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Big or small, the villages in England are always a treat. From St. Ives to Castle Coombe, we’ve all seen their many wonders. But what if you’re looking for an experience that’s off the beaten path? We’ve found some of the most charming villages in the UK that you migh never have heard of and one you will have if you live in Devon ! 

1. Cerne Abbas, Dorset

Cerne Abbas is a Dorset treasure that’s certainly worth a visit. Located along the River Cerne, the village grew up around an abbey and is known for its lovely architecture and the ‘rude giant’ that features in its fields. 

2. Hellidon, Northamptonshire

A quaint village in Northamptonshire, Hellidon is perfect for those searching for a quiet retreat. Try one of the many country walks, or if you fancy something a bit sportier, the pool and spa just outside the village is the perfect way to spend an afternoon.


3. Saltaire, West Yorkshire

Saltaire is a town next to the River Aire that developed around a Salt Mill in the nineteenth century. The mill has now been converted into an art space and a shopping arcade. Walking through the town can make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. 

4. Framlingham, Suffolk

This market town is full of history and mystery. First known for its connections to the Howard family of Tudor fame, Framlingham is the birthplace of many other notable Brits such as Ed Sheeran. The ‘Castle on the Hill’ referenced in Sheeran’s hit single is a must-see.  

5. Presteigne, Wales

Presteigne is a town right on the border between England and Wales. It’s surrounded by stunning untouched countryside, which makes it perfect for a rural retreat, but that’s not all Presteigne has to offer. There’s a vibrant high street and cultural centre, and the annual Presteigne Music Festival is an internationally known event that’s not to be missed. 

6. St Mawes, Cornwall

A fishing village situated on the end of the Roseland peninsula, St Mawes is one of the most picturesque villages you’ve never heard of. It’s almost completely surrounded by the sea, which means that the views are spectacular. The community is known for its close ties and welcoming nature, making it a real Cornish gem. 

7. Aysgarth, Yorkshire

Aysgarth is located in part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It’s home to Aysgarth Falls, one of Britain’s loveliest waterfalls, which featured in the film Robin Hood.

8. Higher Bockhampton, Dorset

Higher Bockhampton is tucked deep into the Dorset countryside, surrounded by rolling hills and high hedges. This village is the setting of Thomas Hardy’s first five books and is where Hardy was born. You can even visit Hardy’s cottage, which is now a National Trust property. 

9. Hutton-le-Hole, North Yorkshire

It doesn’t get more English than this North Yorkshire village. There’s a lovely quiet stream, plenty of pubs, and moorland sheep graze throughout the village. It’s the perfect ice cream picnic spot during the summer months. 

10. Lustleigh, Devon

Lustleigh might be the most picturesque village in England. It’s one of Devon’s most well-maintained villages. Thatched cottages surround a 13th century church, bookended by the Primrose Tea Rooms and a village shop. Have a pint at the pub while you watch a cricket match on the local pitch. 

Are you looking for a home in one of these hidden gems? Contact your local Guild Agent Sawdye & Harris today. 


Landlords did you know that HMRC have lots of online help available to you? The Letting out Property online course explains the changes which introduced cash basis for landlords, the use of the mileage rate method for claiming motoring expenses and provides information on income tax relief on residential finance costs. It even explains how Capital Gains Tax affects you. They've even set up an Income from Property Forum.

For more information click below:


 If you are a Landlord and need help on renting your property just call Sawdye & Harris on 01364 652652.


Stamp Duty & Land Tax Explained

When it comes to bying a home, there are a lot of expenses you need to take into consideration. Along with legal costs and agent fees, it is likely that you will also have to pay stamp duty or land tax.

Here is everything you need to know about how land tax works and how much you will have to pay on your next home.


What is Stamp Duty?

Stamp Duty - or Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) in official terms - is charged to buyers in England and Northern Ireland when purchasing a residential property or piece of land, that costs more than £125,000, or £300,000 for first-time buyers. This tax applies to both freehold and leasehold properties – whether you’re buying outright or with a mortgage.

How much is Stamp Duty?

Stamp Duty is calculated based on the value of the home. The table below explains how the rate you pay varies depending on the price of the property.

Purchase price

Stamp Duty percentage

£0 - £125,000


£125,001 - £250,000


£250,001 - £925,000


£925,001 - £1.5m


£1.5m +


To help make sense of the price brackets, if you bought a property for £350,000 for example, the Stamp Duty payable would be 0% on the first £125,000, 2% on the second £125,000 (£2,500), and 5% on the final £100,000 (£5,000) – so in total you would pay £7,500.

It is important to keep in mind that a higher rate of stamp duty applies to the purchase of additional properties like buy-to-lets and second homes costing more than £40,000. 

You can use HM Revenue & Customs Stamp Duty calculator to work out how much tax you will need to pay.

What if I’m a first-time buyer?

Following the 2017 Autumn Budget, Stamp Duty has been scrapped for first time buyers in England and Northern Ireland, on properties up to the value of £300,000.

A reduced rate of tax will be applied for properties up to £500,000, where first time buyers will pay 5% tax on the difference.

So, to break it down, this means that if you’re purchasing your first home at a cost of £350,000, the Stamp Duty payable would be 0% on the first £300,000, and 5% on the remaining £50,000 (£2,500) – so in total you would pay just £2,500.

How and when do I pay Stamp Duty?

Stamp Duty must be paid to HMRC within 30 days of taking possession of your new property. In most cases your solicitor or conveyancer should be able to help you with this but if not, you will need to contact HMRC directly to make the payment.

HMRC accept several different payment methods including by phone, online at your bank or building society, at the post office or you can pay by cheque.

If you fail to make payment within 30 days, HMRC may charge you a penalty fee and/or interest.

Are there any exemptions?

You may be eligible for tax relief in certain situations, which can reduce the amount you pay.

For example, Stamp Duty doesn’t apply if you have been left a property in a will or receive it as a gift – however other taxes might apply (such as inheritance tax). You will also be exempt if the property has been transferred to you following a divorce, separation or the end of a civil partnership.

Visit the website for the full list of Stamp Duty exemptions.



What is Land and Building Transaction Tax?

In Scotland, when you buy a property or a piece of land that costs more than £145,000 you will pay Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) instead of Stamp Duty.

How much is land tax in Scotland?

Land tax in Scotland, like in the rest of the UK, is calculated on a percentage basis, however the thresholds are slightly different. The below table sets out the tax percentage you will pay for each price band.

Property Cost

Tax Percentage

£0 - £145,000


£145,001 - £250,000


£250,001 - £325,000


£325,001 - £750,000


£750,000 +


It is important to note that an Additional Dwelling Supplement tax applies to the purchase of buy-to-let properties and second homes of £40,000 or more.

You can work out the amount of LBTT you will need to pay on your next residential property purchase with Revenue Scotland’s tax calculator.

How and when do I pay LBTT?

Your solicitor will usually make the arrangements for your LBTT to be paid, however if they don’t, land tax returns can be submitted using Revenue Scotland's online portal, or manually by completing a paper LBTT form and paying by cheque. Revenue Scotland do not accept payment over the telephone or by cash.

If you fail to make payment within 30 days of taking possession of your new property, you will be charged a penalty fee. Full details of how to make a payment can be found here.

Are there any exemptions?

There are several types of land transactions which are specifically exempt from LBTT or that offer tax relief.

If a piece of land or a building has been gifted, or the ownership transferred to you (like in a will for example) you will not have to pay land tax. You will also be exempt if the property has been transferred to you as a result of divorce, separation or the end of a civil partnership.

Take a look at the Revenue Scotland website for the full list of LBTT exemptions.



What is Land Transaction Tax?

From April 2018, Land Transaction Tax, or LLT for short, replaced UK Stamp Duty and is the levy all buyers must pay when purchasing a property in Wales costing more than £180,000. 

How much is land tax in Wales?

Land tax in Wales, like in the rest of the UK, is calculated on a percentage basis, however the thresholds are slightly different. The below table sets out the tax percentage you will pay for each price band.

Purchase price

Stamp Duty percentage

£0 - £180,000


£180,001 - £250,000


£250,001 - £400,000


£400,001 - £750,000


£750,001 - £1.5m


£1.5m +



Higher rates of Land Transaction Tax on purchases of additional residential properties (including second homes) came into effect on 1 April 2016. The LTT higher rates are 3% on top of the main residential rates, which means, if you buy a second home for £260,000 you will pay 3% on the first £180,000, 6.5% on the next £70,000 and 8% on the final £10,000 – the total LTT will be £10,750.

You can calculate the amount of tax you will have to pay using the Welsh Revenue Authority 

How and when do I pay LTT?

Your solicitor should be registered with the Welsh Revenue Authority, who are responsible for collecting Land Transaction Tax, and will be able to make the transfer on your behalf, as part of the conveyancing process.

Are there any exemptions?

There are five transactions which are exempt from LTT, these include acquisitions by the Crown, transactions in connection with a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, and where a property has been gifted.

You can find the full list of LTT exemptions on the Welsh Government website.


Source: NAEA Propertymark


Are you thinking about putting your property on the market, but aren’t sure when or how? It can be difficult to know exactly when you should sell your home. However, there are times and seasons when selling your home is almost certainly the right thing for you. Whether your reasons are personal or market-driven, we’ve identified some of the best times to think seriously about selling your property. 

1. Your family needs more space

Your family may not be expanding, but if the people in your house are growing restless, it’s time to consider a change. As young children grow into young adults, many parents move into properties where each child can have their own room. Adding private spaces and larger rooms can also accommodate your family’s needs, so bear that in mind when you’re looking at properties. Knowing that your family needs more space is a key factor in determining if you should put your home on the market.  

2. Look to the seasons 

The autumn and spring are known for being good times to sell your property, and for good reason. Potential buyers aren’t busy with holidays and Christmas parties during these seasons. The spring coincides with an increase in sunlight and a blooming garden, both of which do wonders for the appearance of your property. In the autumn, the fading light and multicoloured leaves add a romantic touch that’s unparalleled. If you’re selling, try to time putting your home on the market with the beginning of the season. 

3. Your family is expanding 

Whether you’re expecting a child or welcoming a parent, there are plenty of family expansions that will require more room for everyone. If you know that your property won’t be able to accommodate everyone, it’s time to put your home on the market. 

4. You’re not excited to go home at the end of the day 

Is your home a place where you can rest and relax? Do you feel safe in your neighbourhood? These are all signs that it’s time to start looking for a new home. Your home should be a place where you feel comfortable and relaxed, and anything less should have you looking elsewhere.

5. The local property market is flourishing

Have you been toying with the idea of moving for a few years, but never knew when the time was right? Putting your home on the market when it is flourishing will increase your chances of a speedy sale. But how do you know when the market is flourishing? Speak to your local agent and look around your neighbourhood. Are there plenty of sold boards around? This is a good indication of the state of the property market in your area. 

6. You’re considering buying a new property

If you’re thinking of moving house, put your own home on the market first. That way, you’ll be free to make an offer when your dream home comes along. Worried that a buyer won’t want to purchase your house because you haven’t secured another home? Most buyers are very understanding, and will appreciate your honestly if you’re up-front with them about not having found another home. 

If  you are considering selling your home why not contact us now to book your valuation or click here to get an instant online valuation. 


Finding your dream home can be a challenge. If your children have left home or if you have too much space, you might be looking to downsize. What are advantages to downsizing in 2018?

The main reasons to downsize is to release equity, go mortgage free, or to live in an appropriately-sized home. It will also mean lower running costs, which can be very welcome as the cost of living rises.

Recent property price increases mean that homeowners have increased equity, which can make it a great time to downsize and cash-in on your investment.

Downsizing can be difficult because it will mean compromise. If you only want a specific location, you may have to buy a smaller house, or the benefit of off-road parking may mean you can’t get an extra bedroom. What factors are most important to you? Transport links, community atmosphere or more space?

Ultimately, the best time to downsize depends on personal circumstances. Be aware of market conditions, your budget, and be honest about your needs and requirements, otherwise you could stand to lose out financially and emotionally.

Are you thinking of downsizing? Contact your local Guild Member, Sawdye & Harris on 01364 652652 for professional advice or email them by clicking here. 

SOURCE: Guild of Property Professionals

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