Will the stamp duty holiday be extended? Here’s what the Secret Estate Agent thinks...

The stamp duty holiday's set to end on March 31... here's what Hertfordshire's Secret Estate Agent thinks will happen...

The stamp duty holiday's set to end on March 31... here's what Hertfordshire's Secret Estate Agent thinks will happen next... Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Let Hertfordshire’s Secret Estate Agent answer your property questions and give an insight into the world of estate agency...

Realistically, when does the average punter need to have had their offer accepted if they’re going to be able to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday?

I think December, maybe going into January if you are in a straightforward chain but that doesn’t give you too much wiggle room.

Will Rishi extend it? I wouldn’t be surprised if there was more of a measured or phased policy as otherwise we could go from feast to famine.

Are you seeing many sales fall through at the moment? What kinds of things are causing this to happen if so?

No real pattern, although we have seen a few buyers get over-enthusiastic on offers. They get their ambitions mixed up with their capabilities and have rescinded offers, disappointing the seller and also the agent.

What kinds of things are holding up sales at the moment? Are more mistakes happening because everyone’s so busy?

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The huge increase in volume of sales is unprecedented over such a short period of time, and this is holding up sales. There is a huge strain on lenders, surveyors, removalists and solicitors.

Mistakes are inevitable with additional workloads and it is proving very hard ensuring all the ducks are in the row for exchange.

As an example, we had a chain of five ready to exchange today but one party inexplicably hadn’t booked a removal firm with lack of communication; the whole process is then put on hold and now we may need to agree a new completion date.

If instructed to sell a plot of land with planning permission for one house, what chance these days does a self-builder have of acquiring the plot? The selling agent will likely earn a further fee by being instructed on the sale of any new house by a developer...

We have recently been instructed on a plot with planning permission for a three bedroom house for a client and we are offering it to end users/self-builders and developers alike as we are duty bound to present the best possible deal to our client.

Some developers would prefer a plot without planning permission as once it has been granted it can take the financial margin out of the equation, increasing the self-builder’s opportunity. Granted, the developer would instruct the agent on the resale but developers can give the owner more financial and know-how certainty.

Self-builders may struggle with finances as new build mortgages are more complex and, in my experience, can get cold feet with escalating build costs and naivety. Everyone’s a developer thanks to those Channel 4 programmes!

Do you have a question for the Secret Estate Agent? Email jane.howdle@archant.co.uk or contact us via our Facebook or Twitter pages.