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Coronavirus Information: We are here to help

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Residential Property - Coronavirus Update

Since May when the estate agents were given the all clear to open, the property market has gone from strength to strength, with house prices now at the highest rates we've seen in several years.

To help cope with the demand for conveyancing services, our property teams are now back up to full strength across all of our offices and we are currently recruiting for more.

Property transactions are currrently going through in the normal way, however, we are experiencing significant delays in the process as mortgage providers are taking longer to approve applications and also surveyors are booked up for weeks in advance.  All of these things are causing delays in the chains, so we are asking clients for their patience as we try to get everyone moved as soon as possible.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)  support measures will end 31st March 2021

July 2020 ends at midnight 31 March 2021. Currently the purchase price threshold above which SDLT is paid is £500,000. It will drop to £125,000 from 1 April 2021 (first-time buyer relief will apply below £500,000). There are no indications at present that the measure will be extended. We will continue to do our very best to complete your transaction prior to the deadline but must warn you of the possibility that this may not happen. The popularity of the SDLT holiday has extended the national average time from offer to completion considerably. Whilst we can play our part and aim for a quick turnaround, we simply cannot control the processing times for items such as necessary searches, surveys and mortgage offers and the turnaround of paperwork with other law firms; these service times are not controlled by us. Many transactions are not independent of themselves either and the speed of your transaction will be dictated by the rest of the chain. If for example, one link in the chain pulls out this could cause the whole chain to be delayed or collapse. Again we are not in control of this or similar issues arising. You should be aware that market data indicates that if you have agreed or do agree a deal in or after September 2020 then there is a high risk that you will pay SDLT.

Moving house during the second lockdown

The good news is that you can still move home during the national lockdown as long as the guidance is followed.  Estate agents and removals firms can continue to work and people looking to move home can continue to undertake viewings.

Please follow the national guidance on moving home safely which includes advice on social distancing and wearing a face covering. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

 

 

Please contact us if you have any questions.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if we are in a national lockdown and we have exchanged to move?

Unfortunately, in this situation the seller will not be able to give vacant possession, which will lead to completion delays and penalties. If this situation arises, we ask that clients be sensible and accommodating of the unprecedented situation.   If contracts have been exchanged then usually it would result in interest and compensation being paid to you, however if you are in a chain the same will apply to your buyers, so to keep the chain going it may be better just to accept the delay.   As a preventative measure, we can offer to exchange and completion on the same day which ensure that contracts are only exchanged if all parties in the chain are able to move on that day.  

Under normal circumstances, we would not recommend simultaneous exchange and completion as it does have its risks, since there is no guarantee, until the day itself that you will actually be moving.  This means that if you are paying deposits to removal companies or arranging for services to be disconnected when we have no legal assurance that you will move.    Please be aware that if you do instruct us to carry out a simultaneous exchange and completion this is done entirely at your own risk and Banner Jones Solicitors cannot be held responsible for any losses that you might incur if the transaction does not complete.

Will a surveyor/valuer attend the house I want to purchase or are they not carrying out surveys currently due to coronavirus?

Each company will be following their own policies and procedures as well as the government guidelines, which may result in a slower service or more precautions being put in place, or indeed surveys being cancelled.

What happens if the house I am buying has quarantined owners in it?

Unfortunately, in this situation the seller will not be able to give vacant possession, which will lead to completion delays.  As a preventative measure, as per question 1, we can offer to exchange contracts and complete on the same day, which ensures that contracts are only exchanged if all parties in the chain are able to move on that day, thus reducing the risk to all parties.  This can be more stressful so we ask that clients be sensible and accommodating of the situation.

What happens if there are disruption to banking services due to coronavirus?

If banks or mortgage lenders are unable to move funds around due to staffing shortages then this will disrupt your completion, however, be reassured that they will be doing everything they can to prevent this scenario.

An investor has pulled out causing our chain to collapse, what can we do?

The current market and national economy is so uncertain that people may choose to wait and indeed remove their risk by pulling out of the transaction.  Although there is no reason not to carry on as normal in terms of the legal process we have to consider slower transaction times or hesitant investors or buyers.

Will the search providers be able to carry out searches during the coronavirus measures?

The majority of the searches are automated through computer systems and will therefore not be affected, however, the local authority searches are done by visiting the council offices.  Please therefore expect lengthy delays on the return of those searches as some council offices are not allowing visitors.

Will removal companies be happy to enter properties during the coronavirus measures?

As things stand, it will be down to the individual companies who will have their own policies in place so the best thing is to contact our remover and discuss their policy with them.

Fast, safe, secure, online conveyancing

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We know how important time is to you, especially when moving house.

Our new Flying Start portal allows you to complete the initial part of the process online at your convenience.

You can agree your quote, sign the T&Cs, complete a selfie online ID check and fill out your initial paperwork from your phone

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Key Benefits

  • Speeds up the conveyancing process - Typically saves 2 weeks on the average transaction.
  • Safe & Secure - Two factor authentication so you can be assured you information is always secure.
  • Quick & Convenient - Complete your initial documentation online,  meaning that you don't need to print, sign or post important documents back to us.
  • Easily provide ID - Full integration with a state-of-the art selfie I.D. verification tool, meaning you don't need to visit the office to provide ID.
  • Secure Communication - Easily communicate with our team directly through the portal.

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Recognised Success

  • Conveyancing Quality
  • LFS Conveyancing Awards 2016 Shortlisted
  • Yorkshire Legal Awards 2018

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