The Government’s Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) holiday initiative provides up to a £15,000 saving when buying a residential property. This Stamp Duty relief for properties up to £500,000 is set to end on 30th June 2021, and to many, that will seem a lifetime away. However, for those involved in the conveyancing process, it’s a date that will be upon them incredibly quickly.
We have certainly felt the effects that the incentive scheme has had, with instructions from property buyers coming in thick and fast, in order to take benefit of the scheme.
The concern is around raising awareness of the conveyancing timeframe, as conveyancing takes time. It’s a lengthy legal process of toing and froing between solicitors and estate agents. It is inevitable that come towards the end of June, there will be pressure on us to complete as many purchases as possible to maximise the savings for our clients.
Whilst we have plans in place to ensure that we can meet much of the demand, we also want to manage client expectations too. We estimate that the conveyancing process can take on average between 8 and 12 weeks. Nevertheless, that isn’t without exception.
Sometimes a transaction can be so simple that it can sail through in a matter of weeks. Other times, we can be thrown a curve-ball and there could be hold ups in the process that can ultimately cause progression of a matter to be delayed months. This is inherent of the conveyancing process; we don’t really know what is going to crop up until we start digging.
The key issue recognised at the moment, is around third-party services that are furloughed or working from home with limited resources. This essentially affects the conveyancing timeframe that clients need to be aware of.
How long does conveyancing take (on average)..?
Pre contractual, appointment of conveyancer, instructions etc
Time to arrange a Mortgage
Draft Contracts, Survey Reports, Local Searches, Answers to outstanding questions
Time between exchange & completion
Overall time from accepted offer to completion (average)
Understanding that each element may allow for overlap.
What can cause a delay?
Many factors can cause delay with conveyancing. The most common one is slow communication streams between the buyer or seller, or their legal representatives that take their time responding to enquiries.
Other common reasons are:
- Problems with the property title
- A building survey revealing problems
- Missing information from the seller
- Issues with mortgage applications
- Buying a new build property that isn’t ready
- A probate sale
- Property searches delayed as local authority are slow to respond.
Finding a new home
Aside from the obvious time to complete the conveyancing transaction, there are other factors to mention for those looking to take advantage of the Stamp Duty Holiday.
First, you have to find the right house. Estate agency search tools like ‘On the market’, ‘Rightmove’ and ‘Zoopla’ make shortlisting a property easier. You should still factor in time to book viewings, surveys and negotiations. If you’ve shortlisted a few properties, then getting around those viewings could take a number of weeks, especially if the viewing(s) are physical visits rather than virtual viewings.
More importantly, is your home ready to market and/or sell? Preparing your home for sale and finding a buyer also takes time. There is hope for sellers in South Yorkshire, the general consensus is that demand is high. As such, achieving your asking price and agreeing a sale quickly shouldn’t be a problem. Albeit, you shouldn’t be complacent. Even signing up with an agent, taking images and/or videos of a property and arranging virtual viewings will all eat into the time you have to meet the June deadline.
As mentioned earlier, please bear in mind that mortgage advisers and lenders could be working differently due to lockdown or pandemic related tiers in place. This will impact on the overall efficiency of your move
Business as usual
Here at Pennine Law Solicitors, we adapt swiftly to change and our systems allow us to carry on working, whether that is in the office or from home. We can remain connected wherever we are.
You can rest assured that even if we ended up with further lockdown measures, our conveyancing team will be able to carry on. We have invested in protective equipment for our offices, and we allow our staff the freedom to work from home as well.
We are proud to offer a tiered fixed fee price, so you know exactly where you stand with us right from the beginning. Any unforeseen changes that could impact on this price will be pro-actively communicated before any further progress is made. Albeit this is a small risk.
Want to move quickly
If you are thinking of moving or buying a property, our advice is don’t delay. We will do all we can to ensure you can complete your purchase by the 30th June 2021 and to take advantage of the Stamp Duty holiday. Buying a property is stressful enough, let alone with a deadline for a potential huge saving looming. Please don’t leave it to the last minute.