly marketed properties will be at a slower pace than last year.

January 2021 Activity

The 2020 housing market finished with transactions at a 13 year high with house prices up an average 7% on the previous year. While 2021 may be an unpredictable year for the housing market, we expect to see a continued increase in demand for certain types of homes such as larger homes, rural properties and homes that can provide office and garden space.

The first three weeks of January 2021 were busy; buyers were moving quickly as they still hoped to find a property and complete before the stamp duty tax-saving cut-off. Rightmove recorded its busiest ever start to a new year, with visits to the site up 30% on the same time period in 2020.

People contacting estate agents about a property to buy was 11% higher than at the start of 2020.

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

Covid Concerns

The housing market has remained open during lockdown #3, which is hopefully coming to an end over the coming weeks. You can still buy, sell and move house, property professionals such as conveyancing solicitors to surveyors to estate agents have adapted their working methods to minimise risks of contracting and spreading the virus, while keeping the market moving.

Nevertheless, the moving home is currently subject to delays. So here is our advice on how to speed up the process of your house sale:

  1. Find a local estate agent with a good record. Pick the wrong agent and your property might not sell as quickly as it should or for the best price.
  2. Find a local conveyancing solicitor with a good track record. A local conveyancing solicitor will have local knowledge of the area which is always something that could prove to be useful and of a benefit to you in your sale. However, conveyancing is very widely done across the country by solicitors and conveyancers for clients as a personal knowledge of the area is not specifically required. When you consider conveyancing, compare professionals thoroughly before signing up.
  3. Instruct your conveyancing solicitor as soon as you have had an offer accepted on a property. You can compare conveyance quotes online. Conveyance quotes will vary from firm to firm for many reasons. However, we will provide a breakdown of all fees and charges that are clearly shown, so you can see a direct comparison.
  4. Organise an energy performance certificate otherwise known as an EPC. This is required whenever a property is built, sold or rented in the United Kingdom. During the process of selling the property it is a legal requirement for the seller to provide the buyer with an EPC.  It is the role of your legal advisor to ensure an EPC is provided if you are purchasing a property.
  5. Get your paperwork together. If you are selling a leasehold, find the lease. Collect together certificates showing compliance with regulations if any works have been done whether they be planning permissions or FENSA certificates for window replacements. Don’t forget valid guarantees that a home buyer might want to see.
  6. Have a mortgage in principle before you make an offer. Many lenders and brokers are currently experiencing COVID related delays. Avoid the possibility of unnecessary delays by organising your mortgage before you get on with finding a new property.
  7. Look into home buyers insurance if you are buying a home at the same time as selling. Home buyer protection insurance covers buyers for some of their legal and survey costs as well as mortgage lending fees should a purchase fall through.
  8. Factor in time for delayed local searches. Covid-19 restrictions have meant that many local authorities are struggling to supply their own searches and provide access to data for personal search companies.

Compare Conveyance fees online with our simple to use online tool. Compare Local conveyancing solicitors in a few easy steps for free. When you are thinking about conveyancing, always compare solicitors thoroughly before signing up.

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