19 November 2020

Still time to meet stamp duty deadline if you use a broker

Delays to conveyancing, valuations and mortgage applications mean some buyers who haven’t yet had an offer on a property accepted may miss out on the stamp duty concession which runs until the end of March. But there is no need to panic as this is not necessarily the case. As long as buyers choose the right solicitor and a good mortgage broker, it should still be possible to complete without significant delays.

Delays are being caused by the volume of demand, coupled with staff working from home. The mini-boom in the housing market is down to pent-up demand from the spring, combined with people wanting more space as a result of the first national lockdown, and the stamp duty holiday. The latest house price index from the ONS/Land Registry reveals that house prices rose by 4.7 per cent in the year to the end of September, with prices in the southwest of England leading the way, as well as those of detached houses. More people are considering moving further out, perhaps because they don’t have to be in the capital every day for work, or are looking at holiday homes to take advantage of the staycation boom.

While some lenders and surveyors struggle with service levels, it is not the case for all. Borrowers must select their lender carefully, which is where a mortgage broker comes in. It may not be all about price, although that is a key consideration, but how long it takes to process applications. This is not something that is immediately apparent to borrowers but brokers who arrange mortgages day in, day out, have the inside track.

The same is true of your lawyer. A good lawyer is worth paying for; some conveyancers may be cheap but this can be reflected in the service you receive. We often recommend that clients do not take free legals on a remortgage but take the cash contribution from the lender instead and choose your own solicitor who can get quickly up to speed.

Advice is crucial and could save you thousands of pounds in the long run if you manage to take advantage of the stamp duty concession.

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