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What you need to know if you’re planning on selling your house in 2021

There are some things that you need to be aware of if you’re thinking of selling your property right now.

Photograph of a gloved hand holding keys in front of a house

As things change rapidly during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, this guide will be updated regularly to reflect changes in rules and regulations.

Are you allowed to sell your house right now?

Yes, there are no rules stopping you from putting your house on the market while the coronavirus pandemic is ongoing. 

When the government ordered the first lockdown in March, it specified that sales that were in process could continue taking place. But it urged buyers and sellers to adapt and be flexible so that both groups could observe coronavirus safety measures.

Since then, the government has relaxed the rules limiting property market activity, even during subsequent nationwide lockdowns.

Ahead of this third lockdown, the UK government’s housing secretary Robert Jenrick confirmed that moving home would still be allowed, and that estate and lettings agents as well as removals firms can continue to work. 

The government has also released advice on moving home safely during the pandemic.

Read more about how to sell your house.

Is now the right time to sell your home?

If you were thinking about moving house before the COVID-19 outbreak, you may be wondering if you should hold off putting your home on the market right now. 

One factor which may affect your decision is the current stamp duty holiday under way.

On 8 July 2020 Chancellor Rishi Sunk announced a temporary change to the minimum threshold at which home buyers need to pay stamp duty. 

This move has had a visible impact on the house prices. The lender Halifax reported that the average house price climbed by £15,409 between June and November last year.

However, the stamp duty holiday is only set to last until 31 March 2021. Some experts believe that if the tax break is not extended, demand is likely to dip in the middle of spring. 

If the stamp duty holiday is not extended this may well lead to lower asking prices from early spring.

For full details on factors affecting your ability to sell your home, read our ‘Trends to watch out for in the property market in 2021’.

Accepting offers and exchanging contracts

If you do receive an offer, there is nothing stopping you negotiating and accepting it.

But while transactions can continue taking place, each part of the sale process is likely to take longer than usual.

If somebody was in the process of buying your home when the lockdown rules came in, the government says that you can continue with the transaction as normal if the property you’re selling is empty.  

If the property is occupied, then the advice suggests that buyers should delay the exchange of contracts until after the ‘stay at home’ rules are relaxed. 

It may also be worth talking to your solicitor about whether you should include terms in the contract of sale to take account of the risks or delays that could spring up as a result of coronavirus-related disruption. 

Read our guide on 12 things to do before you move house

If you're a first time buyer or looking to move house or remortgage, we can help you find the best mortgage deal to suit your needs.