Deadline of SDLT holiday fast approaching – Act now or face disappointment

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Benjamin Franklin once said and that is never truer than in today’s home buying market. Since the announcement of the Stamp Duty holiday in July 2020, the conveyancing market has seen an unprecedented increase in transactions, up 55% from June to August 2020 compared to the same quarter last year. Rightmove having reported an increase in 40% more sales than this time last year. A combination of pent up post lockdown demand coupled with an urgency to take advantage of the Stamp Duty holiday set to end in March 2021 and reinvigoration of the saying “an English man’s home is his Castle”, with a home office and a larger garden with a hot tub.

So how does this saturation of the conveyancing market impact on you if you are thinking of moving home or already in the process of moving? Buying or Selling a home is not like popping down the shops to buy shoes or even a new car, there are several individuals and institution that need to be working towards the same goal and this is not always easy. There is the Seller, Buyer, Estate Agent, Mortgage Advisor, Lender, Valuer and the Conveyancer. All are trying to get you into your new home as fast as possible, but each have their own challenges.

So what’s the problem? Ok so here we go, unfortunately Covid19 continues to have an impact on the conveyancing process. Lenders have reduced staff numbers and those working are in the main working at home, this is causing a significant delay in processing times. This is also coupled with lenders now pulling from the market low loan to value mortgage products and increasing interest rates. Coupled with an increased risk of lenders rejecting applicants, who then must find an alternative lender, causing added delay. Having said that the Bank of England has reported the highest number of home mortgage approvals since August 2007, so things are moving, just there may be a few glitches along the way.

Due to the pent-up need for valuations and social distancing guidelines, once you have provided all the necessary paperwork to the lender, you may find a delay in having the lender value the property. Where previously this could have taken a few weeks, this can take around 28 days.

Then comes the searches, previously the turnaround time for Local Authority searches has been a couple of weeks, this can now take 6 weeks.

I know March 2021 sounds like a long way away, Christmas is 12 weeks away! But time flies and the process is slower than ever. Pre-Covid, the average time it took nationally from putting a property on the market to completion was 187 days.

So how can you help us, get you over the line before the end of March 2021?

  1. Instruct your Conveyancer at the outset- as soon as you put your property on the market, instruct your Conveyancer. That way all ID checks, source of funds, Property Information Forms, Fixtures and Fittings Forms and Search fees are paid up front, so once you have an offer everything is in place and ready to go. Completing Property Information Forms early can highlight to your Conveyancer at the outset whether there might be any issues with the land and avoid an aborted sale. Complete the forms and send them back with your ID as soon as possible, we need to ensure we have everything ready.
  1. Pay your search fees and other fees – disbursements or out of pocket expenses are fees paid to third parties. These need to be paid upfront before the searches can be undertaken, because of current delays, getting the searches requested as soon as possible avoids delay later in the process.
  1. Keep in contact with your Mortgage Advisor/Lender it is more important than ever to keep updated with your potential lender, either direct or through your mortgage advisor. Given the extended processing of mortgage offers and the withdrawal of mortgage products, ensuring your lender has all the financial information they need is imperative. Delays are caused by bank statements going astray or falling out of date, make sure you keep in touch so you know they have everything they need to issue your mortgage offer.
  1. Reply to any enquiries as soon as possible if you are selling a property, make sure you answer any enquires about the property, or send in documentation to your Conveyancer as soon as possible. If you are unsure what something means, ask! Do not ignore it, this only leads to delay and more often than not, Buyers ask further questions once a reply is sent, so replying to all enquires as soon as possible limits delay and saves time in your Conveyancer having to chase you for a response.

Be patient we know it is not easy, especially when things are slow, but believe us, your Conveyancer wants you in your home as quickly as you do. Work with us, we are keeping you updated when we know something, things take time and we will let you know any news as soon as we do. We are all working towards the same goal, we want nothing more than a happy client with keys to their new home.