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Not everybody has the luxury of wealthy parents to help them buy their first home and with house prices usually going up faster than wages, the government has stepped in to help first time buyers and to a certain extent, house builders. There are currently two schemes available, equity loans and a help to buy ISAs. For the equity loan, the government will lend you up to 20% of the property value (capped at £600,000 for the total purchase price) interest free for five years. All you need do is find a 5% deposit and arrange a mortgage for the remaining 75%. If you’re in London, they will lend...

The Government has hit landlords hard over the past 12 months with changes to the tax they pay and can claim back. Here we outline the tax rules which landlords need to consider. Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) From 1 April 2016 anyone purchasing an additional residential property (that is not their only or main residence) for £40,000 or more must pay an extra three per cent stamp duty above the current Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) residential rates. The current rates mean that you pay SDLT on increasing portions of the property price above £125,000 when you buy residential property. For instance,...

Home identity scams are becoming more frequently reported in the mainstream media, with multiple prominent cases recently coming to light. In a recent high profile property fraud case, Laylah De Cruz and her mother, Dianne Moorcroft, duped property professionals into a fraudulent application for a £1.2 million bridging loan on a vacant home in Kensington. On 16 January, both were found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by Southwark Crown Court and are currently awaiting sentencing. Dianne Moorcroft changed her name by deed poll and posed as the registered proprietor of the home. She...

Rightmove has released its latest analysis of the 2016 rental market and what they expect in 2017 to look like. In 2016, outside of London recorded rental increases of 3% with inner London seeing a 5.2% drop in asking prices and outer London seeing a more modest 2.5% decrease in asking prices. The decrease in London was due to more availability of stock as around 32% more properties came onto the market when landlords rushed to beat the stamp duty hikes that came into force in April. The main winners for 2016 in rental increases were Swansea with an 11.4% annual increase in asking prices...

“Tax doesn’t have to be taxing” was the strapline for an advertising campaign run by Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs (HMRC) not so long ago. Unfortunately for many of us around this time of year it is taxing both financially and mentally. With around two weeks left to go until the 31st January deadline to file your tax, it’s important to get it right. To help make life easier for you, HMRC has set up a webpage detailing what you need to know and do. Most importantly, it tells you what records you should be keeping, what expenses you can claim for and what you can’t. It also runs through...

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