Stamp Duty holiday: 5 tips to keep your property transaction moving
Thinking of moving house following the Stamp Duty holiday extension announcement? There are steps you can take to make the process of buying or selling a house smoother.
The property market has been unexpectedly booming during the lockdown. This has been largely due to the Stamp Duty holiday that was introduced to make transactions easier. This was due to finish on 31st March and now this has been extended for a further three months – 30th June 2021.
So far, the Stamp Duty Holiday has had a positive effect on property transactions, and buyers will likely continue to take advantage of it up until the end of June. Unsurprisingly though, the COVID-19 pandemic has made some transactions trickier and the process slower than usual, causing additional stress and worry for all involved.
Here are steps you can take to make the process of buying or selling a house smoother. Here are five that we believe are of the most important:
1. Think about selling before you buy
It is never easy – coordinating buying the new property and selling an existing one. Sell too early, and you have to find both interim accommodation and storage. Leave it too late, on the other hand, and you are paying simultaneously for two properties. Ultimately, the whole transaction might fail.
Furthermore, delays caused by the pandemic can mean that perfect coordination is near impossible. In these circumstances, the most ideal situation can be to sell early. Although finding temporary accommodation can be quite a task, it does mean that you will be paying for just one property’s bills while waiting for the purchase to be completed.
You will also be in a great position when it comes to making an offer with no chain involved – making you a more attractive buyer.
Most property purchases are of existing homes. However, it could be that you are considering buying a new build. In this case, it might be possible to arrange with the developer to part exchange your current home to pay for the new property. This single party transaction can be a great advantage – quickening the process and there should be no discrepancy between buying and selling.
2. Get your paperwork together
The conveyancing process for selling a property involves a significant amount of paperwork. Some of this can only be assembled once Conveyancing has begun, including the various searches required, for instance.
On the other hand, a number of documents can be prepared prior to finding a buyer. Your Conveyancer will give you a Property Information Form and a Fixtures and Fittings List to complete, and these may require evidence for various things, where relevant:
- If any work has been carried out within a certain timespan (most often ten years) you will need to provide evidence of planning permission.
- If any alterations have been made, you will need the Building Regulations completion certificates.
- You will need any relevant guarantee/warranty certificates, e.g. for roofing work or for equipment.
- You may be asked to provide an up-to-date boiler service check.
- If you have new windows, you will need FENSA certificates for them.
These are all documents that you should have access to, or they can be obtained if necessary from the relevant authorities. However, this takes time even under normal circumstances, and far more so in the current circumstances. If you begin to assess what you will need early on, this could considerably reduce the time it takes to sell your property.
3. Know where your deeds are
Perhaps the single most important document that might be required to sell a property are the title deeds. There may not be a physical deed for any recent sale, since nowadays they are normally stored electronically at the Land Registry.
However, there may be historic deeds, which should always be kept, since they can contain information not stored by the Land Registry. Examples of this information can be where the Land Registry have not scanned a document on correctly.
Alternatively, some properties may not be registered, for one reason or another. This means that you will need the physical deeds to prove your ownership.
4. Make sure your finances are in place
If you are buying a property, unless you are in a position to pay for it in cash, arranging a mortgage can cause a delay. Ensuring that you have whatever upfront money you might require, such as for a deposit or paying search fees, can help.
You can ensure that you have all this arranged, but it is proving more difficult during the pandemic. Like everything else, arranging mortgages and loans can be a slower process due to COVID-19 pandemic, so the sooner you begin, the less likely it is that you will face delays during conveyancing.
5. Choose an expert Conveyancing solicitor to help you through the process
Conveyancing is a long and complex legal procedure which relies on ensuring that everything is done in a timely and efficient manner. Any step that is left out, such as forgetting one of the essential documents, or any delay responding to requests, can result in the whole process taking longer, with the risk of adding to your costs or even jeopardising the entire transaction.
This makes it vital that you choose an expert Conveyancing Solicitor, who only works in this field and offers transparent quotes, so that there are no hidden costs – just like we do at Osborne Morris & Morgan.