Q. What exactly is going on with Stamp Duty?

ASK THE EXPERT A. The key issue at the moment is that the so-called Stamp Duty Holiday - which the Government brought in just over a year ago as a temporary measure to help boost activity levels in the property market – is due to come to an end on December 31st. Precisely...


Buy-to-let market grows for first time in two years: CML

Buy-to-let market grows for first time in two years: CML Mortgage Solutions | 12 Nov 2009 | 10:03 Gross lending in the buy-to-let mortgage market grew in Q3 for the first time in two years, according to data published by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML). Mortgage rates need...


Do you think the property market has really turned the corner?

ASK THE EXPERT A. Not surprisingly, this is the question everyone wants an answer to. And the truth is that things certainly do seem to be looking up. Now, I know you would probably expect me to say that anyway, but the fact is that whereas last year the picture painted in the...


Can my agent sell my house without a Home Information Pack?

ASK THE EXPERT A. The short answer is no – in fact, it’s downright illegal. The law is absolutely clear on this: no property may be put on the market without a HIP already in place. So, if this agent is suggesting that you somehow don’t actually need a HIP at...


ASK THE EXPERT A. You’re right. Whereas throughout last year the picture painted in the media was one of unrelieved gloom, these days the news is a lot more mixed. In just the past few weeks, we’ve had woeful tales of negative equity (courtesy of the Land Registry...


ASK THE EXPERT Q. I’m hoping to get my foot on the property ladder for the first time this year. Can you give me any pointers as regards making offers? A. When it comes to making offers, there are few hard and fast rules – whatever the state of the market. Right now...


ASK THE EXPERT Q. Shouldn’t all estate agents have to be licensed? A. Here in the UK, you don’t need a licence in order to practise as an estate agent. Indeed, you couldn’t get one, even if you wanted one. They simply don’t exist. Not surprisingly, many...


ASK THE EXPERT Q. I am considering buying a new-build property, and a friend mentioned reading something recently about “incentive disclosure.” Could you enlighten me, please? A. Your friend is probably referring to new rules brought in last Autumn by the Council of...


  Q. We recently inherited a property. We don’t want to rent it out, but there doesn’t seem a lot of point trying to sell it at the moment. Meanwhile, it is unoccupied. What should we do? A. First and foremost, I would take issue with your basic assumption...


ASK THE EXPERT Q. I am considering buying my first property, and I can put down a sizeable deposit – but with prices still dropping, doesn’t it make sense to wait a bit longer before committing myself? A. I can certainly understand why you might think so. After all...


A. If I were a politician, or more specifically a member of the Government, then I might well say that it’s too soon to tell. Which it is, of course. Nevertheless, there’s no doubt that the Chancellor could have done considerably more to help reinvigorate the market...


ASK THE EXPERT Q. I recently came across the term “lien.” What does it mean, and what other obscure legal terms can you encounter during the course of a property transaction? A. Ah, the wonderful world of property-related legal jargon – a source of endless...


Q. We’ve seen a house we like, but we’re concerned that it might be more difficult to sell later on, because the garden isn’t south-facing. Is orientation important? A. The short answer is no. Indeed, some of the nicest people I know have north-facing gardens...


ASK THE EXPERT Q. Can you tell me a bit more about this new Property Information Questionnaire? A. From 6th April, all Home Information Packs must contain a Property Information Questionnaire, or PIQ, completed by the seller, and covering a whole range of issues which the...


ASK THE EXPERT Q. Is it true that the rules governing Home Information Packs are about to change? A. Yes. Back in December, Housing Minister Margaret Beckett announced two major changes, both of which are due come into effect from April 6th this year. The first of these changes...


ASK THE EXPERT Q. How do I tell when it’s a good time to buy? A. That rather depends on whether you need to sell first in order to buy, and if so, whether you are trading up or down. In many ways, there is actually no such thing as a good market – or a bad one...


ASK THE AGENT Q. I have just had my house valued by a number of different agents, and I’m convinced it’s worth more than they say. Is there anything wrong with testing the waters by going to market at a higher price? A. The short answer is Yes. Granted, no agent is...


ASK THE EXPERT Q. Times are hard and I’m thinking of taking in a lodger. Can I do this, and what issues do I need to consider? A. If you’re a mortgage payer, then the first thing you need to do is check whether taking in a lodger is permitted under your lender&rsquo...