Director of Estate Agency, Matt Hoy, provides his expert advice on how to beat the stamp duty holiday deadline and save up to £15,000 on your next move.
Those hoping to make the most of the stamp duty holiday will fare well to move quickly before the tax break ends on 31 March 2021.
The government raised the stamp duty threshold in England and Northern Ireland for a limited time only, which means purchasers pay no stamp duty on the ﬁrst £500,000 of the property price. As stamp duty is calculated in tiers, the usual rates apply to anything above the tax-free threshold. For example, those purchasing a family home as a main residence for anything over £500,000 will still save £15,000.
Those wishing to make this saving on their home move need to be prepared to achieve an eﬃcient procedure to take advantage of the scheme before it expires. Here are my tips on how to create a smooth and eﬀective process to heighten chances of completing in time.
• Securing a mortgage can be a lengthy part of the process in the buying chain and it would be advisable to begin this process as early as possible – ideally before attending viewings. Using an expert mortgage advisor to support you at this stage could prove advantageous as they can help to secure the best rate and terms for you, and will also have up to date knowledge on the timescales that lenders are operating within.
• Appointing a specialist conveyancing solicitor means that a dedicated property transaction team will deal with all the necessary legal elements eﬀectively and swiftly. Discuss the dates you are working toward with your solicitor at point of appointment and make sure they’re feasible and also suit any other parties in the chain. At time of writing there are approximately 418,000 sales in the pipeline nationally compared with 280,000 the year before. Research from consultancy ﬁrm TwentyCi suggests the average time between a sale being agreed and completion is now up to 5 months, so expect delays and make sure there is a reasonable ‘buﬀer’ between the dates you are working toward and the end of the holiday.
• Completing a property information form as well as a ﬁttings and contents form from the outset can save time further down the line. If you are selling a ﬂat, preparing a leasehold information form before the rush of the ﬁnal hurdles could save valuable time. These documents form part of essential paperwork which is sent to your buyer’s solicitor. The quicker the property information forms are completed and submitted, the earlier the buyer’s solicitor will have a full pack of information to work through – resulting in the ability to raise and resolve any enquiries they have without delaying the process. Your estate agent can help you ﬁnd and instruct a solicitor who is prepared to get this paperwork started prior to ﬁnding a purchaser.
• If you require a survey, make sure you book it as soon as possible once your oﬀer is agreed. Do your research and decide who you will use, and bear in mind that the surveyor may not be able to visit the property immediately. As soon as you receive a copy of the survey report, send this to your solicitor as they may have to raise further enquiries with your seller, depending on the feedback.
• With increased volume in the pipeline every stage in the process is under pressure and likely to see delays. Make sure you are prepared and have budgeted accordingly for what happens if you can’t meet the deadline, and don’t let a sale falling through incur costs that bear no fruit and could otherwise have been avoided.
Our property experts are on hand to provide advice and support. To ﬁnd your nearest Bradley Hall branch please visit www.bradleyhall.co.uk