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FAQs

Stamp Duty

Stamp duty is a government tax charged to the buyer only. Unless an exemption applies such as first time buyer, then they are liable to pay the full stamp duty rate.
 
Ask your lawyer to calculate the Stamp duty tax you need to pay. They should be able to work this out when they send you their quote estimate. It is based on your purchase price. This is a tax form and if you instruct your solicitor to complete this for you then they will have the expertise to do this.
 
Stamp duty varies depending on the value of the property and the capacity of the buyer. Properties under a certain value are stamp duty exempt, and others over a million pounds pay at the highest rate. If you own more than one property, then you will be liable to pay additional rate stamp duty tax.
 
If you have instructed your lawyer to complete your stamp duty form and make payment, stamp duty becomes payable on completion. If you are completing your own stamp duty form as buyer, you will need to make payment prior to completion and obtain the stamp duty office SDLT5 certificate of payment for your solicitor to complete and submit your AP1 Land Registry as the new owner within the priority period, failing which you risk being attacked by a fraudulent buyer taking illegal ownership.
 
How much do I pay to instruct my lawyer to complete my stamp duty tax form?
It depends on your lawyer. The charge will be contained in their terms. If not, you must ask them. The benefit of them doing this for you is firstly, they take the time to do this and not you (it has some 70 questions listed); secondly, there are penalty implications if it is incorrectly completed (so by paying your solicitor to do this for you, they, and not you, face the government penalty if they get it wrong).

 

Freehold

This describes how the land is owned. Land is either freehold (usually houses) or leasehold (usually flats).

Leasehold

Temporary ownership of the property. When the lease expires, ownership of the property belongs to the freeholder. This normally applies to flats.

 

Conveyance - HMLR Land Registry

This is a document relating to the property that may have rights or benefits affecting the property.

Deposit - Can it be less than 10%?

Sometimes the buyer will not always be able to provide a full 10% deposit, this may be because they are obtaining a 95% mortgage, or they are receiving less money coming up the chain. What this means for the seller is that on exchange the reduced 10% deposit, sometimes 5% if normal, will be paid. However, the contract provides that if anything goes wrong and the buyers cannot complete, then after a process is followed, the seller keeps the buyer’s 10% deposit. If the buyer doesn’t put the 10% deposit down, then the seller will have to pursue a claim, potentially via a litigation lawyer. The chance of a failed completion is slim, but this is still a risk for you to be aware of.

Exchange - How long does it take?

This varies in the UK depending on your chosen lawyer, on the time of year (as some periods are busier than others) and if you have a chain for example. This can range from 3 to 4 months. Completion can take up to 5 months from the start of you instructing your lawyer. Speak to your lawyer before you instruct them. Our own average is within 2 months.

Mortgage Offer & Deed

The mortgage offer contains the amount you are being offered, as well as the terms of this offer.