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What you need to know if you’re planning on selling your house in 2020

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

On 13 May 2020, house moves and viewings in England were given the go-ahead to restart, after the government announced an easing in lockdown rules. Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales followed suit in June.

However, rules on house viewings in Wales remain slightly more restrictive in the rest of the UK. The Welsh Government has said that physical viewings can only take place at a property that has been vacant for 3 days beforehand, or has been deep-cleaned.

Should you hold off on selling your home this year?

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.

Thankfully, putting your property on the market has become slightly easier now that lockdown rules around the property market have been eased. 

You can now allow visitors to your home, provided you all follow social distancing measures, so organising in-person viewings is easier than it would have been a couple of months ago.

Property site Zoopla reports that the number of agreed home sales is up 4% compared to pre-lockdown levels in early March. House prices are also up 2.4% on the same period. 

Read more about how to sell your house.

New stamp duty holiday

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

The stamp duty holiday raises the minimum threshold from £125,000 to £500,000 until 31 March 2021. This means that home buyers will be exempt from paying any stamp duty for the first £500,000 of the value of the property. 

This should come as a welcome boost for those who have properties on sale in this climate, as it should help increase demand.

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.

It may 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