With the stamp duty holiday ending in March, here are a few handy tips to keep your property purchase on track.

You need to jump through a few hoops when buying a home. Even if both you and the seller are keen to exchange contracts promptly, there can be delays.

With the Chancellor's stamp duty holiday ending on 31 March 2021, you may have an added incentive to keep your property purchase on track.

So, together with NAEA Propertymark, the professional body for estate agents, we’ve pulled together eight top tips to make buying a home as smooth sailing as possible.

1. Understand the jargon

First of all, get to know the lingo. Arrangement fee? Standard Variable Rate? Mortgage Indemnity Guarantee? There's a fair share of industry terminology involved when it comes to buying a home, so make sure you understand the key terms before you kickstart your property search.

Zoopla's jargon buster will help you out. 

2. Consider selling before buying

If you're already a homeowner, think about selling your property before you start looking for a new one. It is easier to buy a home chain-free, but you need to consider where you will live - and storage costs - in the interim. 

If you're eyeing a new-build home, then a part exchange scheme may be the answer. It allows you to effectively trade in your existing home as part-payment for a new one purchased from a developer or house builder

Get closer to finding the home you love by registering with Zoopla.

3. Get organised

Get your ducks in a row. Speak to a mortgage advisor to confirm your budget and get an agreement in principle. Then work out what you can and can’t afford before you arrange any property viewings.

Also, have all the relevant paperwork ready before you formally apply for a mortgage. Requirements will vary between lenders but they typically include proof of your income and outgoings as well as proof of your identity and address.

Remember that a formal mortgage offer has a shelf life and if you fail to complete the purchase before it expires, you’ll have to start the process again.

4. Ask the seller to take the property off the market

Found your dream home? Make sure one of the conditions of your offer is that the property is taken off the market. It will help prevent another buyer from making an offer the seller can't refuse. 

5. Pick professionals

Work with people you trust. You will rely on a raft of different firms, or individuals, during the home buying process. They will typically include a surveyor, solicitor, and removals company. Ask friends and family for recommendations and hire carefully. 

6. Respond promptly

Be ready to review, fill out, sign and return all documents quickly and efficiently. Your solicitor will no doubt send through a lot of information about your property, including local authority searches. There’s no need to rush things. But sitting on the paperwork will only hold up the process.

7. Communication is king

Stay in regular contact with both your solicitor and the estate agent to ensure that you are up to speed with the purchase and that it’s on track. It’s a good idea to agree a weekly update between all parties to cut the chances of miscommunication.

8. Be realistic

Finally, set a realistic target for exchanging contracts so that everyone in the process has the same deadline to work towards. You can always amend the timescale between exchange and completion if you and/or the seller need to delay moving.

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The information and data in this article was correct at the time of publishing and every attempt is made to ensure its accuracy. However, it may now be out of date or superseded. Zoopla Ltd and its group companies make no representation or warranty of any kind regarding the content of this article and accept no responsibility or liability for any decisions made by the reader based on the information and/or data shown here. 
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