The stamp duty holiday deadline ended on 30 June but buyers have until 30 September to take advantage of the lower stamp duty holiday threshold of £250,000. Landlords will be able to save up to £2,500 although they still have to pay the 3% stamp duty surcharge for owning more than one property.
First Time Buyers now pay less or no tax if all purchasers are First Time Buyers and the purchase price of the property is £500,000 or less.
Since 1st July 2021, the current Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) threshold has gone down to £250,000. Although the bigger savings before this date have now been reduced, there is still an opportunity to save up to £2,500 on SDLT before it returns to its regular threshold rate of £125,000 from 1st October 2021.
What has gone unnoticed by most commentators is the change that affects First Time Buyers, which also came into effect from 1st July. Since that date, First Time Buyers now pay less or no tax if all purchasers are First Time Buyers and the purchase price of the property is £500,000 or less.
First Time Buyers are exempt from SDLT for the first £300,000, but since 1st July, they now pay a reduced rate of 5% on purchase prices above £300,000 and up to, and including, £500,000. So, if you’re a First Time Buyer, but were unfortunate to miss out on the 30th June deadline, there are still longer-term savings to be made, as these will continue for First Time Buyers after the SDLT returns to its £125,000 threshold from 1st October 2021 for all other buyers.
“The mortgage market is in continuous move and it can affect you as well. ”
If you’re one of those shopping for a house soon and you are considering a mortgage, you should carefully analyse a couple of factors before making a decision. The location, the time you are going to spend in your new home (if it is temporary or, hopefully, for the rest of your life), the purpose of the investment (for your own living or if it is a buy to let), and other life circumstances should be considered when choosing a type of mortgage.
However, even with all these cleared up, there is still one more factor that might influence your decision. The mortgage market is in continuous move and it can affect you as well.
The analysis after the first quarter of 2017 proves that some types of mortgages are increasing, while other products for loans are remaining unchanged. For example, the number of contracted mortgages rose in the first three months. These are bank products offered for self-employed people, people with complex incomes or other underserved segments of the buyers’ market. Looking closely upon the offer of bank products, you may see that banks will speculate this moment and will come with new and improved offers. You will just have to pick the most advantageous for you.
The mortgage market also seems to be improving since the number of completed applications for first time buyers is rising. 67% of first time mortgage applications were completed in the first quarter of 2017, up substantially from 48% in the same period of 2016. Intermediaries have eased up the applications because of the struggle to obtain a mortgage that was intensely publicised last year.
And one of the most important news that the mortgage market received at the beginning of this month is that the lending rates reached their lowest point. The figures from the Bank of England showed that this year’s borrowers received the lowest mortgage rates ever.
These effects are sometimes connected and influence one another, but paying enough attention to the movements of the market might pay off eventually.
Buying a home for the first time is one of the biggest decisions you will make.
You will need to choose what mortgage company is best for you and what kind of deposit you will need to have. There are quite a few choices out there now though that can help you.
Here is a list of things you should look into:
- How much can you borrow?
Before you jump in and start looking for your home, check your credit and speak to a mortgage adviser to find out how much you may be able to borrow and if you can afford the monthly payments. Don’t forget to put some money aside for legal fees to. Always ask your lender if they cover mortgages above a commercial property as some lender may not.
- Decide what you’re looking for and where
Once you have either got a mortgage agreement in place or you know what you are able to borrow then you can start looking into what type of property you are looking for, how many bedrooms, is a garden important to you and how far is the transport. When looking at a area check what
- Start house hunting
When looking for a property the first step is to look on your local estate agent’s website. You may look at quite a few places before you find the right property for you. When you see a property that you want to view, look around for any signs of dump, is the building structure sound, how old is the roof, how much storage space.
A study described as the biggest of its type seeks to explain why vendors choose – or avoid – online agents.
The Home Moving Trends survey undertaken by Property Academy surveyed 14,530 vendors.
Those sellers who chose to use a traditional agent were asked whether they had considered an online alternative. Precisely 30 per cent considered using an onliner but eventually decided against; the other 70 per cent said they didn’t even consider using an onliner.
When asked for the primary reason why they went on to choose a traditional agent, 38 per cent said because the local knowledge was important; 35 per cent because they could have face-to-face meetings; 17 per cent because of the importance of a local presence in the shape of a High Street office; and 10 per cent because it was simply more convenient.
Of those who went on to use an online operator, 74 per cent were persuaded primarily by cheaper fees; 11 per cent had a personal recommendation; nine per cent went online because those agents were “more innovative” and six per cent chose the option because online agencies were easier to deal with.
Around one third of sellers did not visit their selling agent’s office at any point in the process.
In other aspects of the survey, 85 per cent of respondents said Brexit “has not impacted my decision to move” although two per cent decided not to move because of the decision and seven per cent felt property prices had decreased in their area as a result of the referendum vote.
Movers are also showing increasing confidence in new technologies such as Virtual Reality – 60 per cent said they would consider viewing online prior to a physical viewing in the future.
KeyAGENT has produced an infographic of the results below.
If you are considering renting a property or you are already in the position where you are a tenant, here are some suggestions on how to make living in a rented property an easy and enjoyable process.
Get Tenants insurance. Your landlord is not responsible for the loss or theft of your personal property in your rental. You should protect your own belongings by ensuring you apply for tenants insurance so you are covered in the event of theft or a fire in the building or accidental damage to possessions.
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Treat the property as if it’s your own. Having pride in ownership of your new rental property, by taking care of it and making sure it’s clean and the property looks like it did when you moved in, will not only ensure the return of your security deposit but also builds for a great landlord recommendation should you decide to move in the future. Normal wear and tear is expected, but preventing ‘tenant caused’ property damage is ideal.
The latest research from Simple Landlords Insurance has revealed that women now account for two in five landlords and use property to top up their monthly income.
Data analysis of tens of thousands of landlords revealed than 40% of landlords are women. By comparison, only 17% of SME owners are women, demonstrating how property is moving towards equality at a faster pace than other industries.
A poll of over 400 landlords showed how male and female investors have different goals for their investments. 63% of female landlords said using rent for monthly income was their long-term business goal, as opposed to long term capital growth, compared with 53% of men.
The findings, together with real life examples and practical advice for female landlords from the Female Property Alliance, are published in the Women in Property Report 2017 www.simplelandlordsinsurance.com/women-in-property-report
It charts how women have successfully grown from accidental landlords to full time portfolio investors and used property investment to gain financial independence.
They include the story of Bindar Dosanjh, who built a multi-million pound portfolio after she became a single mother and she had to rent rooms to pay the bills and survive.
Bindar Dosanjh, a multiple award-winning landlord, property mentor and founder of the Female Property Alliance, said: “For me, investing in property was about having the freedom to make choices about my life.
“Women cannot take our health, our relationships, our careers, or our families for granted. I have made plenty of mistakes along the way but have been able to fall back on property income when I lost my job in the 2008 recession and again when I became seriously ill and was unable to work. I say to my students you don’t have to be passionate about property but you need to be passionate about your life.”
The research also found that women are more likely than men to have become accidental landlords. Some 48% of female landlords are deliberate buy-to-let investors, compared to 61% of men. Women were more likely to have become landlords after moving in with a partner and renting out their own property or through purchasing a property for a family member to live in, such as a child attending university.
For accidental landlords, this raises the importance of staying up to date with legislation, tax changes, inspections and ensuring rental properties are protected with specific landlord insurance rather than homeowners buildings insurance.
Female landlords are also likely to provide rented accommodation to a more diverse range of tenants than men. Some 35% said they would rent to housing benefit recipients, compared with 25% of men. Women were also more open to renting to pensioners, students and single employed tenants.
Landlords renting to different types of tenants may wish to consider additional insurance products such as for malicious damage by tenants, rent guarantee and legal support.
Alexandra Huntley, Simple Landlords Insurance Head of Operations, says: “As recently as 1970 women could be refused a mortgage without a male guarantor. But buying, selling, renovating, and renting property is no longer just for the boys. Those stereotypes are firmly consigned to history. Women have been steadily gaining ground over the last 50 years and are increasingly gaining financial independence through property investment.”
Bindar added: “Being a good communicator, a good negotiator and being good at managing people are key attributes for any landlord. They are also things women can be great at – but don’t always recognise as valuable and transferable skills. These are all skills that can be learnt.
I see many women who have ‘hidden’ skills, that can be applied to property investment more easily than they think. For instance, women often fall into being the family organisers, and keeping alot of balls in the air – another vital ability if you’re going to run a successful portfolio.
It is very important that women surround themselves with the right advice, experts and protection so they can take control of their property, their money, and their futures with speed, safety and certainty.”
As if there isn’t enough stress involved in buying and selling a property, once the purchase is agreed it’s far from over.
Here is some top tips to ensure your move goes as stress-free as possible:
1. If you’re renting, you’re in a strong position. Keep the rental property for an overlapping week (or as long as you need/can afford) to make the process deliciously smooth.
2. There’s an idea that moving on a Friday is a good idea, but we think Tuesday is the best day, especially if you have young children. Take Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off work, giving you Saturday, Sunday and Monday to get ready; move on Tuesday; then Wednesday to straighten things up while the children are at school. The weekend’s not far away for a final push. The good news is that removal firms generally charge less for a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday move.
3. Spend several months pre-move having your children’s friends to stay, so you can call in all sleepover favours over your moving period. Farm out children, pets, or any other member of your family who won’t be a positive asset to the process.
4. Don’t even think about packing the contents of your house yourself. Look at the removal costs as part of the big picture and get the pros to do as much as possible. (You will of course already have de-cluttered and dispensed with anything that, in the words of William Morris, ‘you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’).
5. If you find you are moving a box that hasn’t been opened since your last move – now is the time to get rid of it!
6. Use your pre-move time productively by obsessively labelling boxes with their contents AND which room the box should go into on arrival in its new home. Use as much colour coding, labelling, post-it noting and organisational brilliance as you can muster.
7. If you’re downsizing, build in as much time as possible between exchange and completion to give you adequate opportunity to dispense with the possessions you will no longer have space for.
8. Not all removal companies are the same (or charge the same). Personal recommendation is generally best, but social media is extremely helpful for finding the best suppliers of this kind of service. Get quotes from, and meet, three companies before you make a final choice.
9. It’s better to find a removal company that is local to your new home than to use one in your existing area. You should be able to advise them about local access and parking issues at your existing home, and they will have a good understanding of any problems in your new area.
10. If you’re moving out of London, bear in mind that London removal companies charge like angry rhinos as soon as they see a postcode outside the M25. And if you’re moving down the road, don’t be tempted to do it yourself – it’s no easier to move 300 metres than 300 miles, so grit your teeth and get over it!
11. Check and double check access. Several smaller vans are more flexible than one big one, but it will cost more. If you’re relying on on-road parking space for the removal van, speak nicely to your new neighbours before putting some cones out.
12. Take a picture of the metres at your old home as you leave the premises, and the new ones as you cross the threshold. That way, arguments with utility companies are easy to resolve.
Finally, stay calm, and try to see the funny side if things don’t go according to plan. The chances are you will be gaining anecdotal entertainment on which you will be able to dine out.”
‘Cheap’ insurance can quickly become expensive if something goes wrong. Always read the small print.
Specialist landlord insurance is not a legal requirement, but if you don’t have it, you could find yourself out of pocket if you are unfortunate enough to have your property occupied by squatters, vandalised or worse still damaged by fire or flood. If you rent out property and have purchased a standard homeowners buildings and contents insurance, you will not have cover for extended vacant periods greater than 30 days or if a tenant is injured on your property and claims against you. Tenants living in a property generally pose a greater risk than the owner living there, so it is vital to take out a specific landlord policy, shifting the risk to your insurer rather than taking on that risk yourself.
Having made the decision to purchase landlord insurance, what comes next?
It is extremely tempting to use a comparison site to get a speedy quotation and find the cheapest option available. This is obviously an easy way to search for a policy and it will give you a benchmark for price, but there is usually a reason for the quote being so cheap.
Dispelling the myth that cheaper is better
It is always advisable to choose a quality policy that offers extensive cover and peace of mind. The insurers behind NLA Property Insurance have been carefully vetted to ensure that the product, service and claims service is ‘best of class’ and provides the widest cover available at the most competitive prices for landlords and buy-to-let investors. Unlike comparison sites, there is help at hand to make sure that you understand the small print and purchase an insurance product that will work for you when you need it the most.
In the field of landlord insurance, the menu of ‘extras’ can be extensive. Some of the bigger, well-known providers may provide what appears to be a cheap quote at the outset, but once you start adding on the ‘optional extras’, additional premiums will apply – pushing up the overall cost of the insurance.
Take a big name like Direct Line: purchasing cover for malicious damage, or even theft by tenants/guests will increase your premium substantially, but it is covered as standard under the NLA Property Insurance’s Superior policy. If your rental property is deliberately trashed, then repairs could run into the thousands. You may have taken a deposit from the tenant but findings provided by mydeposits shows that even a deposit equivalent to six weeks rent is often not enough to cover the replacement costs.
A closer examination of Direct Line’s landlord insurance reveals there are several aspects of their policy which are either inferior to those offered by NLA Property Insurance, or not covered at all without additional premiums. For example, the NLA policy will insure an unoccupied property for 90 days compared with Direct Line’s 60 days. Our public liability cover will pay out up to £5M in the event of death of bodily injury, compared with Direct Line’s £2M – a large difference especially as liability claims have been known to cost several millions and increasing with the new compensation laws that have been recently introduced.
Whether you have a single property or a portfolio of properties, the Superior policy offering from NLA Property Insurance offers highly competitive premiums (including a 15% discount for NLA Full Members) and includes many ‘extras’ such as accidental damage, alternative accommodation or loss of rent as standard.
As a landlord, you will be looking to minimise risk and maximise peace of mind. Remember that home insurance isn’t designed for rental properties – you need specialist insurance for landlords. Choosing a cheap quote from so called big names may seem like a low risk option but don’t forget to check what is included in the price.
The number of million pound apartment sales in England and Wales has grown nearly threefold, up 196%, in the last decade, according to new research.
The rate of sales growth for apartments has far outpaced other prime market property types with sales of million pound terraces rising by 165%, followed by semi-detached properties up 154% and detached homes up 88%.
The research from Lloyds Private Banking also shows that apartments represented 22% of all million pound property sales in England and Wales in 2016 compared with 17% in 2006 and accounted for 26% of the increase of all million pound property sales between 2006 and 2016.
Unsurprisingly, the overwhelming majority of million pound plus apartments were in London with 96% of sales and the sale number in the capital has increased 193% from 973 in 2006 to 2,853 in 2016, representing 35% of all million pound property sales in Greater London in 2016.