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.




Selling a house or flat to a buy to let investor

With Gatehouse Estate selling your property, whether it be a house or flat to a buy to let investor is easy. As one of the areas leading Property Management Companies we have lots of contact with Buy to Let investors, some of which are already existing landlords of our, but all looking to buy more houses or flats to rent out.

Buy to Let is popular with investors because the returns can be much higher than having cash sat in the bank so don’t assume just because we call them investors they won’t pay the full market value for your house or flat. Often buy to let buyers are great to sell to because they are chain free, less mortgage dependent than first time buyers and not as naive to the house buying and selling process and not emotionally attached to the property.

If you are thinking of selling a small house or flat in the general Cambridgeshire area then we will almost certainly have buy to let investors that will be interested. Call us to discuss further on 01480 434290.


How to sell a one bedroom house or flat.

If you are thinking of selling a one bedroom house or flat then you may think with a huge drop in first time buyers that you may struggle.

As one of the areas largest Property Management Agents we have a lots of clients looking to expand their Buy to Let portfolios and are actively searching for one bedroom houses or flats.

If you would like us to offer your one bedroom house or flat for sale to our investors please call us on 01480 434290 or e-mail:

The moment we say investor people assume they won’t achieve full market value and this is simply not the case. Buy to Let investors are looking at a long time return from you one bedroom house or flat by letting it to tenants for a monthly income.

If you imagine the value of a one bedroom house to be £100,000 for argument’s sake and a buy to let investor lets to tenants who pay £500 per month the return on their investment could be as high as 6%. When you compare the low interest paid on savings in the bank then you can see why their is a strong demand for your one bedroom house or flat.

Using Gatehouse Estates is ideal for seller and buy to let buyer because we have the contacts selling is often straight forward, secure and chain free. From a buyers point of view we have tenants searching daily for property so can have it let sooner.

For any advice of selling, buying, buy to let or letting your one bedrooms house or flat and buying somewhere else please contact us on 01480 434290.

Foreign Exchange Services for Businesses

best currency exchange ratesCorporate financial controllers, relieve yourself of some of the financial burden today.

If you are the financial controller in your business, you may be interested to know that many corporate clients are using a relatively small foreign exchange company and are retaining more of their profits today, than their competitors.


They are using the services of a specialist currency conversion business to buy, or sell, their currency in a pre-planned manner. By doing this, the currency service provider is managing to shave off large amounts of profit that their usual fx supplier makes.

Because the currency exchange company only converts currency for physical delivery, they trade considerable volume every day. Because they trade large currency volume, they can buy at a discounted rate from their treasury provider, in this case, Barclays Bank.

Bottom line? …. Buy your currency through a FX dealer who buys in bulk and use their discount to get a much better rate than at your own bank.

Most businesses don’t have the time to consider how much of a difference it would make to their bottom-line if they used a foreign exchange dealer, other than their bank. One phone call, or email, could save thousands on each transaction.

  • Easy Online registration
  • Dedicated corporate dealers
  • Client segregated accounts
  • Competitive transfer fees, in some cases, no charge.
  • Inbound & outbound payments
  • No contractual obligations

More information on FAQ’s for corporate foreign exchange transfers here.

Save your company money and make life easier.

Currency Rates

Currency Exchange and Currency transfers for your Property Purchase Abroad.

The Foreign Currency Exchange market is the world’s largest financial market, in excess of 1.5 trillion US dollars are being exchanged daily.

The process of Foreign currency exchange transfers couldn’t be easier. and as most services – money transfer is a free service with our Foreign Exchange partner.

However, be aware that some companies make charges for transfering money abroad.

Here is a simple 3 step guide:

Step 1. Open an account

Complete an application form and ensure you have usually two forms of ID: (1) photographic (2) proof of residence.

Step 2. Buy your currency

Speak to a currency dealer and they will give you the current market rate. If you are happy with the quotation they will buy the currency on your behalf. This trade is usually confirmed in writing by way of a deal receipt and usually provides instructions on how, when, and where to make payment for your currency.

Step 3. Get your currency

Once cleared funds are received by your dealer, they will promptly transfer your exchanged currency to any bank account of your choice, worldwide, the same day.

Other than just choosing any particular day to exchange your money, you could choose other dates to make the currency exchange. It may be that you have decided to buy a new property that won’t need the final balance to be paid until 18 month’s time. In this case, it may suit you to do a ‘spot deal’ today for the deposit and arrange for a ‘forward deal’ for the final balance. By doing this, you will have just ‘fixed’ the purchase price to your home currency and will have ensured that you don’t get caught out by a weakening home currency, or a strengthening one in the country of your purchase. This can save people thousands.

Here are 4 basic types of transaction:

Spot Contract
A spot contract is undertaken when you buy currency at the prevailing exchange rate at the time of the transaction and make payment within two working days. This transaction is typically used for deposit payments on property or for full payment if the funds to pay for the transaction are available.

Forward Currency Contracts
A forward contract is undertaken when you fix the exchange rate now for a specific date from one to 24 months in the future. As an example, your final payment for a home abroad may be the equivalent of £100,000. You could fix that exchange rate today with a small deposit, and pay for the bulk of that transaction at the completion of the forward contract. To guarantee the exchange rate, private clients will have to pay for at least 10% of the value straight away (a margin deposit) and the balance on or before the maturity of the contract.

Time-Option Forward Contracts
You may also reserve a time-option forward contract. This contract allows greater flexibility in paying. For example, a property developer may give you a date of December 2008 as an approximate completion date but may tell you it could take a bit longer. Your dealer may recommend that you set a date for your forward contract of February 2009 and you are free to settle that contract anytime before the maturity date with no penalty.

Limit Order
Limit Orders allow a client to set the rate at that which they would like to exchange their currency. Our foreign Exchange partner will monitor the market for you and if the rate can be achieved, we will purchase the currency on your behalf. We would then notify you of the due date for your payment. This is particularly important for contracts of substantial value where a small currency fluctuation may have huge implications.
Getting Started

If you would like further information please call our Private Client Desk on 01480 458400. You may also register online with us. We will contact you to activate your account. In order to complete the registration process, we require two forms of identification. Please also provide us with a copy of your passport or driving licence and a utility bill, council tax bill or landline telephone bill with your address.

currency conversion by professionals

The value of your foreign currency can be fixed for a given period ahead. If you don’t wish to transfer your money now, you can book the rate of exchange now, for a date ahead.

To discuss how best to make a currency exchange into euros at the best rate, talk to a foreign currency exchange specialist. visit fx-foreignexchange,

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