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First time buyer changes to Stamp Duty: FAQ

On 22nd November 2017 the rules regarding Stamp Duty for first time buyers changed. We're answering some of the questions arising from the Stamp Duty exemption for first time buyers.

First time buyer changes to Stamp Duty: FAQ
First time buyers will be exempt from paying Stamp Duty on properties up to £300,000, and if buying a property worth up to £500,000, they will only pay Stamp Duty on the amount over £300,000.

However, there are still some specific details regarding eligibility. Here are some of the questions people are asking.

I’m a first time buyer - we’ve exchanged but not completed so do I still need to pay?

This comes into play when you have completed the sale, so if you exchanged before 22nd November but have not yet completed, you will qualify for the Stamp Duty exemption.

I’m a first time buyer, but my partner owns a Buy To Let property - are we eligible?
No, unless you are solely buying the property in your name. Both partners buying the property need to be first time buyers.

I sold a property 5 years ago and don’t own anything. Does that make me a first time buyer?
No, if you have owned a property before, even if you don’t now, you are not an FTB.

I inherited a place in France but have no property in England - do I qualify?
Inheriting property, even abroad means you are not eligible. Also if you bought property abroad you cannot qualify.

I’m a first time buyer selling in Scotland and buying in England - do I qualify? What if I sell in England and buy in Scotland?
If you are selling in Scotland and buying in England, then you have previously owned property and cannot be eligible. If you are selling in England and buying in Scotland, you will not qualify for the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) exemption available in Scotland.

I own commercial premises, but not a home. Am I a first time buyer?
If you own commercial property but not a dwelling, you are a first time buyer and are eligible.

I want to buy with my partner, but I live elsewhere – are we eligible?
If you are aiming to live with your partner when you buy the property, you qualify. If both your names will be on the deeds, but you will not be living in the property, you cannot qualify.

I live in Wales – can I apply?
Afraid not - from April 1st 2018 Wales are changing the SDLT to the Land Transaction Tax, which has different rates to Stamp Duty. There is no exemption for first time buyers in the Welsh system, however the threshold starts at £180,000 so if you buy a property below that price you will not pay Land Transaction Tax anyway.

I live in Scotland - is there an exemption?

Scotland uses Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) and there is an exemption available from June 2018 - if you're buying a property under the value of £175,000 you won't pay LBTT. If your property price is higher than that, you won't pay on the first £175,000 and then will pay regular rates after that.

Add any questions you have about the first time buyer Stamp Duty changes, and we’ll answer them as soon as possible.

Comments (3)

  • Paul

    posted on 1 May 2018

    If I am English but now live in the US and intend to buy a but-to-let property in the UK but have never owned a property in the UK or abroad am I entitled to the first time buyers stamp duty exemption?

    Reallymoving response

    Hi Paul,
    The exemption for first time buyers only applies to properties you intend to live in. It would not be applicable for a buy to let property.
    All the best,


    posted on 9 Jun 2019

    I am English, my husband is Brazilian. He has never bought a house but his parents put his name on a house in Brazil as a means of inheritance. They have usufruct and reside in the property, so he doesn't get any rent etc for the property. Are we still eligible to pay stamp duty?

    Reallymoving response

    Hi Jade,
    The Stamp Duty rules for first time buyer state that if you own a home abroad, you are not eligible for the first time buyer exemption. Unfortunately, even though your husband's parents live in the property and he does not receive any rent, it's likely that because his name is on the deeds, he will not qualify for a first time buyer exemption.

    Best of luck with your move,


    posted on 1 Sep 2019

    I inherited a small low value retirement flat which was sold for probate. My name was never on the deeds and I never lived there, would I still be considered a first time buyer?

    Reallymoving response

    Hi Sacha,

    This is a really interesting question. In general, if you've inherited a property you will no longer be considered a first time buyer and that means paying Stamp Duty. However, it is worth double checking this with a solicitor or licensed conveyancer.
    Kind regards,


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