Dear Dawn

I am currently renting and have had my offer accepted on a house to buy. I am now wondering when I should hand my notice in?

My solicitor says it should take around six to eight weeks to complete the conveyancing and, as I have to serve two months’ notice, I am thinking I should do that now to avoid renting while making mortgage payments. Can you advise?

First-Time Buyer

Dear First-Time Buyer

This is a tricky one because as you may already be aware the property market can be fraught with unexpected occurrences and delays.

Even if everything seems like it will be plain sailing right off the bat, that can all change overnight if the seller has a change in circumstance and decides to withdraw the property from the market, for example.

Unfortunately in the UK either party can withdraw from the sale any time up until exchange of contracts without any penalties, which can leave people in a very precarious situation if they have already served notice on a rental apartment.

Your landlord might have subsequently agreed a new contract with a new tenant, so you may have no alternative but to leave.

The purchase of a new home is heavily reliant on having two efficient solicitors that are committed to working quickly together and, if the property is a leasehold, there will be a third party involved such as a managing agent or freeholder.

All in all there is a fair amount of uncertainty surrounding time scales when buying so my best advice is to negotiate a long completion date.

That way you can buy yourself at least a month of leeway, so that you are able to serve notice once the purchase is legally binding – once exchange of contracts has taken place.

That may still leave you a month of rent and mortgage to pay but I think it’s worth the expense to prevent turmoil. At least you’ll still have your rental home to fall back on if the worst happens.

Dawn Sandoval is the owner of Dawn Sandoval Residential in Canary Wharf .