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Q&A: an interview with property expert, Toby Phillips

We interview Toby Phillips, Managing Director at Countrywide, on his property tips and predictions for 2021

Following parliament's debate on extending the Stamp Duty holiday, we’ve asked Toby Phillips, Divisional Managing Director at Countywide with over 25 years’ experience in Estate Agency, your most asked questions.

What would an extension to the Stamp Duty tax holiday mean for the broader property market?

It’s predicted that 100,000 sales are likely to miss the deadline if it is not extended (Rightmove)This is concerning news. If it is extended, we could see a surge in demand for new homes which could result in an increase in house prices as the year progresses. In addition, I am hopeful that this extra activity will also provide a further boost to our economy through all businesses connected to moving home. This would also be a renewed opportunity for any potential buyers who stalled their moving plans to think about restarting their property search. 

Whatever the outcome, buyers (ours included) can take comfort that we, as a team, will do all we can to complete their sale quickly. 

What advice would you give to someone worried about moving at this time?

Very simply, if you are thinking of moving, don’t delay. I want to reassure people that there continues to be a huge demand for properties and plenty of opportunity for those investing. 

Can property viewings and valuations continue safely?

Absolutely. Agents can now provide virtual viewings which should be used whenever possible to help limit the number of physical viewings you need to arrange. As a company, we are also now offering in-depth virtual valuations for those of you who would like to have your homes valued remotely. There is a lot of technology being employed to enable you to continue to move safely during this time. Please do ensure your agent is making this available to you. 

Do you have any tips to help buyers progress sales quickly in the current climate?

Yes. Know what you are looking for and be financially ready to place an offer when the right property comes along. Have a trusted solicitor on hand who will be ready to progress your sale. It helps when your agent can recommend financial and conveyancing services which are in-house (like ours are). This means you can save time shopping around and have everything managed under one roof. 

One last important tip - make it clear from the outset with your agent when placing your offer what your timeline and expectations are. They should be working to ensure you can move swiftly and safely.

What about sellers? Do you have any advice for sellers looking to sell quickly?

Yes. My advice would be not to delay. It’s more important than ever to get your property valued at the right price and marketed for sale online quickly to take advantage of this surge in buyer activity. Your chosen agent should provide you with the right marketing strategy, tools and extras to ensure you have the best chance of selling. Do they offer specialist marketing to help your property sell quicker?  It’s more important than ever to find yourself a good agent who can help you sell your home by understanding your timescales and needs. If they can’t meet them, it may be time to switch.

Long term, could you foresee the Government scrapping Stamp Duty altogether?

We can be hopeful, but Stamp Duty tax has been in place since the 1950s, so I think our chances are slim. This is why, for anyone thinking of moving, the current tax holiday really has been a great opportunity. 

Any other predictions for the housing market in 2021?

For me, it is incredibly important that we take one day at a time as things are continually changing. We’ve seen a very positive start to 2021, with increased demand, high house prices, and more buyers coming to market. We need to make sure we work together and follow the latest Government advice so everyone can continue to move safely throughout 2021.

If you have any further questions about the property market, feel free to contact us at your local branch. 

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