Since the UK Government announced a stamp duty holiday for house purchases under £500k, buyers have been clamouring to save thousands by accelerating their plans.

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However, the number of buyers trying to take advantage of this tax break has left conveyancers unable to manage the volume of requests. Many solicitors have needed to start declining work that requires completion before the end of March 20201.

No extension yet

The property industry has started to lobby the government to extend the offer, but so far, the Government has resisted this call. Industry professionals have requested that either the deadline is extended or alternative measures are introduced. Understandably, property professionals are concerned that the market is going to plummet with an abrupt end to the holiday whilst it is still battling operational restrictions from Covid-19.

Councils are unable to meet the demand for local authority searches. Currently, it could take seven weeks to perform searches, which is a huge-six week increase on the pre-pandemic turnaround time.

Unfortunately, as things stand, a huge number of potential buyers will be unable to complete their purchase in time.

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Fast Conveyancing

One bright spot is that online conveyancing is managing to operate as usual. With better capacity to cope with sudden surges, fast conveyancing is proving to be a lifeline for buyers. These networks vastly outperform traditional processes on time and cost.

While they can’t guarantee a completion date, if you’re a buyer who wants to try to complete in time, this is your best option. In the event that there is no extension, there are also other things you can do to improve your chances.

It may sound obvious, but you need to find a property that you want to buy as soon as possible. If you can find one that is chain-free, perhaps a new build, this is a transaction that will likely move to completion much quicker.

Also, get your mortgage in principle in place before you start viewing properties. Start compiling any necessary information your conveyancer and mortgage lender will need, such as ID, employment and salary information, proof of current address, previous mortgage statements and utility bills.

Once you find a property and have an offer accepted, instruct a solicitor. From there, respond to queries quickly, keep chasing everyone involved and cross your fingers!