One week to go

Today it is exactly one week until we get the keys to our new house! Time has gone by so quickly, and I cannot wait to be in our new home and all settled in. Unfortunately, a lot of work will be involved before we can really relax but hopefully we will be able to enjoy most of our Christmas break.

We will get the keys on 12 December and the plan is to move that evening, after N. finishes work. Two of his colleagues will help us move and we will get to use the company van so that is fantastic for us! We started packing last weekend and I hope we will be done with the majority of the work by the end of this weekend.

Both of us have to work next week, although I don’t work on Fridays, so I will be able to pick up the keys once we get the call from the solicitor. I think the next two weeks will continue to be stressful, and I am counting the days until the move is done and we start our Christmas break. We are both off work for 2 weeks over Christmas starting the 19th and I can’t wait! I do enjoy my new job a lot more than my previous one, but the past few weeks have been stressful for both of us.

Over the past week we have made tons of purchases for the new house. With the Black Friday offers on Amazon and in other shops, we have managed to get some amazing deals and save a tonne of money! We bought a new king size bed, a new mattress for our current bed (which will go into the guest bedroom), towels and bathmats, new pillows and a duvet, a lawnmower, a new combi microwave and some other things. We still spent a fortune but we managed to save over 50% of the RRP on average.

Another amazing thing happened on Wednesday. The British Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced changes to the way stamp duty is calculated.

For those not familiar with stamp duty in the UK:

Stamp duty is a tax that is due when you buy property. So far, it was calculated as a percentage of the purchase price of your house. For houses up to £125,000, you didn’t have to pay anything. From £125,001 to £250,000, it was 1% of the purchase price. So for a house you paid £200,000 for, stamp duty would be £2,000. At a purchase price of £250,001, the percentage increased from 1% to 3%. I think you can see where the problem lies. If your house cost £250,000, you would have paid £2,500 in stamp duty. Pay £250,001 for the house, just one pound more, and you’d be liable for £7,503 in stamp duty. It was completely ridiculous and disproportionate how a small difference in the purchase price could cost you several grand extra in stamp duty. The new system is progressive and works like income tax, i.e. only the amount between £125,001 and £250,000 is now taxed at 2%, while the first £125,000 are not taxed. It means that there won’t be any big jumps in stamp duty just because your purchase price is just barely in the higher percentage bracket. Much fairer, isn’t it? The only people who will not benefit from the new system are people buying a house of a purchase price of £950,000 or more, as stamp duty will be higher for them under the new system.

The new system is effective as of yesterday and also applies to people who have already exchanged contracts but not completed (= exchanged money and keys) – people like us! So what does this mean for us? We are actually going to pay £600 less in stamp duty under the new system. How lucky is that! It really couldn’t have come at a better time!

So all in all, things are still coming along nicely. I hope there won’t be any hiccups during the last week before we complete, but it’s all looking good. I’m keeping my fingers crossed things will continue to go well.

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