Despite strong sales since the end of the lockdown period, the time taking for them to complete has increased. Post lockdown obtaining a mortgage offer can take a lot longer than expected. Lenders "service levels" and timescales can vary greatly. In some instances, a mortgage application won't even be looked at by the lender for twenty-seven working days. If the bank's underwriters decide that they need more information, this can add another one to two weeks before it is looked at again. Solicitors and conveyancers are also dealing with a high number of transactions. When you factor in that many employees are still working from home, this can also add time to transactions. Because of these factors, transaction time scales have increased from an average of four to five months, pre-lockdown to five to six months post lockdown.


If you want to take advantage of the current stamp duty exemption, we offer the following advice.


  1. Before you view any properties, speak to a Financial Adviser and obtain an Agreement in Principle.
  2. When you have found a new home, and your offer has been accepted, apply for your mortgage immediately and check that your preferred lender's turnaround times will work with your timescales.
  3. Instruct a solicitor/conveyancer within a matter of days and advise them that you want to take advantage of the stamp duty exemption.
  4. Return all the paperwork that you receive from your solicitor/conveyancer in a timely fashion.
  5. Keep in contact with the Estate Agent who has sold the property; they are there to help you!
  6. Finally, do everything you can to find a home to buy in 2020.
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