Although the process of buying and selling property can be one of life's most stressful experiences, it should also be one of the most intoxicating and thrilling adventures we ever undertake.
But it helps to have an understanding of the process as well as being fully aware of what to expect from each of the steps to buying a house.
It can be extremely easy to make a few mistakes along the way - and this could end up costing you both in terms of time and, most importantly, money - especially when buying a house for the first time.
Many people write lists of questions to ask when buying a house, but as the process gathers pace these can be forgotten and errors, like these below from both buyers and sellers, can start to cause big headaches...
1. POOR PLANNING
Everyone, when buying a home, should at least have a vague idea of the market and how it could affect them and their own purchase.
Generally the housing market gets busier during the spring, heading into summer, so if you have have an offer accepted on your dream home during late winter or early spring, it pays to get in early when booking surveys.
"During the summer months, surveyors carrying out Homebuyers or full buildings reports are generally extremely busy," says Paul Goverd of CJ Hole Southville
"Any buyer planning to have a survey carried out, which we would always recommend, should start contacting surveyors right at the start of the process. This will enable them to gauge lead times for surveys to be carried out."
2. NOT CONTACTING YOUR SOLICITOR
We've all been there: Everything seems to be moving along just fine with the conveyancing process and then two weeks go by without a word from your solicitor.
"Buyers should not be worried to contact their solicitor," says Paul. "They need to remember that they are employing them to do a job and should expect a response in a timely manner."
3. PAPERWORK DELAYS
Naturally, and particularly in the case of first-time buyers, inexperience of buying a home can hinder the process.
It's a pressure cooker of worry for some and signing on dotted lines can bring many out in a cold sweat, but not sending off that most crucial piece of paperwork can severely delay getting the keys to your dream home.
"When buyers have been asked to sign and return the contract, I find many who choose not to send it back as they believe they are committing to exchange in that moment," says Paul. "As I explain to them, they are only holding up the purchase by not returning this paperwork. Exchange can only take place when they give their solicitor verbal consent."
4. ...AND IT'S NOT JUST BUYERS!
Sellers, as much as buyers, generally want the process to run as smoothly and as quickly as possible, particularly those experiencing the stresses and strains of life in a chain.
There are key steps sellers can take early on in the process to help speed things up, yet many do not.
"We have more and more buyers, solicitors and surveyors asking for valid gas and electric safety tests to be carried out during the sales process," adds Paul. "As it is becoming more common, it is worth sellers getting these carried out once an offer on their property has been accepted and the sales process is under way, rather than waiting for enquiries to be raised further down the line.
"It's also worth noting that surveyors carrying out a Homebuyers Report who are not provided with valid gas and electrical safety paperwork when they inspect will mark this as a '3' on their report, meaning 'high concern'."