Change to Stamp Duty for First Time Buyers

The Stamp Duty threshold of £250,000.00 for first time buyers ends on the 24th March 2012 after which Stamp Duty will be payable by all purchasers including first time buyers if the purchase price is over £125,000.00.


Subject to mortgage funds being in place and there being a relatively easy chain it is possible, still, for first time buyers to make an offer now and complete their purchase by the 24th March.


Despite the financial incentive for first time buyers to buy to get onto the property market now, Greta Williamson a Partner in A.H. Brooks & Co., would urge against anybody rushing into buying a property particularly with a partner without having first taken the opportunity of considering the pros and cons of doing so beforehand.


As an experienced family and domestic conveyancing lawyer Greta Williamson frequently sees the consequences of young couples who, eager to leave home, have purchased a property and over committed themselves financially. By the very nature of being a first time buyer it’s the first time that most people have had the responsibility of not only finding money to pay for a mortgage but also funding the utility bills and repairs and maintenance costs associated with a property. Having lived at home previously most people have the security of their parents to fall back on.


In addition to the financial pressure there is also the emotional and physical adjustment of living with someone. Greta Williamson says that it takes time for couples to settle down into a routine and for couples to decide who is going to do what within the relationship.


All too often I see, as a family lawyer, the consequences of a relationship breakdown particularly with very young couples who have only been living together for less than 2 years. Whilst understandably they have been excited and enthused about the prospect of purchasing and running their own home, the reality sometimes places too much strain upon a relationship and it sadly ends in separation.


One would hope that at the point of separation it would be easy for the parties to determine how the joint assets should be divided but, sadly, this is not always the case. When any un-married couple purchase a property the title deeds should clearly specify how the equity is to be held. There are various options available to the parties whether it be equally, shared on the basis of unequal shares say 60-40, 70-30, or as specific as to their initial contributions towards the property.


It is so easy to record the intention of the parties something that should be done as a matter of good practice by all conveyancing Solicitors. If everybody understood the principles of beneficial ownership then a lot of problems upon separation could be eliminated. Having the right advice therefore at the time of the purchase for young couples is particularly important. If everything is sorted out from the beginning in the event that a separation does take place it should be at minimal legal cost to the parties.


A.H. Brooks & Co., is one of only a handful of firms in Staffordshire to be awarded the Conveyancing Quality Scheme kitemark issued by the Law Society. In addition, A.H. Brooks & Co., has the Lexcel Accreditation and covers all aspect of legal practice from residential through to commercial conveyancing, family and relationship breakdown, personal injury, medical negligence and Wills and Probate matters.


For a fixed fee appointment relating to family matters please call Lee Pointon at our Cheadle office or email