Can you still move house in lockdown 3 - and will it be safe?
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Are house moves still possible as lockdown returns? The answer is yes - but with a number of restrictions and health safeguards in place.
Following the announcement of England's third lockdown, the government has issued guidance of what people can and can't do under the new regulations.
Despite coronavirus restrictions, 2020 was an exceptionally busy year for house moves, with many buyers hoping to beat the stamp duty holiday deadline of March 31, 2021.
While a growth in house prices in Suffolk is predicted to slow down in 2021, many people will still be looking to move.
The government's official website says: "You can still move home. People outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary.
"Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work. If you are looking to move, you can go to property viewings.
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"Follow the national guidance on moving home safely, which includes advice on social distancing, letting fresh air in, and wearing a face covering."
Estate agents in Suffolk have been reassuring customers that house moves can still go ahead in a safe way.
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Beagle Property in Ipswich sent out an email to customers saying: "The housing market will remain open throughout this period. Everyone should continue to play their part in reducing the spread of the virus by following the current guidance.
"We will continue to work hard for our clients in a Covid-19 secure way, while strictly following the regulations laid out by the Government."
For more details, the government has issued recently updated advice on moving home. Key points include:
- Initial viewings should be done virtually wherever possible.
- Viewings should be arranged by appointment only, and when viewing a property, you should avoid touching surfaces wherever possible, and wash your hands regularly and/or use hand sanitiser.
- You should also wear a suitable face covering while viewing a property unless you are exempt from this requirement.
- Vendors should open all internal doors and clean surfaces, such as door handles, after each viewing.
- It's also recommended that home owners vacate the house while the agent is showing the prospective buyer around if possible, to minimise contact between households.
- The government advises that households should try to do as much of their own packing for a house move as possible, and speak to their removal firm in advance if this isn't possible.
- Everyone involved in the moving process must follow social distancing rules.