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How to Get Your Chelmsford Property Photo Ready


Photographs are an essential step when selling your home in Chelmsford and are integral to an effective marketing strategy.

Your photos need to look fantastic and stand out in a busy market. The images need to be an accurate and honest representation of the property, which is why staging your home before the professional photographer arrives is crucial.

If you are not hiring professional home stagers, there are some simple steps you can take to prepare your home in the best possible way before we send our professional photographers out to capture your home at its best!

Pay Attention to the Front of The Property

Even the nicest of cars cause distraction. Remove your vehicle from the driveway to give the viewers the full impact of the outside space and an unobstructed view of the front of the property. Additionally, ensure garage doors are closed. Small changes will make a significant impact on the overall quality of the photography.

If you usually keep the bins at the front of the property, ensure they are hidden away out of any shots. Thoroughly clean windows and windowsills to provide that the all-important front image of the home is immaculate.

Take some time to tidy the front garden, giving the best first impression. Mow the lawn, trim back any hedges and remove any empty plant pots that may be lying around.

Make Your Gardens Attractive

Gardens are often a huge draw for potential buyers, both those who are breaking free from the rental market and those climbing up the property ladder. Gardens are subject to personal taste, but neat lawns, clean decking, smart patios and clearly defined eating areas are what buyers want, so take time to prepare them before the arrival of your photographer.

Showcase Your Bedrooms

Remove any signs that may be stuck on bedroom doors, especially common for children’s rooms. Store away any children’s toys which may eliminate part of your target audience. If you don’t have the storage room, hide them in the car while the photographer is working!

Make all the beds and plump up the pillows. If any cushions are looking past their best, hide them out of shot. Items like this can do more harm than good and make the whole room look tired.

Add Sparkle to Your Bathroom

Bathrooms and kitchens are the main rooms that can really draw viewers to a home. Simple hacks in the bathroom can drastically elevate your photographs. Simply make sure the toilet seats are down, and mirrors are sparkly clean with no watermarks or smudges.

As bathrooms are often small, create space by being as minimal as possible. Store away cosmetic items such as shampoo, lotions, or razors. The bright colours of the bottles can be unattractive and distracting when photographed.

Remove Kitchen Clutter

Kitchens are the heart of the home, and a beautiful kitchen is often the factor that convinces unsure potential buyers. Clear all surfaces, leaving minimal appliances in view. This will prevent clutter from causing distraction and give the illusion of a bigger and fresher space with plenty of work surfaces.

Don’t Distract with Electronics

Turn off the TV and any computers and make sure there are no loose electronic devices left on countertops, which are distracting for people viewing the images. The last thing you want to see are beautiful images of your home with a distracting TV show in the corner of the otherwise perfect image.

Let in The Light

Open curtains and blinds wide to let the natural light flow through the home. Your photographer will then be able to manipulate the light to show your home in the best, most natural way possible. If you have blinds, open them tilted upwards. This will push the natural light towards the ceiling, allowing it to illuminate without being too harsh for photography.

Give Your Pets a Day Out!

Although you love them, it is best to keep pets out of your listing photographs whether it is a cat, dog or hamster, if possible, remove the pet from the home for the whole day, as this will give you an excellent opportunity to clean, ready for staging, and prevent them from getting in the way of the photographer.

In addition to the pet itself, make sure any pet toys, food bowls and beds are out of shot. Furthermore, tidy up the garden, ensuring no waste or pet toys are lying around.

Call the friendly team at Essex Homes And Lettings now on 01245398466 – we use professional photography as standard!

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Buyers plan to renegotiate purchase price if they miss stamp duty deadline

house prices

More than half of existing property buyers with an agreed deal in place plan to try and renegotiate the purchase price if they fail to complete the transaction before the stamp duty holiday ends, according to a fresh poll.

The study, undertaken by Knight Frank, found that 52% of respondents to its latest market sentiment survey would attempt to renegotiate the price of the property they have agreed to buy if they miss out on the stamp duty tax saving.

The survey of more than 500 clients also found that 35% of respondents would not pull out of a deal if it was not going to complete before the stamp duty holiday ends on 31 March.

Nevertheless, 87% of respondents unsurprisingly want the chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend the stamp duty holiday in the Budget next month, while a quarter of those who think the holiday should be extended suggested it should be tapered to afford extra time for buyers to complete.

Just 12% of buyers will pull out of their transaction if it does not complete in time for their stamp duty exemption, according to the research.

Other survey findings show that 36% of respondents are more likely to move in the next year as consequence of the latest lockdown, with 19% are less likely to do so.

Some 37% of people think their house value will rise between 1% to 5% in the next year, while 42% of respondents said they would use virtual viewings more often as part of their property searches even after the requirement to do so ends.

According to the poll, the latest lockdown appears to have reinforced trends that emerged after the market reopened last May, with the search for space, more open green space and the ability to work from home remaining at the forefront of people’s minds.

Original Article from Property Industry Eye 23/02/2021

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Government set to announce 95% LTV mortgage guarantee scheme


The government is set to announce a new mortgage guarantee scheme during Wednesday’s Budget.

The scheme will offer incentives to lenders which have “virtually disappeared” during the pandemic, the Treasury said.

The scheme is set to launch to lenders from April and will allow both first-time buyers and current homeowners to purchase properties up to £600,000 with a 5% deposit.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Owning a home is a dream for millions across the UK and we want to help as many people as possible. Saving up for a big deposit can often be difficult, and the pandemic has meant there are fewer low deposit mortgages available.”

The government first announced plans for a new scheme to increase the number of 95% LTV mortgages last October. Boris Johnson reportedly asked ministers to design the plan, which he said would involve removing stress tests for mortgage applicants, instead extending “a form of state guarantee” to lenders to de-risk the loans.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, commented:“Turning ‘generation rent’ into ‘generation buy’ has been a focus for Boris Johnson for a while so the return of 95% LTV mortgages for first-time buyers doesn’t come as a complete surprise. This, coupled with the extension of the stamp duty holiday, will result in a Budget which is a real boost for buyers.

“It is positive news for first-time buyers, particularly as it is not restricted to new homes, although critics may argue that it will only aid house price inflation. But without such a scheme would developers be so keen to put spades in the ground? The supply of new housing is nowhere near where it needs to be to satisfy demand.

‘”For those with little in the way of deposit, finding a 95% LTV mortgage has been pretty much impossible in recent months. The odd building society here and there has offered them, with Saffron building society launching at 95% in June but it only lasted a matter of days. Furness BS also has a selection of 95% products but these are restricted to certain postcodes.

“The only other current option to obtain a mortgage at this level is to call upon a third party, typically a parent, to provide extra security in the way of deposits or equity within the ‘guarantor’ property. Not everyone is in a fortunate position to do so.

“The last time there was a mortgage guarantee treasury scheme was via Help to Buy. The mortgage guarantee offering closed to new loans on 31st December 2016 (the equity loan continues, albeit in a revised form today) but by then, many of the high-street names had removed themselves from the scheme and ‘self-insuring’ their 95% offerings.”

Mark Hayward, chief policy adviser at NAEA Propertymark, added: “A government backed mortgage guarantee scheme will help first -ime buyers get on the housing ladder at a time when for many owning a home seems an impossible dream. Alongside the potential extension of the stamp duty holiday that we have been calling for, this new scheme will go some way in giving some hope to first-time buyers at a time when the size of deposits required means they fall at the first hurdle.”

Original Article from Financial Reporter 01/03/2021

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5 Ways to Spruce up Your Home for Spring

Spring home

If there was ever a good time of year to freshen up and update your home in Chelmsford, then it would be the springtime. After a long and cold winter, the sun is finally starting to shine, the flowers are beginning to flourish, and you no longer have to wear three layers of clothing just to leave the house. 

Spring has sprung and you are feeling upbeat, motivated and ready for action. It’s the perfect time to update your home and embrace this year’s latest interior design trends.

Not sure where to begin? 

Keep reading to discover five simple ways to spruce up your home for spring, and don’t worry, it won’t cost you the earth! 

Embrace natural light 

One of the simplest ways to make your home feel more spring-like is to ensure that you are making the most of any natural light within your home. It can be as basic a task as moving the furniture around a bit so that the key areas in each room are basked in sunshine. 

For example, try moving your sofa to the sun facing part of your living room, as close to the window as possible. You no longer need to worry about draughts as the warmer weather is well on its way. 

Alternatively, if you have a little money to spend, why not consider installing a roof light? Not only will this massively increase the amount of natural light let into your home, but it will also help to cut your energy bills and make your home more attractive to potential buyers if you decide to sell.

Colour me beautiful 

If you want a quick and easy way to update your home for spring, then you can’t go wrong with a fresh coat of paint on the walls. With this spring’s trending colours being muted pink, baby blue and mint green, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to redecorating your home. 

On the other hand, if you prefer to keep your walls neutral, you could incorporate the above colours into your furniture and home accessories instead. Think freshly painted dining room chairs, a newly acquired mint green sofa or a few muted pink lampshades. 

Clear out the clutter

Nothing says spring quite like a thorough spring clean of your home. It is almost a rite of passage for transitioning from the cold weather to the warm; it just has to be done. 

Now, if the thought of clearing out all your cupboards and drawers, not to mention the space under your bed where you stash everything and anything that you want out of sight, brings you out in a cold sweat, then don’t worry, you are not alone. 

Why do you think Mrs Hinch, the crazy cleaning lady, is so popular?  

Homeowners want a quick fix when it comes to ways to spring clean their home. They want hacks. They want miracle cures that will turn their dusty home into a sparkling paradise. 

Thankfully, for those of you who are not so keen on spring-cleaning, it can be done in just one day. 

Firstly, you need a checklist of the cleaning tasks you want to complete and then you simply need to systematically work your way through each room. A slap dash approach is not going to cut it if you want to be done in a day. 

Be thorough but don’t get bogged down with one individual task. Create a checklist to spring clean your home and systematically work your way through it. 

Be fabulous with flora and fruit 

Another simple, yet highly effective way to update your home this spring is with the art of flower arranging, and you don’t even have to spend a lot of money buying expensive flowers from your local garden centre. Just head outside to your garden and take your pick. 

Most people have a variety of spring flowers growing in their gardens, from daffodils to tulips to gladioli. All of which will look stunning arranged in a spring-inspired vase or two. 

Another great tip is to fill a bowl with lemons – choose the unwaxed variety – and place in your hallway or on your dining room table. Not only will they instantly brighten up any room, but they will smell fresh and amazing and look quirky too. 

Adopt spring-inspired accessories

If you want to completely transform the look of a room without having to make any major changes, then home accessories are the way to go. Luckily, the shops and supermarkets are awash with spring-inspired home furnishings; from cushions emblazoned with cute animals that come out at this time of year, to throws adorned with flowers and decorative, light-weight rugs. 

Spring is the season of opportunities, so be sure to seize yours, especially when it comes to sprucing up your home in Chelmsford.

If you are planning on moving to the Chelmsford area soon, why not telephone us or call in. We’ll be happy to advise you on our available properties in the area. Contact us on 01245398466 for more information.

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6 Budget Planning Tips for First Time Buyers in Chelmsford


Working to get your foot on the property ladder in Chelmsford is no easy task, but with a market that has seen a slow down, now could be the perfect time to buy your first home. There’s a lot to consider, like which area to choose and what type of property to buy, but above all else, your budget should be your top consideration. The last thing you want to do is to purchase something beyond your means and end up in a financial crisis. 

If you’ve seriously started considering buying your first property, you should also be considering how you can afford it, so here are the best six budget planning tips for first-time buyers from Essex Homes And Lettings. 

1. Stop renting

Paying rent every month is almost equal to paying monthly mortgage fees except you’re not gaining anything! It can be especially difficult to save a deposit for your new home if you’re paying so much each month in rent. If you are willing to give up your own space for roughly six to 12 months whilst you save your money, you are then likely to have enough for a deposit and be a homeowner much sooner than if you were trying to save money and pay rent. Moving back home with family may sound like a last resort, but you will be able to save a lot more. 

If moving in with family is not an option and you must rent, there are ways to work around this so you can still pocket some money for a deposit. You can always find a cheaper place to live, but bear in mind that this may mean a smaller property. You could also consider opting for a house share rather than renting a property of your own to help lower the cost of your rent, giving you extra money to put away for a deposit. 

2. Put your savings to work

Why have money just sitting in an account when you could be earning money on that savings? If you have a decent interest rate, you can reach your savings goal faster, but picking the right account is dependent on how you’re saving. If you have money to put aside each month and want to set up regular payments, a regular savings account might be your best bet. If you need more flexibility with the amount you put away, for example, if you save in lump sums whenever you can rather than on a fixed schedule, an instant access savings account might be the better option for you. 

3. Research areas and locations

As a first time buyer, deciding where to buy your first home is just as important as saving for your deposit. If you haven’t picked the area you want to purchase your new home in yet, do some research to find out what you can afford and if the area fits your lifestyle and needs. You can speak to our expert team here at Essex Homes And Lettings to help guide your choice, but ultimately you will need to determine which areas are good for your budget before anything else. Be sure to check out what the prices are for the type of property you want to buy, as well as council taxes and any other costs that need to be factored in such as travel or parking fees for example. Once you have an idea of what the cost of your property will be, both when purchasing and when actually living there, you can start to properly budget to save for a specific goal.

4. Budget for your monthly mortgage payments

Getting a mortgage means you will be required to pay a monthly amount to your lender to cover the amount you have borrowed, so it’s vital you speak to a lender or financial adviser to ensure affordability. Here at Essex Homes And Lettings we will be delighted to assist or recommend a financial services professional – simply ask us for details.

5. Budget for other home-buying costs

There are more costs to consider once you’ve bought your home, so you should make sure your budgeting plan includes enough to take care of these after you’ve completed on your first property. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you’re strapped for cash and are barely making your mortgage payments. These other costs can include:

  • Solicitor fees
  • Survey costs
  • Mortgage arrangement costs
  • Estate agent fees
  • Buildings and contents insurance 
  • Furniture and decorating requirements
  • Necessary renovations or maintenance 

6. Take advantage of the Help to Buy scheme

The government offers a Help to Buy equity loan scheme to first time buyers in England on properties that are new builds worth up to £600,000. It’s great for first time buyers who only have a 5% deposit saved up because it gives you an equity loan that can be used towards purchasing a house on a repayment basis, rather than on an interest only basis. The repayment plan is interest-free for five years, giving you time to save more money. You can apply if you’re over the age of 18, and the equity loan you receive depends on where you live, so do check with your lender for more information.

We hope you find these six first time buyer budgeting tips helpful. For further no-obligation expert advice please contact the team at Essex Homes And Lettings on 01245398466 and we will be delighted to assist you.

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One in eight sellers will pull out if they miss stamp duty holiday

selling your home

Some 12 per cent of buyers will pull out of their transaction if it does not complete in time for their stamp duty exemption.

That’s the finding of a survey by Knight Frank, which asked 500 current purchasers their intentions.

To the question: Would you pull out of a purchase that wasn’t going to complete before March 31? some 12 per cent said Yes; 36 per cent No; and 52 per cent said they’d renegotiate the price.

The agent’s survey suggests there is overwhelming support for an extension to the stamp duty holiday.

Some 87 per cent of respondents say Chancellor Rishi Sunak should extend in the Budget next month, while a quarter of those who advocate an extension say it should be tapered.

Elsewhere in the study, 36 per cent of respondents say they are more likely to move in the next year as consequence of the latest lockdown, with 19 per cent less likely.

Just over a third of people think their house value will rise between one and five per cent in the next year.

A full 42 per cent say they will use virtual viewings more often even after the requirement to do so ends.

In terms of the much-hyped desire for more space, the survey appears to show that the latest lockdown has reinforced trends that emerged after the market reopened last May, with a desire for space, greenery and the ability to work from home remaining at the forefront of people’s minds.

The most important attributes people now want in a property are a home office or study (67 per cent), a garden, outdoor space or access to land (72 per cent) access to high-speed broadband (also 72 per cent) and a broad desire for more space, which was important for 53 per cent.

The escape to the country trend doesn’t appear to have run its course either, with 38 per cent of respondents stating that the latest lockdown had made them more likely to move to a rural location.

Original Article from Estate Agent Today 22/02/2021

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How the other half borrow – wealthy purchasers denied mortgages


High net worth individuals are struggling when it comes to successfully applying for a mortgage, according to a lender. 

Research by Butterfield Mortgages involving 2,008 adults, including those with a combined investment portfolio of over £100,000. 

One in five had been turned down for a mortgage in the past decade – a rise of six per cent over a similar survey two years ago.

Of those who have successfully or unsuccessfully applied for a mortgage in the last 10 years, 51 per cent have been rejected at some point. 

Some 63 per cent said they struggled to get a loan because of their complicated income structures or lack of monthly pay cheques. This compares to the national average of 42 per cent. 

Almost three in five of the wealthiest respondents who had applied for a mortgage in the past 10 years said they had to wait three months or longer to hear if their applications were successful.

Butterfield chief executive Alpa Bhakta says: “As a general rule of thumb, the wealthier individuals are, the more complex their finances are likely to be. Covid-19 has only exacerbated the challenges of applying for a mortgage, meaning that many mainstream providers and big banks are simply not equipped to take on complex cases at the moment.”

Original Article from Estate Agent Today 18/02/2021

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Good news for first time buyers as lenders allow smaller deposits

First time buyers with just a 10 per cent deposit – for long almost excluded from the mortgage market – now find many more lenders competing for their business.

Independent mortgage market monitor Moneyfacts says the number of mortgages overall available at 90 per cent Loan To Value  has risen by 29 in the first two weeks of February alone. This follows 88 additional products coming on to the market in January. 

The current total is 277 and while a long way off the 776 deals available a year ago, it’s well above the low of 44 deals offered in early September when worries about the pandemic caused lenders to tighten their belts.

The number of different lenders who offer 90 per cent LTV mortgages overall has also risen – by five since the start of this month, and by 15 since the beginning of January.

First time buyers with a 10 per cent deposit will also find more cashback offers on the market today, rising from 50 to 83 over the past month.

Eleanor Williams, spokesperson for Moneyfacts, says: “As the stamp duty holiday deadline approaches, RICS latest research indicates that January has seen the first fall in residential activity in seven months.

“First time buyers who found themselves unable to proceed last year, and who may not be impacted by the end of the stamp duty holiday if they are purchasing below a property value of £300,000, could buck this trend, as there may be good news for those ready to take their first step on the property ladder.

“While average rates – historically often higher than those available in lower LTV brackets due to risk – are above where they were a year ago, those for whom the longer-term stability of a five-year fixed may suit their circumstances may be pleased to note this rate has reduced 0.04 per cent since the start of this month alone.

“There are of course still hurdles for these borrowers to overcome; house prices inflated quite significantly last year – although early indications are this may be slowing in 2021 – and savings rates have continued to descend to rock bottom lows, making building a larger deposit difficult, as have high rental payments. But their options have been steadily increasing.”

Original Article from Estate Agent Today 18/02/2021

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When is the Best Time to Put my House on the Market in Chelmsford?

selling your home

There is a dance we do when it comes to buying and selling a property! In most cases, you’ll want to sell your property first and then buy another property second because this means having a greater deposit to work with and enough funds to cover all your moving costs. If you sell at the right time, then you can potentially sell your house fast and for the asking price or, if you can start a bidding war between multiple interested parties, in some cases, greater than the asking price.

Seasonal Selling: Housing Market and Selling Expectations 


Spring is a great time to sell and traditionally is the season when lots of properties come to market. Potential buyers are not away enjoying their summer holidays, there is that feeling of warmth and renewal in the air, and in general, many people want to move during this season simply because it means they can settle into their new home during the warmer, more pleasant months of the year.


Summer has windows of opportunity for selling your home but it’s important to understand that this is also a time when families will be preoccupied either with taking care of their children who are off from school, or away on holiday. That said, many people do have extra time in the summer due to taking time off work and may potentially fit viewing houses into their schedules.


Like Spring, Autumn is another traditionally great time to sell. Try to get your property up and ready – clean it, declutter it and stage it – before the summer ends. This way, you can get it on the market by late August ready to woo those fresh September buyers!


Winter is busy with preparations for Christmas, which means that after December 1st you may see buyer activity slowing down. Come January though, the market usually picks up again ready for that all important leap back into Spring!

Other Considerations When Putting Your Home on the Market 

It’s not only the season that can make a difference to the best time to put your home on the market. These other factors also play a part:

Planning Works Nearby 

If there are big road works or building works going on outside your property, you might want to wait until these are completed. Objectively, it should only improve the value of your home, so it may be worth holding off!

Conversely, you could also use planning works in progress to boost the value of your home whilst it’s on the market. For example, if new transport links are being built nearby this could attract more buyers to your property. Be aware of what is being done near you so that you know whether to wait or whether you can use it to boost value.

The Housing Market 

In some cases, the housing market will be booming, and the value of properties will be so high you will want to ensure you take advantage of this and get a sale as fast as you can. In this case, it is best to hire professionals to come in and deep clean and stage your home so you can sell it fast, whilst the market is hot.

The Economy 

A recession or political uncertainty is always going to have an impact when selling your home, but you do have other options whilst you wait for the ideal time to put your house on the market. If your mortgage is entirely paid up, you could rent your property out until the best time to sell. This way you can also benefit from an income.  If you want to rent out your home but still have a mortgage, then you will need to speak with your lender to get the necessary permissions and switch to a buy to let mortgage.

Be Prepared in Advance No Matter What 

Of course, you want to sell, above all else, so whatever the season, it’s important to be ready. This means having your finances in order, getting your home in order, decorating and making minor improvements and repairs, and ensuring your property looks its absolute best and so attracts views. A house that is ready to be sold is far more attractive to buyers than one that is not!

If you are considering putting your house in Chelmsford on the market, talk to us at Essex Homes And Lettings on 01245398466 for the best possible advice.

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Chancellor considers six-week delay to stamp duty deadline


Chancellor Rishi Sunak is weighing up extending the stamp duty holiday by six weeks to prevent up to 100,000 homebuyers from being caught in a “completion trap”, according to The Telegraph.

The 10-month tax relief is due to end on 31 March, but the Treasury is understood to recognise that a jump in transactions in the second half of last year and extended completion times due to pandemic restrictions has led to a backlog of half-completed purchases.

Stamp duty transactions in the last quarter of last year were 43 per cent higher than in the third quarter of 2020, according to HMRC data released this month.

Mortgage approvals jumped more than two-and-a-half times in the second half of last year, with a rise in demand that has continued into 2021 seeing house purchases taking over three months to conclude.

It currently takes 134 days to complete a property purchase in the UK, said online mortgage broker Trussle last month.

Repeated lockdowns have led to lengthy delays for conveyancing solicitors, mortgage lenders and search departments.

“It is certainly the case that a lot of people would be caught in the completion trap if the holiday were to end when it is due to,” an unnamed source told the newspaper.

But the chancellor is understood to be against a six-month delay that some groups the mortgage industry have called for, as this would have a “gratuitous” impact on tax receipts.

The stamp duty holiday has so far cost the Treasury £3.8bn, says the newspaper.

The chancellor will unveil his Budget on 3 March, and has pledged to “set out the next phase of the plan to tackle the virus and protect jobs”.

Earlier this month, Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey forecast that the UK economy is expected to shrink 4.2 per cent in the first three months of the year, amid tighter lockdown restrictions to slow the spread of the virus.

But the governor expects a rebound this spring as consumer confidence returns, as a result of the country’s rapid Covid-19 vaccination programme.

Trussle head of mortgages Miles Robinson says the chancellor mulling plans to extend the stamp duty holiday “offers a glimmer of hope to buyers racing to beat the current deadline”. But calls for a longer delay.

Robinson adds: “The surge in demand has triggered long delays in the processing of transactions. It currently takes 134 days to complete on a property in the UK and it’s been reported that one in five buyers are facing more than a six-month wait for completion. Therefore, a potential six-week extension could prove invaluable to the estimated 100,000 property purchases currently underway.”

Robinson says: However, there will be many who are yet to begin their home ownership journey but still hoping to benefit from the tax relief. For these people, the proposed extension won’t be long enough. Whilst their mortgages might be approved before the deadline, the current wait time for other necessary processes, such as surveys, valuations and local searches are likely to take longer.”

He adds: “As the wider economy continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, we’d urge the government to consider granting a longer extension or adopting a tapered approach to ending the stamp duty holiday.”

Almost 70 per cent of homebuyers want to see the stamp duty holiday extended while just under half worry they will miss the current deadline, according to a survey by high-net-worth mortgage broker Enness Global last month.

Original Article from Mortgage Strategy 15/02/2021