Moving house has always been thought to be one of the most stressful and important events in your adult life and suddenly, it’s packed with even more difficulties. With Covid-19 restrictions changing the way we buy and sell houses, everything we thought we knew about the process needs to be reevaluated, which is why we’ve compiled this handy checklist.
Read on to find out what you need to do, remember and avoid when moving house in 2021.
Choose your estate agent even more carefully
Obviously, you’ve always picked your estate agents with care, but it is more important than ever to make sure the people helping to buy or sell your home are going to be able to work around all the new restrictions. This is where online-only agents could have a clear and distinct advantage.
Purplebricks comes highly recommended and, having always been an internet agency, Purplebricks has adapted with ease to online viewings, smaller budgets for promoting listings and general seller difficulties. It has also sought to make things as simple as possible for buyers, explaining the process of virtual purchasing clearly and keeping potential clients informed of the relevant legislation through its informative blog.
Agencies that have always relied on the ability of salespeople to persuade on-the-fence or virtual buyers to take the plunge have suddenly found themselves less likely to close, so these online companies are the way to go. And, with less overheads, you’ll often benefit from lower fees than those from high-street estate agents.
Take your time
One advantage of 2021 starting in national lockdown is that you can take your time with your next house purchase. The playing field has been decidedly levelled, with everybody now needing to rely on email and phone calls to make offers, as opposed to simply viewing and trying to purchase in person.
With viewings in mind, think how many more properties you can ‘see’ in a day, thanks to virtual tours. There is also more flexibility in viewing houses now, giving you more choice and breathing space to find the house that is 100% right for you and one that will feel like home as soon as you arrive.
Check stamp duty rates
In a bid to keep the housing market buoyant, stamp duty rates were reviewed in 2020, so even if you’re not a first-time buyer, you might be in line for a helpful saving. It is worth noting that the rates are expected to return to normal as of April 2021, so though this isn’t a long-term way to make your money go further, it is absolutely something to keep an eye on.
Be certain you can afford to move
If we have learnt nothing else, it’s that the pandemic has led to job uncertainty in every sector and not just in terms of employment, but also salaries.
The government’s furlough scheme was brought in to help keep as many people in work as possible, but it only covers up to 80% of wages, with employers having to choose whether to pay the remaining 20% or not. This might not sound too worrying, but think of this in terms of mortgage repayments. If a mortgage is granted on the basis of a certain monthly income and that amount is then reduced by 20%, can it still be covered comfortably? What if the mortgage is a joint account and one of the couple it is awarded to has lost their job entirely in the Covid-19 outbreak?
These are vital issues to think about when preparing to move house, with only one exception: if you are downsizing to ensure you can definitely afford your monthly commitments. In this instance, it’s still important not to push yourself too far, and to give yourself a reasonable buffer on what you think you can afford.
Do the packing and moving yourself
You’ve found your dream home, you can definitely afford it and everything has progressed perfectly and now, it’s time to actually move. Now what? Well, the best rule of thumb is to tackle the physical transportation of all your belongings yourself. Not only will it help guarantee that you and your family remain socially distanced from those outside the household, it will also save you a great deal of money as well.
Removal services charge a large amount to pack your home and transport it, but it’s not actually that arduous to do it all yourself. Just take your time, enjoy the process and audit as you go, discarding anything you know you don’t want to take with you and then, hire the biggest van that your driving licence will allow for a few days. After all, if you can view a house virtually and buy it online, why not transport all your belongings yourself as well?
Moving house doesn’t look like it did a year ago – but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. You just need to plan, stay aware of all the social distancing measures in place and be prepared to get your hands a little dirtier. Nothing worth having ever came easy and when it comes to your dream home, that goes double!