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It seems your nose is the way to sell your house…and we don’t mean the clichéd freshly baked bread or ground coffee. Stinking shoes, unwashed bedding and those dreaded plug-in air fresheners are an absolute no-no if you want to encourage a buyer to part with their cash.



With immediate effect the new Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) threshold of £500,000 will apply and will run until 31 March 2021. This means any buyer purchasing a primary residential property between 8 July 2020 and 31 March 2021, up to the value of £500,000, will be exempt of paying Stamp Duty.

Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, says according to a release by the Government the exemption will apply to all primary residential property purchases, so regardless of whether the purchaser is a first-time buyer or someone who has owned a property before.

He adds that on purchases over the £500,000 threshold, buyers will pay a 5% SDLT on the portion from £500,001 to £925,000, 10% on the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million and 12% on any portion over £1.5 million.

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When it comes to purchasing a second home, McKenzie says that the Government has introduced higher additional rates with a 3% higher rate on top of the new revised standards. “So, what this means is that people purchasing a holiday home up to the threshold value of £500,000 will pay 3% SDLT.  Those buying a second home over the threshold with pay 8% on the portion from £500,001 to £925,000, 13% on the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million, and 15% on the remaining portion over £1.5 million,” McKenzie explains.

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He notes that on new leasehold sales and transfers, the nil rate band which applies to the net present value of any rents payable for residential property is also increased to £500,000 until the end of March next year. A SDLT of 1% will be charged on any net present value of any rent over the threshold.

McKenzie says that it is not just individuals that will benefit from the changes. “Companies purchasing residential property under the £500,000 threshold will also be exempt from the paying SDLT. In additional companies that buy residential property of any value that meet the relief criteria from the corporate 15% SDLT will also benefit from the change made.”

From 1 April 2021, the SDLT holiday will come to an end and the SDLT regulations will revert to what they were before these temporary changes were announced. “We will likely see a rush of activity before 31 March 2021, with those who have access to finance making the most of the opportunity the SDLT holiday provides,” McKenzie concludes.

Use our Stamp Duty Calculator to work out how much you will have to pay for the property you buy.

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Looking to find a new home under the threshold? View this selection of delightful properties under £500,000 or contact us today.

Spring is almost here!

Friday 20th March brings us the first day of spring 2020 and with the new season comes longer, brighter days after a cold and gloomy winter, prompting many people to start thinking about selling their home.

Statistics and many of our agents suggest the best time to sell your house is from mid-February until the end of June, with March being the best month of the year to make a quick sale. HMRC reported 5,120 more sales in January 2020, compared to last January. These statistics suggest a rise in property sales for this March, so prepare yourself with our home décor tips for this spring.

The upcoming season brings all sorts of home décor possibilities, from bright colour palettes, to florals, to simply the natural sunlight returning and brightening up your space. Here are some ideas for you to optimise the space in your home to add appeal to potential homebuyers:

A good old spring clean

A deep clean to help sell your property might be an obvious tip, but it’s an effective and affordable one that can be overlooked during the sales process. It is a classic tradition that involves cleaning your home from top to bottom, including in the little nooks and crannies that don’t get a frequent clean. Don’t forget the windows, mirrors and the hard-to-reach corners. A clean and clear home could make all the difference in a buyer’s mind.

As mentioned in our guide for viewing a house, it takes about eight seconds for a buyer to decide whether or not they want to purchase your home, so the first impression counts.

A fresh lick of paint

Now that the home is clean, you have the perfect opportunity to freshen up the space with a lick of paint. Whites and creams are great for a crisp and clean feel, while pops of colour can add personality with minimal effort required. You could also add a new lease of life to the garden fence, garden shed or front door.
Add fresh spring scents

Make sure the home doesn’t smell of fresh paint. The warmer (or at least milder) months are the perfect time to air out the house. Candles or air fresheners are great too! Remember, when hosting a property viewing, opt for milder, inoffensive scents to not overpower the space as not everyone has the same preferences.

Blooming lovely

Placing a vase of flowers in a room is an excellent way of bringing the outside in and adding fragrant floral scents and vibrant colour into the home. Seeing a bunch of beautiful flowers as you are viewing a home is sure to make you smile and associate the home positively with hand-picked spring flowers.

Speaking of spring flowers, don’t to forget about the garden!

After a long, cold winter, the garden probably needs some attention. The front of the house and garden are the first things a buyer will see, so you’ll want them to be greeted by a lawn and shrubs that are neatly trimmed and a well-maintained pathway taking you to the front door. Even if you just have a modest lawn, it will make all the difference to have it cared for and looking its best. A prospective buyer will want to be greeted by gleaming windows and doors with frames that have no cracked paint or dirt.

Adding flowers in hanging baskets, window boxes or in a flower bed outside the home can add value to your property with minimal effort or cost.

Light it up

As the natural light returns with slightly longer days in spring, your home will look and stay brighter. Consider adding layers of lighting to change the atmosphere of a space. Bulbs with a more yellow light will give a cosy feeling to the space. Overhead lights should be whiter to add an illusion of more daylight but avoid harsh florescent overhead lighting. Consider simple light shades that can be easily matched to different home décor styles.

Embrace the colours of spring with your interior design

The natural colours of spring are a great inspiration and patterns such as florals, geometric shapes or stripes are a great addition against a simple base colour to add some personality. Natural hues of green or sky blue, accompanied by bright pops of colour, such as pink, orange or yellow, can breathe life into the simplest of spaces. On a backdrop of crisp white, the natural colours of spring feel fresh, lively and exciting to the eye.

Add some homely touches

It’s all about balance. You want to avoid clutter in the house, whilst maintaining a lived-in aesthetic. You want the buyer to envision living in the space without being distracted by mismatched décor or clutter.

Accessorise with colourful or textured cushions, scented candles and simple artwork to tie your decor together, or a mirror to add an illusion of more space.

Check out our top tips for staging your home like a pro for more advice.

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If you’re looking to sell your property or would like more help with preparing your home to go to market, contact us.

Q:  I’m confused – what’s the difference between a solicitor and a conveyancer? I’m buying and selling, so which should I use?

Seeing as the legal process of buying and selling property is called conveyancing, it would make sense that it should be more appropriate to appoint a conveyancer, but there actually isn’t all that much difference between a Conveyancing Solicitor and a Licensed Conveyancer, in that they are both regulated professionals specialising in the conveyancing process.

The main point of difference is that solicitors are qualified to degree level and will have spent a total of seven to eight years training in a variety of legal fields. Once qualified, they can choose to specialise in a specific area of law, for example property law, or they can practice in a wider range of areas. Licensed Conveyancers, however, are specialised in the conveyancing process and will have undergone a series of rigorous examinations to obtain their conveyancing qualifications.

So, a Licensed Conveyancer provides legal services related solely to property or land transactions, whereas a Conveyancing Solicitor specialises in conveyancing and property law, but could offer advice on a broader range of law matters and would be a more suitable choice of there are related issues, such as probate or divorce. If there are no related legal matters, then both have all the necessary legal expertise to handle your move.

It is worth mentioning that Licensed Conveyancers can act on both sides of a transaction, representing both the buyer and the seller, whereas a Conveyancing Solicitor isn’t allowed – this is a controversial difference as a conflict of interests between parties is not uncommon so it is argued that one conveyancer cannot fairly represent both opposing sides.

One last point (one that makes no difference to you and I) is that they have different regulating bodies, both, however, with a similar Code of Conduct. Solicitors must be registered with the Law Society and are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), whereas Licensed Conveyancers are regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC).

So, if there are no other legal matters related to your transaction, I recommend asking friends and family for their recommendations. If you can, try to get a no sale-no fee, fixed price deal as very often property transactions aren’t simple and at least you’ll know what you’ll be paying, however much work is involved.

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