For the remaining duration of the stamp duty holiday buyers don’t have to pay stamp duty tax when buying a property under £500,000. With the obvious rush to exploit the break in tax and with the deadline looming on 30th June, it’s of primary importance to avoid getting stuck in a logjam waiting on lenders, solicitors, agents and surveyors, who are already massively stretched by the surge in demand. According to the HomeOwnersAlliance, on average most offers are accepted on a property at around ten weeks, and organising a mortgage can easily take up to six weeks. Given we’re fast approaching April we’d hope that your house has been on the market for a while now if you’re looking to move before 30th June. If not, it’s not too late and we have some key tips to assist you in your race against time.
Firstly, we strongly advise you to get signed up to all local estate agents and opt for as many video viewings as you can to condense your property list as quickly as possible. Buying a vacant property is absolutely ideal so there is no risk in getting caught in a chain, where you’re likely to be waiting on the owners to find their new home. Once proceedings are underway you need to get pre-approved for a loan. When you’re in a hurry, it’s a good idea to speak to a mortgage broker to find out which lenders are able to process your application the fastest.
In the same vein, make sure you shop around for the best solicitor or conveyancer to get your deal over the line, most will process paperwork digitally, but be sure to find out immediately as time saving technologies could be vitally important with the sheer amount of administration required. If this isn’t the case then make sure you ask for special delivery on all paperwork sent. It’s also encouraged that you get in contact with your solicitor or conveyancer if things aren’t moving at the speed you need - you can always ask for a new case handler if you’re concerned your existing one won’t get the deal over the line in time.
When selling your house and waiting on others such as mortgage lenders, it’s vital that you get your documents ready as there is a lot to remember. Most documents are easily obtainable such as proof of identity and an Energy Performance Certificate, but there are some slightly abnormal papers you’re likely to have to hand that you’ll need, for example a FENSA certificate which is specifically given to those who have had replacement doors and windows since 2002. With typically around 11 documents to gather, it’s always far easier to sell through a company or estate agency than trying to arrange the transaction yourself.
Avoid cutting corners however stretched for time you may be. Make absolutely sure that you get your new property surveyed properly in case you miss any potential issues that need addressing. Whilst there are major savings to be made during the stamp duty holiday, repairs to your new property later down the line may negate the money saved on tax. If you are to miss the deadline on 30th June the stamp duty holiday has been tapered so that between 1st July and 30th September, the tax-free threshold will drop from £500,000 to £250,000, meaning buyers buying properties in this threshold will still be able to save up to £2,500 in comparison to normal rates.