Ahead Of The Stamp Duty Holiday Deadline, Here’s How To Push Your Property To Completion
The stamp duty holiday, first introduced in June 2020 by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, has caused one of the busiest periods the housing market has ever seen.
The stamp duty holiday has made the UK housing market spiral, with demand for bigger homes higher than ever during the pandemic. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) found in May, prices had been driven up even higher as buyer demand outstripped supply.
The Nationwide House Price index also found in May, annual house price growth had risen by 10.9% - the highest increase since 2014. All of these figures indicate an extremely busy housing market, with the property industry squeezed on all sides.
Conveyancers up and down the country are working at capacity in order to meet the extended deadlines and many are concerned their property won’t complete in time to take advantage of the savings. However, there are still ways you can help your sale go through quicker.
At this point entering a sale now for the June deadline is unrealistic for most, but the holiday extends to the 30th September 2021 at a £250,000 threshold for paying stamp duty.
Helen Hutchison a Residential Property partner at Sheffield-based Irwin Mitchell has a few ideas on what you can do before the stamp duty holiday begins to phase out at the end of June and returns to normal on October 1st this year.
Sort out your mortgage now
Applying for a mortgage is an obvious choice for many to get sorted, but our experts warn of how long the process can take.
“Getting your mortgage sorted as early as possible is a big help,” says Helen Hutchison.
“There are loads of steps that need to be taken here that people might not realise or have forgotten about, like the mortgage company’s own valuation and a full look over your finances in the form of an interview.
“Many people also don’t realise that your conveyancing team needs to be on the solicitor panel of the mortgage lender as well. This can slow the process down if you don’t check this beforehand.”
Instruct a solicitor even if you don't have a buyer to start the paperwork
“This is a great way to get a jump start on the process,” Helen says. “Your solicitor can get started with all of the groundwork needed for selling you home, which can save weeks or even months in the conveyancing process.”
Those selling their home may not be aware of just how much information is needed. For instance if you have a leasehold property, a potential buyer’s solicitors will be asking for service charge accounts, and any relevant information from third parties such as a management company for the property – all adding precious time to the process.
“Everyone knows there will be hiccups along the way when it comes to selling a home, so it’s best to get ahead on the conveyancing process” Helen added.
Survey and searches are taking longer too
Pent-up demand from the pandemic and Brexit led to the initial rush of home buying and selling last May, which hasn’t stopped over a year later. As a result, some searches from local authorities are taking far longer than they used to.
Online mortgage broker Mojo Mortgages looked at waiting times for local authority searches and found the process could take anything from five days to six months.
Helen advises talking to your solicitor about what can be done about the searches. “You can ask your solicitor to do these early on in order to get the process moving as quickly as possible, as unfortunately some local authorities are taking a long time to turnaround the results.”
Consider removal firms and any works that need doing
A removals company and handyman can make all the difference in making your house sale and move a smooth one – but their limited availability at the moment means you should look at booking these in provisionally whilst bearing in mind, any completion date is not fixed until the point of exchange.
The Construction Leadership Council recently warned that many suppliers crucial to home improvements like cement, timber, steel and paint were in short supply for some areas of the country – causing delays to an already stressful time for sellers.
“If you’re thinking of selling your home to complete this year, start getting quotes on any small works needed and for removal firms as well,” says Helen. “The slots for these are quickly filling up in light of the stamp duty holiday, as well as issues in the supply chains.”
While the stamp duty holiday is beginning to draw to a close, these tips from our specialists can be applied to your purchase so you can increase your chances of making the coveted savings.