If you're hoping to buy your own home, you'll need this comprehensive guide to the costs involved in buying a house or flat and moving home. Always remember when you’re saving money for a deposit, you might need to stash away more than you think. There are lots of extra expenses involved in the home-buying and conveyancing process, from solicitor fees to removal costs.
Here you can find out about these various costs, including:
- Mortgage fees
- Removal services
- Estate agent fees (if you're also selling)
What do I need to save for?
On top of your deposit, you’ll need some extra cash ready for the following:
- Surveyors – before you can get your mortgage, your lender will want to value the property, and you’ll need to pay or this. Valuation surveys tend to cost around £200 - £300. However, unless the home is a new build, you should also arrange your own survey to reduce the chance of nasty surprises later. A HomeBuyer’s Report can cost between £250 and £1,000 (depending on size of property) and a more detailed building survey can cost up to £1,500.
- Mortgage fees – when you take out a mortgage, you’ll have to pay certain fees to the lender depending on the type of mortgage deal. Fees may be as low as a couple of hundred, but could run into a few thousand – so check with your mortgage adviser.
- Mortgage term life insurance – if you have a partner, dependents, or a co-holder of the mortgage, it's highly advisable to take out mortgage term life insurance. This means that if you die before the mortgage is paid off, the insurance will pay off the debt in full.
- Conveyancing fees – the conveyancing process ensures your home purchase is fully legal and watertight, and is usually carried out by a solicitor. Fees for this are typically between £850 and £1,500. Your conveyancer should also conduct a range of ‘searches’ to prevent any unpleasant surprises like mine-shafts under your property – these searches cost around £300.
- Stamp duty land tax – How much you pay is worked out through a tiered system. You pay 0 per cent on the first £125,000, 2 per cent on the next £125,000 - £250,000, and 5 per cent from £250,000 to £925,000, and the tier continues with more stamp duty for properties over higher thresholds. However, if you’re buying your first home, stamp duty rates are more favourable. You pay nothing on the first £300,000 of the home’s value, and 5 per cent on any portion above.
These costs will vary depending on the home you’re buying and other circumstances. Luck plays a role too, especially with surveys - if a major issue is discovered, you may have to start all over again.
Removal costs, furniture and decoration
Most people moving home use a removals company, which will cost between £500 and £1,000. If you’re a first-time buyer and don’t yet own much furniture it’s possible to do it yourself – but then of course you’ll want to buy some furniture! You can expect to spend around £2,000 on furnishings and an extra £1,000 on white goods such as fridge, washing machine and cooker – as a minimum. But you can save by buying second hand, looking at sites like Freecycle, and seeing if friends and family have items they no longer need.
Depending on the state of the property you’re buying, you may also need to factor in costs such as redecoration and/or home improvements too.
What about selling costs?
If you’re not a first-time buyer, you’ll also have to factor in the cost of selling your current home. The main one here is the estate agent’s fee, which comes directly out of the money your home fetches (usually between 0.5 per cent and 3 per cent).
You’ll need to shell out for your home’s EPC rating certificate upfront, which costs between £60 and £120. If you’re selling a second property (i.e. not your main residence) then you may also have to pay capital gains tax if its value has risen.
It’s also important to remember to factor in other ongoing costs once you’ve moved in.
Certain costs might only be for the short term, others, like council tax, need to be taken into account in your monthly budget.
Some of the main ongoing costs you need to consider are:
- Maintainance and repairs
- Building and contents insurance
- Council tax
- Running costs (gas, electricity etc)
- Extra moving day costs (storage, cleaning, mail redirection etc
Can I put these costs on my mortgage?
The short answer to this is yes, you can add many of the costs of moving to your mortgage. However, in most cases you should resist the temptation to do so, as you’ll pay much more over time – and you can usually get better value finance deals elsewhere. Talk to your mortgage adviser to find out more about this.
Need help saving up a lump sum for buying a home? Then see our page on deposits.
If you found this article useful, you might also find our new home checklist informative, too!