A stamp duty holiday temporarily raises the minimum threshold at which stamp duty is charged from £125,000 to £500,000 pounds. Chancellor Rishi Sunak introduced it to help the UK’s economy amidst the coronavirus pandemic. It was due to finish on March 31 and has been extended for a further three months, which is until June 30.
Before the stamp duty holiday was introduced, homebuyers wanting to purchase a property in England (except the first-timers) would have to pay Land Tax or land with a value of £125,000 pounds or more. The rate started at two per cent of the property value, and it increases depending on the cost of the property being bought. Fortunately, because of this holiday, the housing market boomed in 2020, despite the challenges faced due to the health crisis. In fact, it helped buyers to save an average of £4,500 pounds.
While the stamp duty holiday has had a positive effect, the pandemic has made certain real estate transactions trickier and the process slower and more stressful than usual. To make the process of buying or selling a house in the UK efficient to ensure you benefit from a stamp duty holiday, here are some tips you can follow:
Make sure your finances are in place
Buying a property involves a lot of money. If you are not in a position to pay for it in cash, keep in mind that securing a mortgage can delay your buying process. Therefore, before buying, you have to make sure that you need sufficient funds for upfront costs, such as a deposit.
On the other hand, you can arrange mortgages and loans, but note that it can be slower because of the pandemic. Start as soon as possible to avoid delays during conveyancing.
Prepare all the necessary paperwork
When selling a property, the conveyancing process requires tons of paperwork. Some of them, including the various searches required, can only be assembled once conveyancing has started. Meanwhile, other documents can be prepared even before you find a buyer.
Your conveyancer will need you to fill out a Property Information Form and a Fixtures and Fittings List. Completing them is required since they can be evidence to the following:
You have FENSA certificates if you have new windows.
You have to show proof of planning permission if any work has been carried out on your property within a specified period.
You have the Building Regulations completion certificates if you have any alterations made on your property.
You have a relevant guarantee or warranty certificate.
You went through an up-to-date boiler service check.
Think about selling early
Selling your existing house and buying a new one is never an easy feat. The whole transaction might also fail when you end up selling too early or too late. There can also be further delays caused by the pandemic.
If you are having trouble coordinating, selling early is ideal. This is because even though you have to find temporary accommodation, you will be paying for only one property’s bills as you wait to complete your purchase. You will also become a more attractive buyer because you are more likely to make an offer with no chain involved.
In addition, since most property purchases are of existing homes and you are considering buying a newly built house, you have the option to arrange with the developer. Ask them to part exchange your current home to pay for the new one to have a single-party transaction. This way, you can make the process more efficient and avoid any discrepancies between buying and selling.
Know where your title deeds are
Your title deed is an essential legal document because it proves that you own immovable property. It is crucial when selling your home.
Physical deeds are rare, especially for recent sales, because they are usually stored electronically at the Land Registry. However, if you have historical deeds, you need to keep them safe and have physical copies since they can include information not stored by the Land Registry. It is possible when the documents are not properly scanned. You also need the physical deeds to prove your ownership if your property is not registered.
Hire an experienced conveyancing solicitor
Whether buying a property, remember that real estate is permanent, unlike other forms of investment. It means it cannot be moved, destroyed, or hidden after a sale has been made, making it a valuable asset.
While it may seem like a straightforward change of legal ownership, there can be issues that can arise along the way. For example, a home is being sold that originally had two names on the sale contract. This can cause problems, like tax or liability issues, if there is a divorce or death before the property gets sold. Other issues that can add to your costs or even jeopardise the entire transaction are forgetting an essential document or delaying responding to requests. This is where conveyancing can come in.
Conveyancing is a tedious and complex legal procedure that ensures that the real estate process is timely and efficient. By working with an experienced conveyancing solicitor, you are assured that the property’s ownership gets transferred without any hassle due to legalities. You can have peace of mind knowing they are updated about the latest real estate procedures and legal details. They can also help you anticipate and prepare for any potential issues and prevent them from happening before your entire transaction gets affected.
When hiring a conveyancing solicitor, choose one who offers transparent quotes. Inquire about their conveyancing fees to check for hidden costs.
What Could Stop You From Completing Before the Deadline?
Buying a home can be time-consuming. Here are some factors that fall outside of your solicitor’s control that can hinder you from completing a timely property purchase before the End of the Stamp Duty Land Tax Holiday:
Localised lockdowns: Purchasing a property is still possible in these trying times, but the process involved can be much slower than usual due to the high number of positive cases and localised lockdowns. This is especially true if you or your conveyancing solicitor gets infected or cannot go out due to safety restrictions.
Conveyancing searches: A property search is a vital part of the home buying process. Your conveyancing solicitor conducts it, and they work with the local authority and other organisations to find out more about the house you plan to purchase. It also includes learning more about local development plans that may affect it. This search can hinder you if you or one of the buyers in the chain fails to get the local search in time for completion.
Removals: Vacating a property can be challenging, especially during these difficult times. The risk of getting infected is high, and the number of positive cases continuously increases, causing anxiety among home buyers and sellers. Unfortunately, not efficiently moving out can lead you to fail to complete a purchase before the deadline.
A stamp duty holiday is beneficial to your real estate transaction, but it can affect your overall home buying or selling experience. This is especially true because you have to be mindful of the deadline. To have a hassle-free process, keep the information above in mind and hire a conveyancing solicitor.
If you’re looking for conveyance solicitors in Birmingham who can help you with your real estate transaction, reach out to Conveyancing Calculator. We can provide you with prices directly from licensed conveyancers or property solicitors. Contact us today to request a quote!