Stamp Duty First Time Buyers

If you are a first-time buyer, you may be wondering whether you have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax, commonly referred to as Stamp Duty and, if so, how much this will be. While you may have to pay Stamp Duty if the price you are paying is over a certain level, the good news is that as a first-time buyer you are likely to be eligible for a reduction and in many cases, you will not have to pay Stamp Duty at all. We take a look at the details below.

At Lockings Solicitors, we represent first-time buyers in East Yorkshire, the surrounding area and beyond. We have many years of experience in dealing with conveyancing and an excellent reputation for the level of service we provide.

We know that purchasing your first home can be daunting and if you ask us to represent you, we will make sure that you have all the guidance and support you need. We are always happy to hear from clients with questions and we will keep you updated as to the progress of your purchase throughout the transaction.

If you are looking for your first property, give us a call and we will be delighted to represent you. We offer a FREE initial chat so that you can ask us any questions you may have. Ring us on 01482 300 200, email us at welcome@lockings.co.uk or fill in our Free Online Enquiry and we will call you back promptly. We have offices in Beverley, Hull and York and we deal with conveyancing in East Yorkshire and beyond.

We are on the panels of approved solicitors of all major mortgage lenders and hold the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) accreditation in recognition of our high levels of legal competence, risk management and client service.

Do first time buyers pay Stamp Duty?

The government introduced Stamp Duty relief for some first time buyers, with the intention of reducing upfront costs and supporting home ownership. First time buyers can now save up to £8,750 compared with other buyers, depending on the purchase price. For many first time buyers, no Stamp Duty will be payable at all.

What are Stamp Duty rates for first-time buyers?

If the home that you are buying is your first home and you and any other buyer are eligible for first time buyer relief, Stamp Duty rates on the purchase of a freehold or leasehold residential property are:

  • On the portion of the purchase price up to £425,000 – no Stamp Duty is payable
  • On the portion of the purchase price from £425,001 to £625,000 – Stamp Duty is payable at 5%

For properties costing over £625,000, there is no Stamp Duty relief for first time buyers.

By way of example, if you are a first time buyer and you are purchasing a property for £500,000, Stamp Duty is calculated as follows:

  • First £425,000 – no Stamp Duty
  • Remaining £75,000 – payable at 5%, ie. £3,750

By way of contrast, someone who is not a first time buyer would pay £12,500 in Stamp Duty.

Am I a first time buyer?

There are strict criteria for establishing who is eligible for first time buyer relief. Firstly, you cannot have owned a residential property previously, at any time, anywhere in the world. This also applies to anyone you are buying your home with, as you both need to be first time buyers to qualify for relief. It also includes inherited property – even if you did not buy it yourself, this still counts as property ownership and means that you would not be entitled to Stamp Duty relief.

Commercial ownership is different, and if you have owned commercial premises, this will not disqualify you, provided it did not contain living quarters.

If you intend to use the property as a rental property, ie. you will not be living in it yourself, you will not qualify for relief. It needs to be a property that you intend to occupy yourself.

How is Stamp Duty dealt with on a purchase?

Stamp Duty is payable on completion of your purchase. If we represent you in buying your first home, we will let you know how much, if any, will be due so that you can let us have this in readiness for completion.

We will complete the Stamp Duty return form and send it to HM Revenue & Customs together with the payment.

Stamp Duty deadline

There is a deadline for paying Stamp Duty of 14 days from the date of completion of your purchase. We always deal with Stamp Duty returns on behalf of our clients, so that you can be sure that the deadline will be met. We will also register your property and your mortgage at HM Land Registry.

Tips for first time buyers

Some of our top tips for first time buyers include:

  1. Work with a professional mortgage adviser if you are unsure how much you can comfortably afford. They will be able to discuss your situation with you and should find you the best available deal. Once you have decided on a lender, apply for a mortgage decision in principle. This will give you some idea of whether you are eligible and confirmation of how much they are prepared to lend you.
  2. In advance of applying for a mortgage, you may want to ensure that your credit rating is as good as possible. Tips for this include:
    1. Obtain a copy of your credit score from major credit agencies and check for any errors that need correcting
    2. Make sure you pay credit card and other bills as they fall due
    3. While you need to demonstrate that you have a credit card and are able to meet the payments on time, you can consider cancelling cards that you no longer use unless they provide evidence that you have managed credit well over a long period of time
    4. Don’t take out a new loan or other credit just before applying for your mortgage
    5. Make sure you are on the electoral roll as lenders use this to establish borrowers’ addresses
    6. Close any bank accounts or credit cards that you hold jointly with someone who doesn’t have a good credit score
    7. If possible, don’t use all of the credit that you have. It is often recommended that you keep it below 30% of your credit limit if you can
  3. Have a survey carried out once you’ve had an offer accepted. This is important, to ensure that the property is a good investment and that there are no nasty surprises in store. Do not rely on your mortgage lender’s valuation report, as this is likely to be very cursory.
  4. Find a solicitor early on. If you ask us to represent you, we will start work straightaway, verifying your identity, opening a file and putting together the information we will need to carry out your purchase. This means that as soon as you have an offer accepted, you will be able to pass our details on to the estate agent. They will forward these to the seller’s solicitor, who will then let us have the initial contract package so that we can start work without delay.

Contact our East Yorkshire conveyancing solicitors

If are thinking of buying your first home, we would be delighted to represent you.

You can ring us for a FREE initial chat on 01482 300 200, email us at welcome@lockings.co.uk or fill in our Free Online Enquiry and we will call you back promptly. We have offices in Beverley, Hull and York and deal with conveyancing in East Yorkshire and beyond.

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