Determined to make the stamp duty deadline?

Posted on 4 Jan, 2021

Almost three months and counting until the stamp duty holiday ends. It’s still possible to make the deadline, especially if you follow this advice.

Despite a petition with over 22,000 signatures being lodged with Parliament, the Chancellor has ignored calls to extend the stamp duty holiday. Buyers, and sellers with onwards purchases, need to act now in order to enjoy a stamp duty-free purchase or savings of up to £15,000. If you’re still hoping to make the deadline, Viewber’s dos and don’ts will help you stand the best chance.

The deadline you need to know

All property purchases need to be legally completed by 31st March 2021 to enjoy the bill reduction – having an offer accepted or contracts exchanged is not enough. These dos and don’ts will strengthen your buying and selling position. 

- Do make your first offer your best and final offer: traditionally, a little price negotiation is expected when making an offer on a property but with the deadline fast approaching, there really is no time for backwards and forwards between buyer and seller. Use your own research and estate agents’ knowledge to ensure your offer is attractive but affordable for you.

- Do be aware of gazumping: as the window for completion narrows, buyers may become desperate to secure a property. Gazumping – the act of another buyer coming in and making a higher bid just before exchange – may rear its head in early 2021. Have a plan in place – commit to a counter offer or find another property.

- Do get the seller’s full picture: although you may have no chain behind you, your seller could already be embroiled in a long, complicated chain ahead. Press the estate agent selling the property for details on how quickly the transaction is likely to move, with the March deadline in mind.

- Don’t forget the highest offer may not be the best offer: when speed is of the essence, the best buyer isn’t necessarily the one who makes the highest offer. Vendors will look for those who can proceed at pace. Cash buyers who don’t need a mortgage, those with no chain behind them (such as first-time buyers) and those who already have a property to sell under offer will be looked upon favourably as we head towards 31st March 2021.

- Don’t ignore the importance of having your finance and legals lined up: the more you have in place at the offers stage, the quicker your transaction will be. As a bare minimum, have a mortgage agreement in principle, a conveyancer instructed and all your paperwork in one place before you go house hunting. Also look for suppliers who accept digital documents such as photo ID, bank statements, pay slips and proof of deposit, as this will quicken the administrative side of the transaction.

- Don’t wait until the New Year to buy or sell: if you’re reading this in 2020, the temptation will be to take time off over Christmas and start in earnest in January. In doing this, you will lose valuable time as well as miss the seasonal spike! Rightmove registered tens of millions of page visits between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, with January 2019 officially its busiest month on record. Being just a week ahead could be the difference between making the deadline and facing a bill of thousands of pounds. Many estate agents are open between Christmas and New Year, with our Viewber accompanying viewings across the festive period – even on bank Holidays - so don’t delay.

Reading this in January? 

Don’t panic – speak to local estate agents who will advise you on the best course of action in order to make the stamp duty deadline. They’ll talk you through available properties, buyer demand, conveyancing timescales and help you weigh up whether paying over the odds for a property is worth any stamp duty saving. 

 

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