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Inheritance tax and your home – Cheltenham properties are generally valuable and so this may affect an individual’s Inheritance tax liability. The government is always searching for new or indirect ways to tax us, but in 2017 they provided a giveaway in the form of residence nil rate band (RNRB).

 

In addition to  inheritance tax (IHT) standard nil rate band (currently £325,000); a RNRB has been introduced from 6 April 2017. This is available when a residential property is left to direct descendants.

Initially, the RNRB was set at £100,000 but increases by £25,000 each year until it reaches £175,000 in April 2020. Just like the standard nil rate band, any unused RNRB on the first death of a married couple or civil partners has the potential to be transferable even if the first death occurred before 6 April 2017.

However, the RNRB does come with conditions attached and so may not be available – or available in full – to everyone.

Some of the factors that will affect the availability and use of the RNRB:

Qualifying residential interest

  • The RNRB can be used only by those who held a ‘qualifying residential interest’ at some time during their lifetime. Simply, they need to own or have part ownership of a property that was their residence at some point during the period of ownership.
  • The RNRB cannot be offset against other properties owned by the deceased; for example, buy-to-let or investment properties. However, if the deceased has two qualifying residential interests, then the personal representatives can nominate which property will utilise the RNRB. It cannot be divided across two properties.
  • Any individuals who do not own their home will be unable to utilise the RNRB as they will not have a qualifying residential interest (although the RNRB may still be available in some cases – for example where the deceased ‘downsized’ or sold a property to move into residential care on or after 8 July 2015).
  • It will also affect those that have released equity from their property as it is the net value of the home that will be used, so the value of any outstanding loan against the property will have to be deducted from the value to arrive at the net value to be used.

Descendants

  • In order to pass on a qualifying residential interest and use the RNRB, the property needs to be ‘closely inherited’. This means that the property must be passed to direct descendants.
  • Direct descendants include children, grandchildren and any remoter descendants together with their spouses or civil partners, including their widow(er) or surviving civil partner who has not remarried or entered into a new civil partnership. It also includes a step, adopted or fostered child or a child to which the deceased was appointed as a guardian or a special guardian when the child was under 18.
  • Direct descendant doesn’t include nephews, nieces, siblings and other relatives who aren’t included in the list above.
  • If an individual, a married couple or civil partners do not have any direct descendants that qualify, they will be unable to use the RNRB.
  • If a qualifying residential interest is placed into a discretionary will trust, it will not qualify for the RNRB, even if the beneficiaries are limited to direct descendants. However, if the trustees appoint the qualifying residential interest out to direct descendants, within two years, the RNRB could potentially be claimed.
  • Alternatively, if a qualifying residential interest is placed into a bare trust or interest in possession will trust (amongst others), it will qualify for the RNRB provided the beneficiaries are direct descendants.

 We suggest you seek independent tax advice if you want more detailed information - for guide purposes only.

Historically autumn is a busy time for the market. Make sure your home is ready for viewings.

Autumn is traditionally one of the busiest times of the year for sales because most people have got their summer holiday out of the way and children have returned to school. Between the middle of August and the end of October is historically one of the most fruitful times for sellers.

In addition to the fundamental importance of marketing your property at the right price(ask Charterhouse for a free valuation), here are some tips on maximizing the chance of a sale during this time:

Ensure your home looks fresh. Freshen up any decoration, get rid of any worn out carpet or flooring and tidy any clutter that children have left around during the school holidays.

A garden is always a selling point for any property so make sure it is well-kept. Ensure that the lawn is cut and that all borders are weeded. If your garden lacks some autumn colour, buy seasonal plants to add life and character.

Tubs and baskets provide instant colour to any garden or property. Even if your property has limited outside space, often there is still room for an attractive tub or a pretty hanging basket. These floral decorations can provide excellent first impressions which offer an attractive feel to your property even before the viewer has stepped through the front door.

The upkeep and maintenance of communal gardens can be an issue for flats or terraced properties. If your property has shared gardens, spend a few hours before the property is photographed to ensure it looks neat and tidy. Try to encourage friendly neighbours to do their bit too.

By the middle of October most deciduous trees are shedding their leaves in preparation for the onset of winter. Be sure to collect these and get rid of them before any viewings are due to take place.

Make sure your property takes full advantage of any natural light on offer. Clean the windows, make sure curtains and blinds are all in working order and allow in as much sunlight as possible. If viewings are going to take place at night, ensure the property is well-lit and that all rooms look welcoming. If you have any outside lighting, make sure this is illuminated prior to the viewing.

Prepare for your viewer’s arrival at your home. As well as having the property well-lit and having a touch of colour from seasonal flowers, ensure there is a fresh doormat, or a place for a conscientious viewer to take off their shoes as soon as they enter the property. Some viewers prefer to wear shoe covers – buy these online and have them ready for the visitors.

Try to make yourself available for viewings during daylight hours or the weekends. Most viewers like to see the house in daylight hours. But with limited light available in the evenings, there is no better time than a sunny Saturday in September or October to show off your home at its best. Professional agents will be able to offer an accompanied viewing service if you are unable to carry out the viewings yourself.

As autumn progresses, the days and nights can become chilly so put your heating on an hour or so before a viewing is due to take place.

Keep the home well ventilated by opening windows a few hours before a viewing, then close the windows and start heating your home approximately one hour before.

Many sellers think that the autumn is a poor time to sell their home but historically there has always been a lot of activity after the summer holidays and before the onset of winter. 

A reminder of Stamp Duty rates.

 

Purchase price of property

Rate of Stamp Duty

Buy to Let/ Additional Home Rate*

£0 - £125,000

0%

3%

£125,001 - £250,000

2%

5%

£250,001 - £925,000

5%

8%

£925,001 - £1,500,000

10%

13%

 First Time Buyers

Autumn Budget 2017: Stamp duty axed for most first-time buyers. First-time buyers will pay zero stamp duty on the first £300,000 of any home that costs up to £500,000 with immediate effect, the Chancellor announced in today's Autumn Budget. This means on a home worth less than £300,000, you'll pay no stamp duty.

 

House prices in the UK increased by 3.7% year on year in August compared and were also up month on month by 0.1%, the latest lender index shows.

The data from the Halifax also reveals that on quarterly basis prices rose by 1.9%, taking the average price of a home to £229,958.

Russell Galley, managing director of the Halifax, pointed out that the annual rate of growth increased from 3.3% in July. "While the pace of employment growth has recently slowed, a low unemployment rate and a gradual pickup in wage growth are helping to support household finances," he said.

"This has been accompanied by interest rates still remaining at a historically low rate and a stable, yet constrained supply of new homes onto the market, further supporting house prices".

 

HMRC figures show that the estimated SDLT receipts for the third quarter of 2017 were up 23% year-on-year to £2.6bn.

This represented 251,000 residential transactions, up 7% on the third quarter of 2016.

The number of residential transactions liable for Stamp Duty increased across all price bands.

Stamp Duty from purchases with a transaction value under £250,000 in the third quarter were up 2% year-on-year to 129,800, while those between £250,000 and £500,000 were 11% higher at 89,000.

The number of liable transactions over £500,000 also increased, with 26,700 up to £1m and 5,500 above £1m.

Of the total 251,000 sales liable to Stamp Duty, 65,300 were for additional properties, accounting for £1.09bn of the quarterly total.

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