Gatehouse estates

Stamp Duty – Good For First Time Buyers?

The Autumn budget took place at the end of November 2017 and whilst many may think that we should have written this blog at the time but we wanted to see if the changes to the stamp duty have affected the market in the first few weeks since the announcement.

The property market is forever evolving and it can also have some seasonal trends too. So it is very difficult to gauge at this stage how the recent lift on stamp duty will affect the market.

This also got us thinking about how seasonal trends affect our industry and whether now is the right time to be selling your property. Traditionally, the December period is quieter for estate agents. People tend to have other things on the mind as they make a mad dash to be prepared for the big day! However, this is also a time when people are not working as much so this then means that people will be thinking of planning ahead for the New Year. We here it a lot in our line of business where people generally say, “we’ll wait until after Christmas and we’ll look to move next year now”.

A Fresh Hope For FTB’s

Whilst the stamp duty ‘lift’ has given fresh hope to first time buyers, there are many other factors that FTB’s need to consider. The saving of a few thousand pounds sounds like a lot but it actually only works out to be a small percentage of what they need to find to be able to obtain a mortgages.

Days of the 100% (or even 110%) mortgage are well and truly behind us so lenders still require a deposit. If the average FTB property is priced around £150,000 – you will still need to find at least £10,000, sometimes as much as £15,000 for a deposit.

Looking at the maths on this, the question that FTB should be asking is; do I have this in savings to start this process. The ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ is a popular talking point as well because we are finding that many parents are gifting their children a deposit to buy. This sounds great doesn’t it?! But, the mortgage lender still has a criterion that any borrower must meet in order for them to approve the loan. (i.e. earnings, existing outgoings, credit rating etc).

Buying a property is more complicated that it used to be and, so it should be because mortgage lenders have a responsibility (in our opinion) to ensure that affordability is at the top of the agenda.

Stock Levels Are Lower Today

Hypothetically speaking, if a FTB is in a position (with deposit and a mortgage in principle from the lender) then they are ready to buy. To buy what?

Over the last 5-10 years we have seen more and more investment buyers ‘snapping up’ the stereotypical FTB home. Why? Property can be seen to be a good investment and since the credit crunch, savings and ISA’s appear to have dropped down the popularity list for those investing. If you are able to get a rental return of 5% (rental yield) then this is a much better investment. Don’t forget that with house prices increasing, the property becomes an even bigger asset.

This leaves first time buyers scrapping to find the perfect home and certainly in competition with many who are looking to expand their rental portfolios. Some may say that estate agents do not mind who buys a property – well, in our case, we feel that more starter homes are required.

Here lies the next problem….. Developers are having to pay premium prices for land so therefore they need to maximise every square foot they can. This means that less starter homes are being built and those properties that are being built are out of reach for your stereotypical first time buyer.

Back To Stamp Duty!

The easiest way to explain the change to the recent stamp duty levels is the follows:
Stamp duty has been abolished for first time buyers who are purchasing a property up to the value of £300,000. Stamp duty starts at £125,000 unless you are buying a second home so a first time buyer buying a two bedroom at £160,000 will stand to save £700. Not a huge saving really on the grand scheme of things, they’ll pay more than that for conveyancing…

For those who are buying a property up to £500,000, stamp duty is not due on the first £300,000 of the purchase price. Don’t forget that this is only applicable to first time buyers and not those second or third steppers.

We found a really article here on the BBC website that helps explain this in more detail.


What Do You Do Next?

If you are looking to buy your first home, come in and see us or give us a call to discuss the process. You could spend hours researching online but we are on hand to help you.

Trust your local estate agent!

We understand the stresses and strains of buying and selling property. We see it everyday and we appreciate that some people are given the wrong information. We are in the business, we see the trends and we have the experience to help you every step of the way.

We hope this blog has been useful and feel free to share this with your friends.




Benefits Of Using An Independent Agent To Sell Your Property



Benefits Of Using An Independent Agent To Sell Your Property

The property industry has changed over the past 20 years. I would say that the industry has evolved as technology has grown through the years. However, when it comes to selling your home, is it all about the technology? I’m afraid not.

In this week’s blog, we are looking at the benefits of selling your property with a local independent estate agent as opposed to using a corporate agent or even selling online.

Technology Is Key To Selling Property

One fact that you may not be aware of is that 90% of people will start their property search online. Whether this is through using social media, online portals like Rightmove and Zoopla or even through looking for property using search engines. (This is where we get lots of website traffic with people looking for properties in Godmanchester).

So, we need to ensure that we are utilising every resource available to us. As an independent estate agent, we have complete control over what resources we utilise and are not governed by a head office as to what we can use. As people are becoming more tech savvy, they need information at their fingertips and this is where our online presence will help you when it comes to selling. Your property is not only listed on the portals but also on our website within a matter of hours from being given instructions. The properties are uploaded by estate agents and not someone in an admin department.

An Experienced Agent Is On Hand

The process of buying and selling property can be complicated. Very rarely do we see a sale proceed to a successful exchange and completion without a few complications. Unfortunately, some of these are out of our control but having the experience to deal with these issues will give you the re-assurance you need to see your sale / purchase go through as smooth as possible. There are no restrictions on which conveyancer or mortgage advisor you can use as well. However, we can give you several recommendations.

It is not only the ‘after sale’ service that we offer. When it comes to the day to day marketing of a property, many estate agents will purely let the portals do the hard work for them. Here at Gatehouse Estates, we have built a reputation for going the extra mile when it comes to selling your property. Often, people tend to move within proximity of where they presently live, so we get to know what people are looking for as and when a new instruction is listed. This local knowledge is a valuable commodity we can offer you from day one.

Local Market, Local Knowledge

So, what is the property market really doing in Godmanchester?

This is an important aspect for you to consider when it comes to choosing your estate agent. What real ‘hands-on’ experience do they have in local market conditions? (ie not just what stats the portals will tell you!).

Getting the price right from the start plays an important part of whether you are looking to move in the next 3 months or maybe 12 months. This may sound like an obvious statement to make but you will be surprised with some of the prices that are quoted by estate agents daily.

We have seen a high number of properties listed by other estate agents where the price is 15-20% too high. This means that the property is likely to be sitting on the market for several months. If you have a property to move to or are faced with time constraints, this is not the marketing strategy you should be adopting.

Knowing the local market and realistic valuations are key elements to our marketing strategy. A property listed should be marketed to sell, not be advertised for months on end.

Tough Market? A Lot Has Happened In The Last 12 Months

Brexit. Interest Rates and now we have Christmas just around the corner.

As a local estate agent, we have dealt with the changes the property market has thrown at us over the last 20+ years. We have witnessed various trends to the housing market and each time adapted accordingly to ensure we are providing the right advice to our clients.

Our experience in the local property market means that when there are fluctuations in the national market, we can apply these to the local market and pass this valuable advice down the line to our clients.

Online Estate Agency? Yes or No.

We cannot hide away from the fact that people are using online estate agents more and more. However, low fees tend to only bring one thing. You do a lot of the work yourself!

This kind of defeats the object of employing the services of an estate agent to sell your home. All you are asking them to do is advertise your property. We carry out the viewings, deal with the negotiations, manage the day to day marketing and enquiries and then, once we have agreed a sale on your property, handle the after-sale process through to exchange and completion.

Our job is not done until the day your buyer walks in to collect the keys on completion day….. whenever that may be.

Why Gatehouse?

An independent estate agent can offer you a more localised personal service from start to finish. You are dealing with local people who know the local property market inside out. Not agents who do not live in Godmanchester.

We are regularly involved in local events for the community and charity fundraisers. This is important to us as this helps our community grow.

If you are thinking of selling your property in Godmanchester, choose your local independent agent who can offer you a personalised service to suit your needs.


blog by Phillip Malley, Partner – Gatehouse Estates.
63 Cambridge Street, Godmanchester – 01480 434290


Choose Gatehouse Estates if you are thinking of selling.

Another house sold by Gatehouse Estates in GodmanchesterIf you are thinking of selling, especially if you live in Godmanchester or the surrounding villages then please choose Gatehouse Estates for a free, no obligation, up to date & honest valuation or your property.

We are a local, independent company with global marketing and great service.

Read reviews about Phillip and the team by clicking here

Phillip Malley - Partner

Phillip Malley

t:  01480 434290
m: 07802 346121



Common questions about valuations from Gatehouse

  • How long will it take? About 20 minutes on average.
  • Is it really free? Yes, we do not charge for a verbal valuation and you are not obligated in anyway.
  • What do you need to know? Just your name & address, we’ll do the homework before the appointment.
  • Can you do evenings or weekends? Yes, it’s nice to see a house in daylight but whenever you are free.
  • Any hard sell? Nope, just a valuation and any questions answered that you may have.
  • Loads of phone calls afterwards? No, come back to us when you are ready.

If you have any other questions give Phillip a call and ask him or e-mail

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Retirement flats in Godmanchester

In Godmanchester we have The Chestnuts on West Street, a custom built retirement development for the over 55’s with river frontage and easy access to all of Godmanchester’s amenities. There are a selection of various sized one & two bedroom flats, some with balconies. There is allocated & guest parking, a patio area and communal gardens down to the river. The Chestnuts has a house manager, a 24 hour emergency ‘Careline’ system, a resident’s lounge & kitchenette, a laundry room, weekly visiting hairdressers and a guest suite available to hire.

To see our current availablity of flats in The Chestnuts in Godmanchester – click here

Flats in The Chestnuts in Godmanchester a custom built retirement complex with river frontage

Flats in The Chestnuts in Godmanchester a custom built retirement complex with river frontage

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