Top tips for home buyers to save money beyond the stamp duty holiday deadline

Property Reporter
17th February 2021
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March 31st, a date that will probably be ingrained into the minds of practically everyone in the UK who is actively buying or selling a property at the moment.

Despite the rumour-mill working overtime lately, there has been no solid evidence to date that the government's stamp duty holiday will be extended beyond the March deadline - which is why so many sellers have been rushing to complete in time.

With the average house price currently standing at around £230,000, buyers who are able to take advantage of the scheme are saving on average £2,100 – but that could be more or less depending on where you live.

That sum of money could make a big difference, but if you’ve not been able to buy before the stamp duty deadline, you’ll be pleased to know there are lots of other ways to save money moving to a new home.

Sam Mitchell, CEO of online estate agent Strike, shares his advice on how to save money even after the holiday ends:

"1: Time is money

"First things first, selling a property is all about timing. As a rule of thumb, there are certain times that you might want to avoid if you can — like the late summer — to help speed up your sale.

"There can be a dip in activity with school holidays in late summer, while Christmas is also a quieter period, so choose your timing wisely to maximise your chances.

"Sky-high estate agent fees and increased legal payments if sales get delayed mean you’ll want to do all you can to guarantee a quick sale and save you money in the long-run.

"2: Sell for free

"There are several costs and fees associated with selling a house — and estate agent fees are often the most costly.

"But times are changing. Strike is the UK’s only agent that sells your home for free. As an online agent, we’re able to not only lower costs but also to speed the entire process up, from start to finish.

"Unlike other estate agents who normally claim between 0.75%-3% commission from your sale (1.5% being the average), we believe the money you get from the sale of your property belongs to you.

"Based on the average UK property price, you could save more than £3,000 – an even bigger saving than the stamp duty holiday offers anyway.

"3: Move your mortgage

"When moving home, it’s important to carefully consider what you do with your mortgage.

"Most lenders will allow you to ‘port’ your mortgage and move it from your existing property to the one you’re buying. But if you do decide you want to pay off the mortgage, it may come at a cost.

"Generally, lenders will allow you to go over your payment by an extra 10% a year, but anything after that will incur a fee – something to remember when making that decision.

"However, if you have had your mortgage for a while, it may be a good time to consider switching to a new lender as rates have been very competitive recently.

"4: Shop around

"Moving home is a perfect time to re-evaluate all your subscriptions and bills – deciding whether you really need them or could find a better deal elsewhere.

"Remaining loyal to your bill providers rarely gives you a better deal, so shopping around could help you cut how much you pay out each month. According to Which? you could save on average almost £200 per year by switching suppliers - and it only takes a few minutes.

"Do your research and ask those you know for recommendations on everything from deals on utilities and broadband to getting a water meter or reassessing car insurance. On the latter, those trading in city life for a more rural location could strike a much cheaper deal on car insurance now that they’re moving to a quieter area.

"5: Reduce the moving costs

"When it comes to moving all of your belongings, you need to make sure that you’re not paying more than is necessary. It helps if you remember that the more you need to move, the more you’ll have to pay. In the weeks or even months, before packing, tackle your house room by room and declutter.

"Be as flexible as possible about when you move to allow yourself the best deal on removal costs. Typically, Fridays are highest in demand as they allow for the weekend to settle into a new home. Sunday tends to be cheaper, however, arguably less practical if you need to be at work on Monday.

"Check if you qualify for a discount with your chosen removal firm too, as some will have money off for armed forces, pensioners, students and even keyworkers. Alternatively, you could rent a van to do it yourself for as little as £50 a day.

"There may be other costs you could cut out too. For example, you could cut back on packing supplies by asking friends and family for old boxes or by visiting supermarkets. There are a lot of ways you can save if you plan ahead."

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