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Residential: How to beat the stamp duty deadline

Fri 15 January 2021

With less than 80 days to go before the 31st March deadline, the race is on for buyers to complete on their property purchases in time to take advantage of the stamp duty savings. 

Whilst, at the time of writing, Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has dismissed any hope that the deadline will be extended; it is still possible but would be unwise to rely on the possibility. We have put together some tips for buyers and sellers to ensure that they are in the best position to get their property purchase over the line before the end of March.

DON’T WASTE TIME - INSTRUCT AN AGENT PROMPTLY
Most efficient and proactive agents will be able to list your property within a matter of days. The quicker your house is on the market, the more likely you are to get it sold and through the sale process before the end of March. Start the conversation with your conveyancer as your property is being prepared for market. 

INSTRUCT A PROACTIVE SOLICITOR
When a sale/purchase involves time constraints, it is essential to instruct a solicitor with whom you have confidence. Speak with family and friends about their experiences and any recommendations they may have. An agent may suggest a solicitor to you but ensure this is independent advice rather than just a commission-based incentive.

PRICE YOUR PROPERTY WISELY
Occasionally, agents price your property to win the instruction; don’t be charmed by the agent promising the highest price; ask them to justify their asking price so that you feel confident in their recommendation. If your property is overpriced, the chances are that the process will be lengthy, and you could end up having to reduce it further down the line.

CONSIDER APPLYING FOR SEARCHES IN ADVANCE OF AGREEING A SALE 
Although this is not usual practice, if you order searches on your own property they can be passed on, or even sold on, to your buyer avoiding a potentially lengthy delay to the conveyancing process.

Currently, local authority searches are causing the biggest delay in the house buying process. 

BE FINANCIALLY PREPARED
Buyers should be as prepared as possible in relation to the funds required to purchase a property, such as a mortgage in principle, accessing savings and any borrowing from family members. 

GET YOUR DOCUMENTATION IN ORDER
Your agent and solicitor will require specific information throughout the conveyancing process. This may include, but is not limited to, proof of ID and proof of funds such as wage slips, accounts, and bank statements, guarantees and building regulations. Ask your agent and solicitor what documentation they will require from the offset so that you are prepared. 

SERIOUSLY CONSIDER THE BENEFITS OF CHAIN FREE BUYERS AND PROPERTIES
Generally, the shorter the chain, the swifter the conveyancing process. A chain free buyer is someone who does not have a property to sell themselves (cash buyers or first-time buyers), not someone that is going through the sales process at present or has a property to sell! A chain free property is when the current owners of a property do not intend on making an onward purchase themselves. 

WORK TOWARDS A COMMON DEADLINE
Speak to your solicitor to ensure that all parties have agreed and are working towards the same deadline. For a swift conveyancing process, all parties will need to act promptly.

KEEP IN REGULAR CONTACT WITH YOUR SOLICITOR AND AGENT
Your solicitor and agent should keep in regular, but reasonable contact with you. However, if you feel you are not receiving this service, schedule a reminder to speak with them both on a weekly basis and ask for a progress update. Ensure you reply to any enquiries and complete the required paperwork as quickly as possible.

PREPARE YOURSELF FOR UNEXPECTED DELAYS
Whether buying or selling property, the process can be stressful, never mind the additional pressure of trying to meet a deadline. It is important to consider that, even if you followed all the suggestions above, you may still miss the stamp duty holiday deadline. Being mentally prepared for potential delays will assist you in keeping calm and rational during the conveyancing process. 

As always, if our team can be of any help to you in relation to the sale of your property please do not hesitate to contact your youngsRPS local office:
Alnwick
Hexham
Sedgefield
Northallerton