The UK property market is currently experiencing some challenging yet exciting times as property professionals try to catch up with back-logs and delays caused by covid-19 whilst also pleasing millions of homebuyers eager to move house before the Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday comes to an end!


Our Property Law Team take time to explain the events of this year so far and share some tips on how to make sure your transaction runs as smoothly as possible given the tough circumstances.


Whilst we do not hold a crystal ball to see what the next few months have in store, we do know some proven tasks that can help us work with you and progress as quickly as possible.


What Has Happened This Year?


2020 will go down in history as a year that everyone remembers for different reasons. For property lawyers, mortgage brokers, lenders, and estate agents they are not likely to forget this period of uncertainty and high demand for some time.


In April, the property market was forced to almost shut down as the UK went into national lockdown causing a back-log of transactions to spill into the late summer and autumn. Fraught home movers were halted mid-packing, and some were left in limbo unable to move into their properties. Sellers were frustrated, unable to allow would-be buyers view their homes and builders of new developments were forced to down tools, delaying transactions in the new build property sector.


All these delays caused a ripple effect, meaning that property professionals would have a much busier Summer – which was fine – those working in this sector are used to a fast-pace and fluctuating working habits. But then another curveball hit.


Soon followed the generous government initiative of a Stamp Duty Land Tax concession. A Holiday on all stamp duty land tax for properties under £500,000 until 31 March 2021 which would boost the economy. A shiny bonus for those already near completion, and a welcome relief for those considering a move or trying to get onto the property ladder for the first time.


Estate agents have been flooded with volumes of properties being listed for sale and the lightning speed in which they are being snapped up by eager buyers looking to take advantage of the limited time offer. This demand also meant that some sellers or owners of multiple properties could bump up their house prices in some desirable areas to ‘make hay while the sun shines’.


Whilst there are definitely some positives to come out of the initiative, it does come with potential setbacks. There is currently a growing waiting list for local authority searches, mortgage valuations are taking longer than usual, and the pure volume of enquiries and transactions makes the whole process clunkier and slower to complete. Increased requirements from lenders, both before and after offer, are also currently contributing to delays.


Our Word of Warning


The Property Law Team take pride in offering a bespoke and high-quality service and feel that it is our professional duty as trusted conveyancers to warn buyers and sellers of the risks of delays that are currently out of our control. If you are working with a tight budget it is advisable to consider your affordability and ‘Plan B’ should the stamp duty deadline be missed.


Our diligent team will do everything in their power to push transactions through, especially as we approach the 31 March 2021 deadline when the tax break is due to end. It would be a shame for homebuyers to miss out on the benefits and we urge individuals to get organised as early as possible.

How Can You Prepare Now to Improve Your Chances of a Prompt Completion?


There are tasks that can be performed by you at an early stage which will assist in progressing transactions and we encourage the following:

  • Provide us with as much information as possible in advance
  • Get together documents, any certificates, guarantees, planning permissions for your property and drop them into our office in advance so that these can be considered
  • Obtain a survey promptly as this will establish the condition, identify defects and where possible highlight other matters which may be of interest and any alterations or additions that would be expected to have local authority or other consents.
  • Obtain a decision in principal from your mortgage provider prior to making an offer – contact us should you require assistance in this regard.
  • Instruct solicitors straightaway – you should not wait to find a property to buy or put your property on the market
  • Provide ID to us as soon as possible so that checks can get underway
  • Complete all paperwork/documents/forms in advance
  • Answer any queries promptly
  • Keep a close eye on your emails and respond quickly
  • Provide us with your deeds, notices, rent, Lease, service charge information
  • Knowing that a transaction needs a certificate for fire safety for cladding/balconies (EWS1) at the earliest stage can reduce wasted costs
  • Ascertain with us the cost and timing of obtaining leasehold or managed freehold information
  • Let us review your documents/information in advance and let you know about any issues that can be resolved at an early stage to reduce the chances of delay or fall through

How to Get a Quote Faster


When making an enquiry with us detail as much information as possible to help us provide you with an accurate estimate, without having to go back and forth for information. We will need to know:

  • Property prices for the sale, purchase, or both
  • Addresses of the properties involved
  • Whether the properties are Freehold or Leasehold
  • Whether there is a mortgage involved
  • Who a new mortgage lender is
  • How many people are purchasing or selling
  • Whether you are using any Help to Buy Schemes or Government ISAs
  • Whether you are using a gifted deposit or funding the purchase yourself
  • Your contact details including contact telephone numbers, email addresses, correspondence address

Ideally, provide all the above information in writing via an email (enquiries@lambbrooks.com) or website enquiry (Contact Form) so that it can be picked up as quickly as possible, an estimate can be provided to you and the matter may progress.


Your Property, Our Priority


We understand all too well how stressful buying and or selling property can be – without the added pressure of a global pandemic and economic crisis at the same time!


The deadline for the end of the Stamp Duty Land Tax relief seems like some time away now, but we all appreciate how fast the year has passed already and with uncertainty still surrounding the UK in terms of tighter restrictions or localised lockdowns, it pays to be one step ahead wherever possible.


Contact us immediately with your proposed property transaction so that we can take the steps required to make things happen for you. Please do not leave it until later down the line as we would not want you to miss out.


Speak to our dedicated Property Law Team on 01256 844888, email enquiries@lambbrooks.com or ask our Live Chat assistant to kindly take your information in order to receive an estimate and move forward with your transaction.


Other Articles You May Be Interested in Reading:

Ready to Take the Next Step and Buy a Home Together?

How to Sell Your Home: Attracting a Buyer

Guide to Viewing a Property

Stamp Duty Land Tax Holiday to Boost Property Transactions


The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.  The law may have changed since this article was published.   Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.