Buying a property can be a stressful experience - but it doesn't have to be. Here are a few handy tips to make it as smooth-sailing as possible.

You need to jump through several hoops when buying a home. And even if both you and the seller are keen to exchange contracts promptly, the process can drag on.

So, together with NAEA Propertymark, the professional body for estate agents, we’ve pulled together eight top tips for a smooth property transaction.

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

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. 

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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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Phil Spencer's first-time buyer advice:

Do you have any tips of your own? Tell us by posting a comment below...

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