• How to Sell your Home: A Complete Guide for First-Time Sellers
    Posted on 11 November 2022

    How to Sell your Home: A Complete Guide for First-Time Sellers

    1. Look at Your Finances

    The first thing to look at if you are considering selling your property is if you can afford to move. Are you still in your existing mortgage term? If you are, you may face early repayment charges or there may be fees involved to port your mortgage to a new property.

    If you are looking to move to a more expensive property, you will need to find out how much you can borrow and if you have an adequate deposit for the new property.

    There are other costs associated with moving too, such as stamp duty charges, solicitors fees and if you need to hire a moving company.

    2. Make Small Home Improvements

    If you have any small home improvements you wanted to make, now could be the time to do it. If the improvements will cost a large amount of money or are very time-consuming, it may be worth speaking to an estate agent first for their opinion to see if it is worth the expenditure.

    Spend some time tidying up your garden and painting over any scuffs on the wall around your home. If your kitchen is looking tired, even a lick of paint and updating hardware, such as doors and handles, can be a much cheaper option to making the space feel like new again.

    3. Have Your Property Valued

    You may have an idea of what your home might be worth already, especially if similar homes in your area have recently sold. Speak to a local estate agent about a home valuation and how they can work with you to get the best possible price for your home.

    It may be more or less than you anticipated, but this figure does not mean that your home will be guaranteed to sell for that amount of money.

    4. Set an Asking Price

    Depending on whether you have had one estate agent to value your home or several, ultimately the final decision comes down to you. You may decide to market your property as “offers in excess of” or “offers over”, but this is just a guide and buyers may still offer you less than your asking price.

    5. Instruct an Estate Agent

    Once you have had your home valued and you are happy with the price that you would like to market your property at, it’s time to instruct an estate agent. The process known as “instructing” involves signing a contract that lays out the terms and conditions of the sale and the estate agent's responsibilities.

    6. Clean Up Clutter for Photographs

    A clean and tidy home looks far more attractive in photographs than ones that are filled with clutter. Here are our top tips:

    • Consider renting storage space for unwanted items
    • Declutter the master bedroom and make it a sanctuary
    • Ensure that any toiletries or cleaning supplies are put away in a bathroom or kitchen cupboard
    • Tidy up piles of letters that tend to accumulate. You won’t want to take these with you when you move, so if you’re thorough now, it’ll make your life easier later!

    We always recommend having professional photographs taken, prospective buyers aren’t going to be wowed if photographs of your home are bad quality or gloomy.

    7. Time for Viewings

    Once your home looks its best, it's time to arrange showings with prospective buyers. You'll need to schedule appointments with agents who represent the buyer (not just anyone who might be interested in looking at the property).

    You'll also need an open mind — some buyers may want to make major changes before they buy your home (which could increase your final sale price).

    8. Hire a Solicitor

    This is one of the most important things you need to do when selling your home. It’s not just about buying and selling the property; it’s also about other legalities involved in the process such as checking the title deeds, searching for any problems with the property and negotiating with the buyer's solicitor.

    A good solicitor can also advise you on how much to ask for your house, which area might be more favourable for buyers and whether or not there are any planning issues that could affect potential buyers.

    9. Time to Reassess if Property is not Selling

    If your property has been on the market for a while and hasn’t sold, it is time to look at why that might be. If you have had plenty of viewings, chat with your estate agent about what feedback prospective buyers were giving and why they decided not to make an offer.

    It may be that the property has been valued too high, and by dropping the price slightly then it might encourage more viewings. Or perhaps the photographs need to be changed to make the property seem more appealing.

    10. Receive Offers

    As soon as offers are made, you will be notified by your chosen estate agent. If you receive multiple offers, your estate agent will look into various buyer situations and advise if there are any factors to take into consideration when evaluating their offer.

    Usually, the safest buyers are:

    • First-time buyers - they are chain free but usually require a much larger mortgage from the bank to secure.
    • Chain-free cash buyers - this could be a buy-to-let investor or someone who has sold their house already and doesn’t need a mortgage.
    • Home-movers who have exchanged or sold their house SSTC - (Sold Subject to Contract)

    11. Renegotiate or Accept Offers

    Many times, buyers will offer under the asking price so this is the time when you’ll decide whether to accept the offer or renegotiate. Ask the advice of your estate agent who will be able to help you decide. Before accepting the offer, consider the following:

    • How fair is the offer? Is it close to the valuation or similar to other properties that have recently sold in the area?
    • How quickly do you need to sell the property?
    • Will you have enough from the sale to move to your next property?
    • How long has your property been on the market?
    • Do you have any other offers on the property?
    • How likely is the buyer to increase their offer?
    • What is the market like, are homes struggling to sell?

    It can feel like a daunting position to be in, not knowing whether you have made the right choice. Remember to be realistic but also to stick to your guns if you think the offer is too low and you are likely to get a higher amount from the sale.

    12. Househunting

    Great news! You have accepted an offer on your property, now it’s time to find a property to move to. You may have already had a look at some homes, but you are in the best position to make an offer if your home is SSTC (Sold Subject to Contact) and sellers will take your offer more seriously.

    Chat with your estate agent to see what homes are available in your desired area, or if any properties are due to come on the market soon.

    13. Help to Keep Things Moving

    Keep up with communication throughout the sale of your property to keep things moving quickly and on time. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or if you are worried that you haven’t heard anything for a few weeks.

    If you know you will be out of the country or unable to sign anything for certain time periods, communicate this to your estate agent, solicitor and conveyancer.

    14. Exchange and Complete

    Once you exchange contracts, the house sale becomes legally binding and it is time for the buyer to pay their deposit.

    On the day that you complete the transaction, you will be moving out of the property and dropping off the keys with the estate agent. Most homemovers complete the sale of their old property on the same day as their new property, and this saves having to put all of your belongings in storage.

    Ready to Sell your Home?

    We can help you sell your current home and find you your dream home, just give us a call on 028 9065 3333 or contact us via email. If you’re not ready to sell your home just yet, why not take a look at some of the homes we have for sale at the moment?
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  • Benefits of Using a Letting Agent to Manage your Buy-To-Let Property
    Posted on 7 November 2022

    Benefits of Using a Letting Agent to Manage your Buy-To-Let Property

    Letting agents provide a range of services and even fully manage a letting so that your geographical location isn’t a factor when it comes to owning a buy-to-let property.

    When it comes to managing your property, letting agents can take on marketing your property, finding suitable tenants, hosting viewings and  drawing up tenancy agreements. Once the tenant is in the property, depending on the level of property management you are looking for, the letting agent can collect rent, handle maintenance issues and conduct property inspections.

    Marketing the Property

    Letting agents know how to market your property properly, which means they can get it rented quickly and at a good price. They will ensure that the property listing is accurate and professional photographs are taken of the property.

    Letting agents have access to a large number of potential renters who they can screen and choose from, they know what makes a good renter and what doesn’t. They also know what type of property in which area will achieve in rent, so they will be able to price the property accordingly.

    Vetting and Referencing Procedures

    Using a letting agent means that you do not need to go through the labour-intensive process of finding a suitable tenant. Demand is high for rented properties and each property, but using a letting agent then it takes the time out of sifting through applications.

    Letting agents also have a huge amount of experience in finding tenants, so they’ll be able to spot reliable applicants for the property. It also saves you conducting credit and reference checks because this can all be done efficiently by the letting agent.

    Property Issues? Problem Sorted!

    Like owning any type of property, it is going to have issues from time to time. At some point, the property will need repairs, and it may require a visit from yourself, or arranging contractors to fix the problems on your behalf. If you don’t have a letting agent managing the property, then you will have to do this all yourself which can be difficult to manage. By using a letting agent to manage your property, they will deal with any issues and fix the problems so you don’t have to.

    Managing a property is a lot of work and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Using a letting agent to help you out with the day-to-day tasks of looking after your properties means that it can free up your time for other ventures. You can relax knowing that your investment is in the safe hands of a professional who knows how to keep properties running smoothly.

    Rent Can Be Collected On Your Behalf

    If you are self-managing the property, you will also need to collect rent directly from tenants. This can be difficult if your tenant lives far away or does not have a stable job and it can cause a lot of frustration having to collect rent.

    If you instruct a letting agency to manage your property, they can liaise directly with the tenant to receive regular payments. If tenants fail to pay their rent, your letting agent can step in to find a solution or start eviction proceedings.

    Experts in Their Field

    A letting agent can manage the contracts and legalities of renting to tenants because being a landlord comes with a lot of regulations that can often change. Using a property agent means that they will ensure that the property is compliant with legislation prior to a tenant moving in and will update you with changes throughout the course of the tenancy.

    Deposits should be held by a deposit protection scheme, and John Minnis has an account with TDS Northern Ireland to protect your tenants deposit. A great letting agent will carry out a thorough inventory at the beginning of the tenancy and use photographic evidence as backup in case there are any disputes.

    Letting agents have plenty of experience managing end of tenancy disputes and keep up to date with what the protection schemes cover.

    Still Unsure?

    Take a look at the following questions:

    • Would you prefer someone else to deal with tenants queries and issues?
    • Are you unsure about relevant regulations and legislation?
    • Are you letting out a property in a different area to where you live?
    • Are you new to being a landlord and would like some professional help?

    If you answered yes to any of the above questions, it is worth talking to a letting agent about what options are available.

    Why not give us a call on 028 9065 3333 or email us for more information.
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  • Considering Selling Your Home? Check Out the 5 Things that Buyers are Looking for
    Posted on 2 November 2022

    Considering Selling Your Home? Check Out the 5 Things that Buyers are Looking for

    1. Proximity to Schools

    You cannot change the location of your home, but you could have a look into whether your home falls within the catchment area of popular schools. This can be a great selling point when showing buyers around your home if they have a young family, or may be planning to start one in the future.

    Competition for school places is fierce, so living in the catchment area will be a huge bonus to many people.

    2. Flexible Living Space

    Research has shown that by 2025 nearly 40% of employees will work from home, so it is no surprise that many homebuyers are looking for a space where they can both work and live.

    The box room that is a little too small to fit a regular bed in could now be sold as the perfect space to house a home office. Over the last few years,  the way people work and live has changed so it makes sense that the features that people are looking for have too.

    3. Broadband Speed

    It may come with no surprise that with streaming shows, working from home and having multiple people in the home that want access to the internet, broadband speed is a factor when it comes to searching for a property.

    Even if you don’t use the internet much yourself, it is a good idea to check out what the speeds are in your area and this can be used as a selling point, especially if you live in a more rural area.

    4. Outside Space

    As house prices have grown over the past couple of years, homes with gardens have grown at a faster rate than those without. Recent studies show that people are willing to pay up to 5% more for one.

    Even if you have a small courtyard or a shared space, try to brighten the space up with potted plants and some seating to shine the best light on the space.

    5. Eco-Friendly Homes

    It’s no secret that energy prices have increased recently, so if your house is energy efficient then this will be a great selling point to prospective buyers. If you are thinking about ways to make your property more attractive to savvy buyers, great ways to do this is through double glazing, alternative energy sources and electric car charging points.

    Want More Tips?

    Speak to our friendly and knowledgeable team on 028 9065 3333 for more information, or why not take a look why not check out our advice on how to add value to your home?
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  • How to Invest in Rental Properties in 2022
    Posted on 31 October 2022

    How to Invest in Rental Properties in 2022

    What are the considerations for buying a buy-to-let property in 2022?

    1. Is There Enough Demand for the Area?

    This is an important consideration when looking at areas for buying a rental property. Speak to local letting agents in the area and find out how much demand they are getting for specific areas or types of properties. Local knowledge is invaluable if you are unfamiliar with the area yourself.

    Do some research yourself by checking property websites and seeing how long listings are staying live for before being snapped up. It is also worth considering the transport links, schools and how commutable it is to the nearest city. These are all things that can directly affect how desirable an area is to rent in and how much demand it generates.

    2. Financing the Property

    As a general rule of thumb, the typical maximum loan-to-value (LTV) for a buy-to-let mortgage is 75%, meaning that you will need a down payment of 25%. Lenders like to see that the rent will cover between 125% and 145% of the mortgage payment.

    Each lender has its own specific lending criteria, but typically lenders will need to meet the following:

    1. 1. Have a good credit rating
    2. 2. Prove that you can afford to maintain the property
    3. 3. Have an annual income of at least £25,000 - especially if you are a first-time buyer
    4. 4. Have a minimum of 25% deposit
    5. 5. Be an existing homeowner
    6. 6. Are able to pay off the buy-to-let mortgage by the age of 75

    If you do not meet all of these requirements, there may be specialist lenders that are willing to offer you a mortgage but it could incur higher charges than your standard lenders.

    3. New Stamp Duty Changes

    If you already own your own home and you are looking at buying an investment property, it will incur a 3% stamp duty surcharge.

    Here are the new rates for buying an additional property, as of September 2022:
    • Up to £250,000 - 3% of the purchase price
    • £250,001 to £925,000 - 8% of the purchase price
    • £925,001 to £1,500,000 - 13% of the purchase price
    • £1,500,001 and over - 15% of the purchase price
    If you are a non-UK resident or company purchasing property in England or Northern Ireland, from April 2021 an additional 2% stamp duty surcharge will apply on top of existing stamp duty rates.

    For more information on stamp duty rates, read our helpful guide here.

    4. Consider All of the Costs Involved

    Once you have bought the property, you may have to spend some money and time on getting the property ready to be tenanted. Depending on the condition of the property, it is important to factor in these costs, as it may affect the rental yield you are able to achieve.

    If you are investing in a property that has low demand for the area, you may have to spend more money to make the property more attractive to prospective tenants so it stands out from the rest.

    It is also important to consider the type of tenant that you will have renting the property. If you are wanting to attract families or young professionals who are likely to rent the property for a longer period of time, you may want to invest in nicer fixtures for the property than if you were renting to students.

    5. Choose the Right Area

    Traditionally, many landlords would buy rental properties close to where they reside, even if the yield was not as high. This is outdated, as technology has evolved, it makes it easier than ever to invest in property in the best areas, wherever they happen to be.

    Take some time to research the hotspots where you can get the best return on the investment. By choosing a letting agent that can fully manage your buy-to-let properties, you can search for properties that will achieve the highest yield rate.

    Need More Information?

    Speak to our friendly and experienced team on 028 9065 3333 for more information on investing in buy-to-let properties and our comprehensive property management service.
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  • 5 Ways To Put A Stamp On Your New Home
    Posted on 26 October 2022

    5 Ways To Put A Stamp On Your New Home

    1. Find Your Style

    Before you start to decorate your home or buy new furniture, it’s crucial to find out what your style is. If you don’t, your home will feel mismatched and furniture may feel lost in the home.

    The easiest way to do this is to take some time and flick through interior magazines or use apps like Pinterest and start collecting images of homes that you love. You will soon get an idea of what types of styles you are drawn to and you can go from there.

    2. Choose Furniture That You Love

    When shopping for furniture, consider style as well as function. Your new sofa needs to be comfortable, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be stylish too.

    Avoid buying matching furniture sets out of ease, and instead take the time to look for a few unusual pieces to add to your home and make the space feel unique to you. Think about the layout of the room and where the furniture will sit, from there you can hunt around for the perfect pieces of furniture that meet your needs.

    3. Carefully Curated Art

    Art can be one of the best ways to add a touch of individuality to your home, art is subjective after all!

    If you have a plain wall, it can be the quickest way to add some personality but you can also add to your art collection over the years. Think about reframing the artwork to fit with the interior of your home, so that the collection flows. Or why not create a gallery wall? You can mix and match typography prints, artwork and pictures of loved ones to show off your personality.

    4. Add Layers With Textiles

    Textiles can add warmth and depth to a space, once rugs, cushions and throws are added to a room then it can instantly make the space feel more cosy and welcoming.

    When choosing textiles, think about the colour tones of that room and pick one or two different hues that will work well together. Adding different types of fabrics and patterns can make the room feel more luxurious.

    5. Finishing Touches

    Add trinkets and ornaments to add some personality to your room, or why not a bookcase filled with your favourite novels which not only shows off your individuality but it is also functional?

    Carefully placed pieces of home decor can instantly make a room feel homely, but don’t overdo it. Sometimes less is more, you want to avoid your home feeling cluttered.

    Feeling Inspired?

    Take a look at our blog for more home inspiration.
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  • How to Avoid Common Buying Mistakes
    Posted on 24 October 2022

    How to Avoid Common Buying Mistakes

    1. Not checking your Credit Score

    It is crucial to check that your credit is in good shape before applying for a mortgage. Lenders will want to ensure that you have managed your debt responsibly in the past, so if your credit score is poor, look at ways to improve this before applying for a mortgage or speak to a specialist lender about your options.

    There may be some mistakes on your credit report that you want to resolve, it is important to regularly check your credit report for any discrepancies. There are plenty of free tools to help you, such as Clearscore and Experian.

    2. Not applying for a Mortgage in Principle first

    Before you start booking viewings, it’s a good idea to get a mortgage in principle first, sometimes known as a ‘mortgage promise’, and it will give you an idea of what the lenders are willing to loan to you. This certification is usually valid for up to three months and many estate agents will ask if you have this if you decide to put an offer in on a property.

    Be aware that this is not a mortgage agreement or guarantee that the lender will loan that amount of money to you. It will reassure estate agents that you are able to lend up to that amount of money, and you will know what type of homes you can afford.

    3. Going Over Budget

    It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of looking at houses, and you start to look at more and more expensive homes. Always consider the other costs that come with owning a home too, such as council tax payments, bills and insurance. Ensure that you can afford your home if mortgage payments or bills rise, so you don’t head into trouble in a few years' time.

    4. Not Shopping Around For a Mortgage Deal

    Mortgage rates are on the rise, so it is important to shop around for the best deal possible. You do not have to simply turn to the lender that you usually do your banking with, especially if you can find a cheaper deal elsewhere.

    If you are unsure about mortgages and what you need to apply, chat to our friendly and experienced team on 028 9065 3333.

    5. Failing to Factor in Buying Costs

    You have found the house of your dreams and the bank has said yes to the full borrowing amount that you require, but what about the other costs when it comes to buying a home? Make sure you factor in other costs, like stamp duty, solicitors fees, survey costs and how much it will cost you to move your furniture in.

    If you are unsure about the new stamp duty fees, check out our handy guide to see how it affects you.

    6. Not Checking Out the Local Area

    If you have found a home that you love, it is worth visiting the area at different times of the day and week. The street that the property is on may seem quiet on a Tuesday morning, but it could feel like a different world on a Saturday evening. On the other hand, you may have a house viewing in the evening, but during the day the streets are extremely busy with backed-up traffic.

    Think about more than just the property itself, what else do you require around your home? Would you like parks within walking distance? Or perhaps an outstanding school if you have a young family, or considering starting one. If you don’t drive, you may wish to have a home with great public transport links. The neighbourhood that you live in has a big impact on the way that you feel about your home, so take these things into consideration when you start looking at the areas that you would like to live in.

    7. Ignoring Things that Lenders Hate

    You may have found a property that you love, but there are things that can stop a lender from being reluctant to offer you a mortgage. These can include:
    • A property not having a bathroom or kitchen
    • A property with a short lease
    • Homes made of non-standard materials, such as concrete
    • Derelict properties
    • A property that has structural issues
    These factors do not make buying a home impossible, but it may make it harder to be granted a mortgage and you may have to seek out a specialist lender.

    8. Forgetting to Ask the Right Questions

    Purchasing a home is usually one of the biggest financial decisions that you will have to make, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. You may want to draw up a list of questions ahead of the viewing so you don’t forget them.

    Even if something seems obvious, don’t let embarrassment stop you from asking questions. It’s better to ask questions early on than issues causing hassle down the line. It’s not just the property owners that you should ask questions of, ask the conveyancer and estate agents questions too or for them to clarify information.

    What’s Next?

    If you still have questions, get in touch with the team on 028 9065 3333. If you are ready to start searching for your next property, take a look at our website at the current listings.
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  • John Minnis Estate Agents Has Been Shortlisted for Three Awards!
    Posted on 20 October 2022

    John Minnis Estate Agents Has Been Shortlisted for Three Awards!

    John Minnis has been shortlisted for the Residential Agency of the Year (multi-branch), Best Property Marketing Campaign and Lettings Agency of the Year (multi-branch) awards. Those who entered the awards were scrutinised by a panel of judges, who are experts in this field, so it is a huge achievement to be a finalist for three awards.

    The PropertyPal Awards celebrate the achievement and work of property professionals across Northern Ireland. Taking place on November 10th, the event will showcase industry excellence across the property sector. The awards ceremony will be hosted by local comedian Shane Todd, and is sure to be a night to remember!

    Jordan Buchanan, Chief Operating Officer at PropertyPal, has said about the event, “We’re absolutely delighted to announce the finalists for the first-ever PropertyPal Awards. The standard of submissions was beyond excellent, and the judges all commented on the high calibre of entries across every category.

    “The property industry in Northern Ireland is as resilient as ever, and the quality of the finalists just goes to show that the focus here, as always, has been on professionalism, dedication and a passion for the industry in which we all work in.”

    For more information on the event and how to get tickets, head to the PropertyPal website for the most up-to-date information.
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  • How much value does an extra bedroom add to a home?
    Posted on 10 October 2022

    How much value does an extra bedroom add to a home?

    What value will your home increase by?

    It varies from property to property, but an extra bedroom is said to instantly increase the value of your home by 15%. So if your home is worth £200,000 then the value of your house could be boosted by a huge £30,000.

    How much will it cost to add an extra bedroom to your home?

    The cost of adding an extra bedroom to your home can vary due to the size of the project and the type of conversion or extension you will be adding to your home. Creating an extra bedroom can cost anywhere between £15,000 and £45,000.

    Different ways to add a bedroom will incur varying costs, some add more floor space to your home and others will convert the space that you already have.

    Loft Conversion

    A loft conversion is an extremely popular way of adding an extra bedroom to your home without having to extend the property. Converting your loft into an extra bedroom could potentially add 15% value to your property, especially if it has an en-suite bathroom.

    The most straightforward and budget-friendly way to convert your loft is to turn it into a double bedroom and add a roof light. It could push your budget up to £40k if you decide to add dormer windows and an en-suite, but this in turn could increase the value of your property.

    Garage Conversion

    Converting a garage into a bedroom is one of the cheapest ways to add an extra bedroom to your property, and can cost around £6300 in total.

    If you have an integral garage, the cost of the conversion could be relatively cheap and be undertaken by yourself if you are an experienced DIYer. If you don’t fancy the challenge, enlist the help of a builder to do the work, where it may take as little as two week to complete.

    If the garage is detached, or there is structural work that needs to be done, it could bump up the cost of the project and take longer to complete.

    Partition Wall

    If you have large bedrooms, it may be possible to simply put up a stud wall to partition the room into two. Doing this will create privacy, whilst also being the quickest and cost effective way to create an extra bedroom.


    If converting your existing space into an extra bedroom is not a viable option, why not look into expanding the floorspace of your home by adding an extension to the property.

    If you also crave extra living space, you could have a double-storey extension priced up and create more downstairs space and an extra bedroom on the first floor.

    However, as of 2022, the cost for an extension is roughly £1,350-£1,750/m² but it can vary for many reasons depending on the quality and type of fittings.

    What Are Your Other Options?

    If none of the options are suitable for you and you are looking for extra space, moving home may be a better option. With the changes in Stamp Duty recently announced, a larger home may be more affordable now. Why not chat with our friendly and experienced team on 028 9065 3333 or take a look at the properties currently available on our website.
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  • Can You Buy a House Without a Deposit?
    Posted on 28 September 2022

    Can You Buy a House Without a Deposit?

    Is it possible to buy a property without a deposit?

    When looking for a mortgage, you typically need at least a 5% deposit, but there are 100% mortgages out there. In addition to this, there are ways to put down a deposit without having to save up the cash yourself. Be aware though, that you will still need funds for stamp duty, solicitors fees and surveying fees.

    Landlord Gifted Deposit

    If you are renting and you want to buy the property you are living in, it may be possible to buy it from your landlord without saving for a deposit. A Landlord gifted deposit is where a buyer purchases the property at a discounted price and the discount can then be used as a deposit. If you are considering this option, speak to a specialist mortgage advisor about your options as it is not offered by all banks as standard.

    Shared Ownership Mortgages

    This scheme can help first-time buyers get on the property ladder or those on a lower income wanting to buy a larger property. Typically you will own between 25% and 75% of the property, and rent the remaining. You will likely require a far smaller deposit on these properties as you are only purchasing a percentage of the property, but there are 100% mortgages out there too.

    Family Gifted Deposit

    A family gifted deposit is a sum of money that is given by a family member to contribute to or pay the full deposit. This usually comes from parents or grandparents, as many first-time buyers turn to family for help getting on the property ladder. The buyers will need written confirmation from the family member to state that the money is gifted and the giftee is under no obligation to repay the money. Speak to a mortgage specialist if you are considering this route, as not all banks accept this as a form of a deposit.

    Guarantor Mortgages

    If your family is keen to help you get on to the property ladder, you can secure a loan against a family member's savings or property, this is called a guarantor mortgage. The lender may ask your guarantor to place savings into an account which they cannot access for a specific period of time. They will have their name as a guarantor on the mortgage, and will be eligible to cover payments if they are missed.

    New-Build Developer Loans

    Property developers will sometimes give you the opportunity to borrow money from them to use as a deposit on a property that they have built. This is then paid back within an agreed timescale, but be aware that this is on top of your mortgage payments so it needs to be affordable. If you are interested in buying a new build, then chat with property developers to see if this is an option.

    What are the disadvantages of buying a home without a deposit?

    Although saving for a deposit is hard, if you can try to gather a 5% deposit then it will give you more options and greater security when it comes to buying a property. Unless you are being given a deposit that does not have to be repaid, there will be extra costs on top of your mortgage that you have to consider.

    Ready to buy?

    Check out the homes that we have for sale here, or why not speak to our friendly and experienced team on 028 9065 3333.
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  • When is Stamp Duty Payable and What are the New Rates?
    Posted on 23 September 2022

    When is Stamp Duty Payable and What are the New Rates?

    What is Stamp Duty and What Does it Pay For?

    Stamp Duty Land Tax is paid to the Government in return for a Certificate of Land Ownership that is issued by the HM Revenue & Customs. This states that the land on which your new property sits is legally owned by you. If you are liable to pay stamp duty, then this is something that needs to be factored in when purchasing your property.

    When Does Stamp Duty Need to be Paid, and How Do I Pay it?

    If you are eligible to pay stamp duty, then this must be paid within 30 days from the date of completion on your home. Usually, your solicitor will arrange the payment for you, but it is your legal responsibility to ensure that stamp duty is paid.
    If your stamp duty is not paid within 30 days of completion, you may be fined and charged interest on the outstanding cost so it is within your best interest to pay promptly.

    How Much Stamp Duty Will I Pay?

    In England and Northern Ireland, no stamp duty is payable on the first £250,000 of the property price. After that, the rate applies to that portion of the property price above £250,000. If you are a first-time buyer, you will not pay any stamp duty on the first £425,000 of the purchase price. Keep reading to find out how much stamp duty you will be required to pay.
    The following rates apply if this will be the only residential property that you own and you are not a first-time buyer.

    Check out this stamp duty calculator if you are unsure of the exact amount of stamp duty that you will have to pay.

    How Much Stamp Duty Does a First-Time Buyer Pay?

    If you are a first-time buyer, you may be able to claim relief on stamp duty. However, all parties must be first time buyers to be eligible for the discount. The following applies:

    • No stamp duty payable on properties up to £425,000.
    • 5% stamp duty payable on properties on the portion from £425,001 to £625,000.
    • No discount or relief on properties £625,001 or over.

    How Much Stamp Duty Will I Pay on a Second Home?

    Any additional properties will incur an additional 3% charge on top of the standard rates of stamp duty. The increased rate applies to properties that are £40,000 or more, but it does not apply to caravans, mobile homes or houseboats.

    Does Stamp Duty Apply to New-Build Homes?

    If you are buying a new build then the same requirements apply when it comes to paying stamp duty. However, some property developers may offer incentives to cover the cost of stamp duty, or pay towards it. For further information, enquire with property developers in your area to see what incentives they have to offer.

    Can I Add Stamp Duty to my Mortgage?

    It is not possible to add the cost of stamp duty on to your mortgage amount, and this must be paid separately. When choosing your new property, stamp duty is something that needs to be included in your budget and affordability.

    Ready to buy?

    Check out the homes that we have for sale here, or why not speak to our friendly and experienced team on 028 9065 3333.
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