Property solicitor Alex Weller of Guildford firm Setfords, said: The March 24 deadline refers to the sale’ completion date, not the earlier exchange date, so acting quickly is vital to avoid the extra costs.

“Instruct your solicitor as soon as possible, as turnaround is normally 6-8 weeks. At Setfords we can do it in a month or less, providing the mortgage is in place and the sellers are ready to proceed and reply to enquiries quickly.”“Inform your seller and estate agent of the deadline and make meeting it a condition of your offer. This should encourage them to get things moving.”“Mortgage arrangements often cause the biggest delays for first-time buyers, so make sure to get your finances in place as soon as possible.”“Read your mortgage offers fully as soon as you receive them to ensure any special conditions can be met before the deadline.”“For example, a lender might require works to be undertaken before they will release the funds, so allow plenty of extra time for any such unexpected hold-ups.”Details correct at time of writing.