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Agent fears 'abandoned sales' if completions miss stamp duty deadline

An estate agent has spoken out about the threat of ‘abandoned sales’ if a completion bottleneck prevents purchases of properties going through before the April stamp duty surcharge deadline.

There have in recent weeks been numerous complaints about slow searches by conveyancers - worsened by increased buying of second homes and buy to let properties ahead of the surcharge - and mortgage approvals reached their highest levels for two years in January.

Now Ajay Jagota of the KIS agency says that “anecdotally the industry is full of stories of a substantial number of homes stalled in the pre-completion stage and even a shortage of solicitors available to carrying out conveyancing.”

He continues: “The real questions are whether or not buyers will persevere with the sales if their transactions are not completed when the tax changes come in. Will they take the hit, or will we see a spate of sales simply abandoned?”

  • jeremy clarke

    Or simply a raft of renegotiated offers as the date passes? I'm sure that most experienced agents could cope with that scenario but what about the online three and sixpence agents - do they have the staff, the skills and the time? Just a few extra hours and that cheap fee becomes a negative fee to them!

  • icon

    I have a slow conveyancing confirm currently asking our selling client to meet the extra stamp duty if they cannot make 1 April. Our response is quite blunt.

    This 1st April deadline is really showing three types of conveyancers:

    1. those who are rushing and making unknown mistakes to meet the deadline
    2. those who cannot make it due to slow conveyancing
    3. those who can make it, as usual, due to expert conveyancing

    Buyers need to look to their own conveyancer to pay the extra stamp duty if they have been unreasonably slow.

    Post 1st April: Agents should not answer 'how much will the stamp duty be?' questions as even conveyancers are misapplying the new rules. The new rules have a lot of fine print.


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