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Stamp Duty: Conveyancer tells agents how to beat deadline

Agents are being urged to push through their pipelines before the upcoming stamp duty deadlines.

The plea comes from Simply Conveyancing, which says that in addition to meeting customers' wishes, agents can earn thousands of pounds in additional revenue before the full stamp duty holiday ends on June 30. 

"Progressing pipelines should be agents' absolute focus at the moment as there is so much additional income available. Taking advantage of higher transaction levels now could help agents to underpin their finances for the remainder of the year and beyond" says Vicky Quinn-Campbell, sales and marketing director at Simply Conveyancing.


"Although lockdown restrictions are gradually easing, the landscape is still fragile so agents must have the right processes and options in place to give transactions the best possible chance of completing" she adds.

A Simultaneous Exchange and Completion - SIM - is when all parties in the chain agree a date for the exchange and completion to happen at the same time, although it is recommended that there is at least one or two weeks between both.

If SIMs are well-planned with all conveyancers in the chain, they can provide more certainty but also mean plans can be changed easily as there is no contract in place.

"Although a SIM means home movers don't have the benefit of an exchanged contract before the moving date, if for any reason any party in the chain cannot move on the planned date, they are not liable for costs or risking their deposit as no contract has been exchanged" Quinn-Campbell explains.

"There are risks as the lack of contract means parties could pull out at any time, putting pre-paid costs such as removals at risk. However, if a SIM is the right option for the chain, it can allow the transaction to complete more smoothly."

She adds that an Exchange on Notice means the completion is agreed with a notice period instead of a fixed date. This provides movers in a chain with the option to wait until all parties are able to complete by providing an agreed notice period such as seven days.

This approach allows conveyancers to insert a long stop date in which no costs are incurred if it is not met - for example, 'seven days notice, but no longer than June 30 2021'.

"An Exchange on Notice allows agents and conveyancers to set out clear timelines that everyone agrees with, while leaving flexibility to reissue contracts and change dates should circumstances change. This type of agreement is most useful for the longest chains” Quinn-Campbell adds.

Alongside the legal and practical steps agents need to have in place, she says working with the best conveyancers and prioritising communication can help to progress pipelines.

"It's important to keep clients calm while educating them about their options. Positivity is vital, although agents must manage client expectations - especially when it comes to timelines" says Quinn-Campbell.

She adds that it's beneficial for agents to work with Covid-secure conveyancers who have the innovative technology in place to help transactions progress more quickly.

"Solicitors that can act on both sides of the transaction can help deals to complete even more smoothly and quickly, while agents who provide all the information on the chain can improve their chances of earning additional revenue ahead of the stamp duty deadline" she concludes.

  • Matt Faizey

    There are no words to accurately convey my contempt.

    To suggest SIM is an 'ok' thing is gross. A lie. Moreover an exact demonstration of the lack of concern, care or empathy I have long accused conveyancers if.

    What a selfish, idiotic thing to promote.

    A family with four to six tonnes of furniture and personal effects are supposed to wake up one morning and not know if they have to move it all that day?

    The same family won't know where they're certainly sleeping that night?

    Do conveyancers think it's fair or right that these people have to arrange change of address, time of work, childcare, movers and packing, without knowing for certain they're moving?

    Do conveyancers think it's fair to ask an entire sector (house moving firms) to operate on no notice of cancellations just because they think this stupidity fits?

    How about the next time a conveyancer moves home they ask their moving company to only call them on the morning to advise if they're turning up or not?

    Would that be acceptable?
    How much stress would that cause?

    Multiply it by 10 for that family above.

    And that's only if the poor people don't get chipped/gazundered at 11am on the morning because their 'professional' conveyancer gave them stupid advice designed to cut the number of hours they spend on the file.

    Then, even if it does go 'ok'. Too frequently the family and their movers get shafted due to only getting keys 16:00. Ruining and making thoroughly miserable what should be a happy day.

    Yeah, great article.

    Daniel Hamilton-Charlton

    A SIM is pre-planned in advance and agreed by all parties in the chain. It does not come as a shock to anyone. It enables a move to happen sooner if exchange is unable to be achieved sooner for numerous reasons.
    As such a SIM is a way to beat a deadline. No one is saying it is perfect, but, if SDLT money is to be saved it can be an option.
    I don’t think the article is suggesting it is ideal.

    • N W
    • 19 April 2021 11:18 AM

    spot on Matt - Where we have had to have SIMS they have been a nightmare (unless buying a second home/investment or buying from overseas but cant move in anyway) as any roll over of the potential proposed dates (which in this market happens all the time due to struggling solicitors/conveyancers not getting their ducks in a row in time even when the date as Daniel Hamilton-Charlton puts it " being known in advance") causes huge distress to the families involved.

    Any conveyancer advising clients to do a SIM (unless 2nd home/investment or dont need to move into it on the same day) is ignorant of the reality on the ground, the logistical nightmare for those involved and not acting in their clients best interests!


    I'm quite sure not all conveyancers think like this! In fact I suspect the majority don't. Sims should be used as a last resort not the norm. It might work to generate more profits for a volume conveyancer but spare a thought for the clients who need to arrange removals etc and the stress of moving day not knowing if it will actually happen and irrecoverable costs if it doesn't.

  • Rob Hailstone

    A Simultaneous Exchange and Completion is when all parties in the chain agree a date for the exchange and completion to happen at the same time:

    “It is recommended that there is at least one or two weeks between both. There are risks as the lack of contract means parties could pull out at any time, putting pre-paid costs such as removals at risk.”

  • David Bennett

    We always used to say that estate agents and conveyancers, should by law, be required to move home, every 5 years! That way, they would fully appreciate the unbelievable stress of the process, not being in control and having to assume that everyone else in the chain, knew what was expected of them.

  • icon

    In all the comments above there seems to be one thing missing. The thought of what it is like for the consumers. As an estate agent going to a house that was due to exchange and complete on the same day just after it had fallen through was horrible. Everything was packed and ready to go. This can not be the right wat=y for the industry to go.

  • icon
    • N W
    • 19 April 2021 10:55 AM

    Many solicitors have continued to advise clients to exchange and complete on the same day and in reality (unless you are buying a second property to have as an investment or holiday home) this is just appalling advice in any market conditions (solicitors rarely think about the logistical nightmare that then goes with such advice as far as packing/removals etc are concerned).

    I contacted all of the solicitors in my area to ask each of them what their advice was going to be to their customers on this point. Those that clearly stated they would only advise simultaneous exchange and completion of contracts we no longer refer to and advise clients to avoid using at any opportunity.

  • Daniel Hamilton-Charlton

    No one needs to accept this as an option. I am sure it is not a dictate. If it is not what people want to do, don't do it. If people are willing to miss a deadline and take a financial hit, that is an option too. The market cannot have it's cake and eat it......unless there is a poll for yet another stay of execution of SDLT of course.
    On the one hand everyone is screaming at conveyancers for the stress caused by possibly having to pay thousands more after missing a deadline and this firm has highlighted an 'option', that can be available IF clients wish to use it, and everyone is up in arms about it.
    They also talk about 'exchange on notice' and highlight the implications and stress of both options.


    Well said Daniel, I'm all for conveyancers that are willing to try everything possible to get my deals through.

  • Matt Faizey

    I think you'll find the deals belong to the client. Not you.

    You get paid to facilitate. Not own.


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