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Market Deadline day 26th September

If you want to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday, you may think you have plenty of time to sell your property before the 31 March 2021 deadline. But when you factor in the average time it takes to complete on a property once an offer is accepted, 12 weeks, the March deadline doesn’t seem too far away. Even more so when you consider that figure doesn’t include time for your own property search or any of the common hurdles along the way.

When do I need to market my property?

By using Land Registry and NAEA Propertymark Housing Market Report data, we have calculated the date you need to have your property on the market to realistically sell it in time for 31 March:

Why this date?

Selling a property is a complicated process, with several stages and multiple people involved to get through the whole process to completion.

According to data from ViewMyChain.com, receiving an offer once the property is on the market can take around ten weeks, your buyer arranging a solicitor can take well over a month and arranging their mortgage can take up to six weeks, and that’s just a few of the tasks the buyer has to tick off. The solicitors, surveyors, and estate agent will also all have their own tasks to complete before the job is done. When all combined, the average time it takes to sell a property from going on the market to completion is six months.

With this in mind, you should give yourself plenty of time to sell your property so that you have the best possible chance to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday. By getting your property on the market by 26 September, you will do just that.

What is the Stamp Duty Holiday?

When you buy a property, you normally have to pay Stamp Duty Land Transaction Tax on all properties over £125,000, or £300,000 for first-time buyers.

On 8 July 2020, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a temporary stamp duty holiday that cut the rate of stamp duty to zero per cent for all properties £500,000 or under until 31 March 2021.

For example, if you are purchasing a property that is £400,000 as the main residence, before the stamp duty holiday you would have paid £10,000, now you pay £0.

There has also been a cut for buyers of additional properties, for example, buy-to-let investors. The new rate for additional properties starts at three per cent up to £500,000, which, using the same example of a £400,000 property, would save the buyer £10,000 in stamp duty.

For the full details on all the new rates, visit our Stamp Duty Land Transaction Tax guide.


Record levels of surveyors are reporting house price increases as enquires, instructions and agreed sales continue to rise amid the Stamp Duty holiday, RICS has revealed.

The latest RICS Residential Market Survey shows 44% of respondents reported an increase rather than a decrease in prices last month, the strongest reading since 2016.

This was buoyed by a net balance of 61% reporting a boost in sales agreed, while buyer enquires and instructions are also increasing

Increasing numbers of surveyors are expecting more activity in the next three months, with 61% of respondents expecting a rise rather than a fall.

The majority, 78% of respondents, said properties listed below the current Stamp Duty threshold of £500,000 are selling for at least level with asking prices, up from 63% in January.

A third of respondents said they are seeing sales prices come at a below-asking price for properties worth between £500,000 and £1m.

For properties listed at more than £1m, 51% of contributors noted sales prices below asking.

The strong level of sales is also keeping the amount of stock on agency books close to its record low of 42 properties on average, RICS said.

However, surveyors are more uncertain about the next 12 months. A net balance of 17% expects a reduction in sales over the next year, with anecdotal evidence suggesting concerns over the broader economic climate.

Simon Rubinsohn, the chief economist for RICS, said: “The latest RICS survey provides firm evidence of a strong uplift in activity in the housing market which should help support the wider economy gain traction over the coming months.

“More of a concern is the pick-up in prices which could intensify issues around affordability in some parts of the country. Disaggregated data shows demand generally to run ahead of supply.

“Meanwhile the results provide a further pointer to more substantive changes taking place in household behaviour in the wake of the pandemic. Increased demand for properties with garden and near green spaces has if anything increased since we tested the water in May.”

Commenting on the report, Marc von Grundherr, director at Benham and Reeves, said: “The UK housing market continues to gather pace with the momentum of a runaway freight train, and the fuel of a Stamp Duty reprieve is not only enticing buyers to act, but it’s causing homes below the £500,000 threshold to sell for a very good price.

“This is a stark contrast to the large discounts sellers were forced to offer during the protracted period of political uncertainty caused by Brexit, suggesting that the current upward trend of positive price growth will remain for the remainder of the year.

“Although London may take a while longer to build the momentum seen in other areas of the UK, house price growth in the capital tends to accelerate at a far quicker pace once the pendulum starts to swing into positive territory.”

 Marc Shoffman the Negotiator


Purplebricks co-founder Michael Bruce is looking to raise tens of millions of pounds from investors for his new business, Booomin.

Sky News reported over the weekend that the 47-year-old, who is expected to launch the venture next month with brother Kenny and David Shepherd – who is another Purplebricks ‘original’ – has been in talks with potential institutional investors.

It is also claimed that Bruce has received significant investor interest in backing the venture, which is not surprising given the extraordinary wealth that Purplebricks created for its early investors.

Sky News also reports openly for the first time that Boomin is to be a direct rival to Rightmove, Zoopla, and OnTheMarket, but offers a wider range of estate agency and consumer tools.

The money will be needed. As well as significant advertising costs, taking on £5.3 billion Rightmove and £2.2 billion Zoopla will not be cheap.

Also, Boomin already has over 100 staff including many senior colleagues from Bruce’s Purplebricks days, and some 60 engineers and tech specialists.

The most significant industry big-hitter to have joined the firm so far is Gary Barker, former CEO of Reapit, who is to lead the business.

Boomin remains tight-lipped about what the business will really look like, having only revealed that it aims to ‘transform the property market for everyone and promises to be the most agent and customer-centric solution ever created, putting agents at the forefront of determining the future rather than needing to react to it’.”

Nigel Lewis @ The Negotiator


Despite hopes your home would sell quickly, is it a few months down the line and still languishing on the market? We take a look at the common reasons for homes not selling – and how to fix them to get that all important sale

Selling a home can be tricky at the best of times, and despite the general consensus that a lack of housing supply is the main cause of today’s housing crisis, it doesn’t necessarily mean all houses sell easily. If you have had problems finding a buyer for your house then take time to consider the following factors and their possible remedies.

Your home lacks kerb appeal

Buyers make up their minds about a house within minutes and if the outside of your home isn’t looking its best you could be losing out on potential buyers. Try to look at your property from the point of view of a prospective buyer – everyone wants a home they can be proud of.

First impressions are so important so make sure that the garden is tidy, wheelie-bins are in a side passage if possible, or somewhere where they are not jarringly obvious, and make the effort to clean doors and windows.

According to our 2019 Annual HomeOwners Survey, more than 68% of homeowners say kerb appeal was important in their choice of home. The most important factors were windows being in good condition, a well-maintained roof, and a tidy front garden and driveway/path.

The property is too cluttered and tired

Decluttering isn’t just about hiding away your nic-nacs and clearing surfaces – though that is important. If the garden is stacked full of old children's toys, rusty trampolines and rotting playhouses, or the spare room is crammed high with old furniture and that old running machine you never use, it’s time to clear them out. Your council may be able to clear things for free.

Make sure your home is clean, tidy – and ideally pet and childfree. We know children and pets are usually something you want to showcase but they can be off-putting for potential buyers trying to picture themselves living in your home. Try to minimise the noise and space they take up by confining them to one area – it’s what TV rooms and gardens were made for!

The photos don’t do it justice

Most buyers will start their property search online so the first glimpse they’ll get of your home will be via photos. Given the wealth of choice offered by most property websites, it is easy for people to pass over pictures that look unattractive or don’t have the ‘wow’ factor. Some estate agents use professional photographers while others have been taking photos so long they know what items of furniture to shift and when the wide-angle lens is needed. But some agents will be better than others. If your photos don’t come up to scratch you shouldn’t accept them. You are after all paying the agent to provide these as part of their marketing services. Ask to approve any pictures before they are posted online.

The asking price is wrong

Getting the price of a property right can make all the difference to the prospects of a sale. The best way to ensure you have the asking price right is by combining online research with advice from at least three estate agents. Bear in mind that some agents will overestimate the initial value of a property as a means of incentivising prospective clients whilst other agents may price your house low for a quick sale so they can earn their commission quickly. It’s important to find the right agent.

The estate agent isn’t doing a good job

Many homeowners end up feeling that their estate agent is not doing enough to sell their home. If you believe that to be the case then make sure you have told your agent that. Ask what else they could be doing to market your property. It’s important to have regular conversations. They should be in touch with feedback on viewings and progress. If not, get on to them. It’s important that they reassure you that they are doing all they can to actively market your property.

If you need more reassurance it may also be worth doing some investigative work. Try asking a friend or family member to pose as a prospective buyer in order to gauge the level of service that they receive and to confirm that the person that manages the viewings is knowledgeable and competent.

It’s important to be open with your estate agent about your expectations. They should be in touch with feedback on viewings and progress. If they’re not, get on to them.

If you aren’t being listened to or have lost faith, give notice to terminate your estate agent contracts and move to another estate agent.

What are my options if my house isn’t selling.

  •  Contact us for further information 01285 239486 

How long is too long when selling a house?

If you were hoping your property would be snapped up almost as soon as it hit the market anything more than a few days may seem too long to you! But according to the experts two months is about as long as you should wait before considering lowering the price or switching agent.


Annual house price growth recovered to 1.5% in July, according to the latest figures from Nationwide.

Prices were up 1.7% month-on-month, after taking account of seasonal factors, reversing June’s fall of 1.6%.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, house prices in July were 1.6% lower than in April.

The nation’s largest building society says it believes the stamp duty holiday is likely to provide further support in the near term.

Commenting on the figures, Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s Chief Economist, said: “The bounceback in prices reflects the unexpectedly rapid recovery in housing market activity since the easing of lockdown restrictions.


“The rebound in activity reflects a number of factors. Pent-up demand is coming through, where decisions are taken to move before lockdown is progressing.

“Behavioural shifts may be boosting activity, as people reassess their housing needs and preferences as a result of life in lockdown. Our own research, conducted in May (link), indicated that around 15% of people surveyed were considering moving as a result of life in lockdown.

“Moreover, social distancing does not appear to be having as much of a chilling effect as we might have feared, at least at this stage.”

Mr. Gardener said the trends looked set to continue in the near term, further boosted by the stamp duty holiday.

But he added: “There is a risk this proves to be something of a false dawn. Most forecasters expect labour market conditions to weaken significantly in the quarters ahead as a result of the aftereffects of the pandemic and as government support schemes wind down. If this comes to pass, it would likely dampen housing activity once again in the quarters ahead.”


Industry guru Anthony Codling of property portal winding was cautious about the results.

“The day after Lloyds Bank, the UK’s largest lender cut its house price forecasts and raises them for unemployment, Nationwide reports that house prices rose in July by 1.7%,” he said.

“It’s too early to tell if the stamp duty holiday may be pushing up prices, but it may well be a factor, and should the UK experience a second wave of COVID this ‘bounce’ may be short-lived.”

Sam Hunter, chief operating officer of Homesearch, said the Nationwide figures mirrored what the firm has been hearing from its network of agents across the country over the past few weeks – that the bounceback is in full swing, with many buyers and sellers motivated to move as a consequence of lockdown and spurred on by the stamp duty holiday.

However, he added: “My concern though, is that with mortgage affordability becoming ever-more stretched, and the potential of a downturn in the autumn, this summer rebound could be short-lived in terms of price growth.

“As a result, we’re recommending our agents to provide pragmatic counsel to their vendors around taking the opportunity of a busy market to price realistically and achieve a fast sale, rather than aiming to break the ceiling price of the road and have properties sitting on the books for months.

“We anticipate more stock coming to the market over August and September, as discretionary sellers are tempted to try their luck given the current levels of demand.”


Nationwide also looked at the effects of the stamp duty holiday in terms of the savings buyers will make.

The report says the temporary increase in the tax threshold in England and Northern Ireland to £500,000 should mean that around 90% of owner-occupier transactions in England will pay no stamp duty over the next nine months.

The Scottish government raised the threshold for its equivalent Land & Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) to £250,000, which means that 80% of home purchasers in Scotland will pay no LBTT.

First-time buyers were already exempt from SDLT on purchases up to £300,000, so the changes have a greater benefit to home movers.

There is also a significant skew in the beneficiaries towards wealthier households which are disproportionately in London and the South of England, where average house prices are significantly higher (see chart below). 

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