This is where the seller decides to take a higher offer, even after initially accepting yours. This could leave you out of pocket on expenses like the legal costs and survey fee. In England and Wales, the sale is secured by law only when contracts have been signed and exchanged.

Under the Scottish system, the seller confirms his acceptance of the offer.

If the seller then gets a better offer and wants to change his mind, his solicitor will refuse to act for him on the new transaction – as doing so would leave him open to charges of professional misconduct. Rival solicitors are free to take the business if they wish, but this seldom happens in practice.

Think carefully before securing debt against your home, your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.