June Update – Why Most First Time Buyers Don’t Need To Stress Over Stamp Duty

Tuesday 1st June 2021

Hello and hope you all had a super Bank Holiday weekend! We agreed a sale this weekend on a fabulous three bedroomed townhouse in Winchester and the buyers are keen to complete before the end of June, to take advantage of the stamp duty incentives, which start to peter out, with staggered slim down of the government ‘stamp duty holiday’, until finishing at the end of September. All property professionals are struggling to keep up with the overwhelming numbers of ongoing transactions requiring completion in this timescale. Fortunately the buyers of the house we agreed yesterday are cash, the house is freehold, and there are no management charges, we stand a good fighting chance of getting this through in time.

However, I thought it might be worth reminding first time buyers that you don’t need to worry so much about completing by the end of June. The pre-existing stamp duty start point for first time buyers is £300,000 anyway, so if you are looking to this figure, then June doesn’t matter … (and you will only pay the difference between £300,000 and the purchase price of your property if it is higher than £300,000).

I do have advice for all buyers looking to purchase a property. The first time you should always do, before you even open Rightmove, is to check out your mortgage. Speak to an independent financial advisor, one who can check the whole of the mortgage market (many say they are ‘whole of market’ but aren’t, so please do check!). They can sweep the 11000 products which are out there, and even advise of high street lenders who offer incentives to financial brokers, which can, in turn, be reflected in the interest rate you could end up paying. Getting a basic online Agreement in Principle from an online algorithm over the counter, can be misleading information and a long way from the actual amount you can borrow when the numbers for formally keyed in. You might find you can borrow far more, or less, than you thought once the broker has crunched the numbers for you.

Check how much deposit you have, where it is stored, whether it is instantly available or tied into a product which you cannot reach until a specific time. This is all vitally important information for when you make an offer.

Then, check your timings. This might well be based on your rental lease.  Check when you contract is up, or when it might move to a rolling ‘periodic’ contract with a month or two’s notice. The last thing you want to do is to find your perfect house, but then find you are tied to your rental for a further year before being released. Some landlords will release you, if they can find someone to replace you, but some won’t, and some will pass you their costs of replacing you early.

Find a good solicitor. Seriously, it is helpful to have a good one from the outset, before you find a property. Ask around, ask your family or friends for recommendations … but find one you like and get a quote in readiness. Please don’t always opt for the cheapest … cheap isn’t always best and can be a false economy.

Having all this information to hand is so helpful when it comes to making an offer. When you finally find a house, you can make an offer and seem so much more in control of your own position if you can say to the estate agent through whom you are offering … here’s my offer, here’s my mortgage approval, here’s my solicitor, here’s the timescale I would like to work to ….

When you do make an offer, and give all this information, it is highly likely that the estate agent you offer through will want to you speak to their own financial broker to do what is called an ‘offer check’ … ie to check your financial position on behalf of their sellers, so that they might present your offer in the best possible light. This is fine, maybe irritating as you already have your homework done, but they will often do their own steps for verification. Remember, this is important for the agent to do as so many buyers will likely have simply done the basic computer algorithm Agreement in Principle, and therefore may not be as financially prepared as you are.  That inhouse broker will likely try to get your business too, don’t be surprised, of course they might, but you don’t have to use them. However, you will likely have to go through this process – or you can simply put your broker in touch with theirs to confirm your finances.

Finally, once your offer is accepted, you will likely need a survey. Some mortgage lenders offer a survey via the product you are using, some don’t. You might decide to upgrade the normal ‘mortgage valuation’ survey to a Homebuyers or Full Structural Survey, depending on the age of the property you are buying. An independent surveyor can advise on what sort of survey you should need. There are some really decent independent surveyors out there, and I am more than happy to pass on some numbers – and of mortgage brokers too if you need one!

Please do call me if I can be of any help or if you need any contractors, mortgage brokers, solicitor or surveyor recommendations, and I am more than happy to pass them on.

Finally, please do call us if you are thinking of selling your home and we would be delighted to come and see you to discuss how we would market your home.

 nony@nonykerr-smiley.com – 07712 648740 

sam@nonykerr-smiley.com – 07801 056784


Hope this helps and have a super summer!