Stamp Duty Reforms

RMA_Logo RGBRMA Surveyors Ltd, Newbury, has been reading the latest on Stamp Duty.

As of today (4th December 2014), the Government has introduced Stamp Duty reforms on residential properties. Stating that ‘Stamp duty will be cut for 98% of people who pay it. If you’re buying a home for less than £937,500, you will pay less stamp duty, or the same’.

The change applies to you if you are buying a home in the UK for over £125,000.

Under the new rules, homebuyers will only pay the rate of tax on the part of the property price within each tax band. The following is given as an example:

Under the old rules, you would have paid tax at a single rate on the entire property price. Now you will only pay the rate of tax on the part of the property price within each tax band – like income tax. Under the old rules if you bought a house for £185,000, you would have had to pay 1% tax on the full amount – a total of £1,850. Under the new rules, for the same property you’ll pay nothing on the first £125,000 and 2% on the remaining £60,000. This works out as £1,200, a saving of £650.’

For further information, click to read the Government information sheet.

If you’re making a property purchase and require a Homebuyers Report or Building Survey, get in touch with RMA Surveyors Ltd for a quote.

What Type of Survey?

Terraced housingBuying a new property is something most people do once or twice in their lifetimes. It is therefore common not to know what type of property survey is best for you. There are two main types: a Homebuyers Report and a Building Survey.

To ensure peace of mind in receiving the most suitable report, RMA Surveyors Ltd will ask a few questions relating to the property, such as its age, type, location, size, outbuildings, cost, listed status etc. From this assessment, RMA Surveyors Ltd will provide a recommendation to proceed with either a Homebuyers Report or a Building Survey.

What’s the difference?
A Homebuyers Report is a cost effective method of reducing risk for the purchaser. The Report provides the potential purchaser with enough information to make an informed decision whether to proceed with the purchase. The report details all visible building elements both internally and externally, as well as services and the grounds. Homebuyers Reports are most suited to traditionally constructed inter and post war houses.

A Building Survey (previously called a Structural Survey) is a more detailed report. The surveyor will undertake a more thorough inspection of the premises. The Building Survey Report provides the potential purchaser with an in depth analysis of the property’s construction and any visible, potential or inherent building defects. The Building Survey costs more than the Homebuyer Report because it gives detailed information about the structure and fabric of the property and also informs about future maintenance and repair liability. Building Surveys are more tailored to older, more bespoke types of property including listed buildings and non-traditional types of construction.

Why get a Survey?
A survey will help you to make a reasoned and informed decision on whether to go ahead and purchase the property. A survey report from RMA Surveyors Ltd may even enable you to renegotiate the sale price of the property. The cost of the survey will pay for itself either as a tool for negotiation or by providing peace of mind that you’re making a sound investment.

For more information of what each report will provide, visit our Surveys page.

Knowledge is Power

Buying a houseIt’s one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make. So make sure you do your homework when looking at a potential property purchase.

The RICS has created the following checklist, so that you don’t fall into the trap of letting your heart rule your head:

Checklist for smart home buyers

1. Find a chartered surveyor to help. Your home is likely to be one of the most expensive purchases you ever make. You need to know everything you can about a property before you buy it. Find a local, trusted chartered surveyor who can help.

2. Don’t buy a house because you like the colour of the walls (or other similarly superficial details).

3. Accept that you will not like everything in the house. If by a stroke of luck you do, check which fixtures and fittings are going to be included in the sale. Otherwise it could end up looking very different on the day you collect the keys.

4. Don’t be taken in by someone else’s furniture. Consider instead how your own furniture will look in that setting and whether your lifestyle suits the property layout.

5. Beware of ‘home staging’ – many property sellers employ specialists to makeover a property to maximise the sale price. Don’t be seduced by ‘investment dressing’.

6. Couples buying together need to be honest with each other about their priorities. What do they each want from a property – a quiet neighbourhood or a bustling location? Close proximity to a park or your own back garden? Better to have the conversation now.

7. First impressions do count – but you should visit a property at least twice, preferably at different times of the day, to give you a better idea of what’s on offer. It may seem like a lovely, quiet, sleepy neighbourhood on Sunday morning but it could become a racetrack to work or a parking nightmare at 7.30am on Monday.

8. Do your homework! Make sure you understand the basics of the housing market. For instance, do you know the difference between freehold and leasehold? If not start looking into it.

9. Don’t just think about the cost of the property itself. Your moving cost checklist should include: solicitors fees, land registry fee, local authority searches, various mortgage lender fees, the cost of a survey and stamp duty. Then you need to add on moving expenses, building insurance and storage.

10. When you find a property which you want to make an offer on, have a survey carried out by a qualified chartered surveyor. Taking on a property without giving it a proper health check is a risky business which can result in a financial headache in the future. It is better to be armed with the facts about a property’s condition before you agree a sale price, than be saddled with a property with issues.

11. Don’t become emotionally attached to a property before the transaction is complete. As many as one in three house sales in the UK fall through. Once the papers are signed and the keys handed over, you can think of the place as your home sweet home.

Download the RICS Guide to Buying a Home for further information.