The cost of buying a house and moving

Wondering how much it costs to buy a house, or a flat? Well, when you buy a property and move home, there are a number of upfront fees, beyond your mortgage costs, that you need to think about. These include solicitor fees for buying a house, insurance and ground rent. Make sure you include all of these when you work out your overall budget.

Major upfront costs

Make sure you have saved enough to cover all of the upfront costs.

These include:

Deposit

This is the amount you put towards the cost of the property when you buy your home.

On average, you need at least 5% to 20% of the purchase price (for example: £10,000 to £ 40,000 when buying a £200,000 home). Help to Buy and other housing schemes only require a 5% deposit.

Generally, the bigger the deposit, the more likely you are to be given a mortgage (subject to a mortgage affordability assessment), and the lower your interest rate is likely to be.

Stamp duty

Use the Stamp Duty calculator to work out how much you’ll pay if you’re buying your property in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

This is a government tax paid on homes costing £125,001 or more. AS of April 2016, there is a 3% increase on top of current rates for purchases of additional residential properties above £40,000 such as second homes and buy-to-let properties.

Valuation fee

The mortgage lender will assess the value of the property to establish how much they are prepared to lend you. The cost can be £150-£1,500 based on the property’s value.

Some lenders may not charge you for this, depending on the type of mortgage product you select. The lender’s valuation is not an extensive survey and will not necessarily identify all the repairs or maintenance that might be needed.

Surveyor’s fee

Before you buy a house you should have it checked out by a surveyor. This is vital so that you understand if there are any issues with the property before you buy.

Surveys range from a basic home condition survey costing around£250 to a full structural survey from £600 or more. Paying for a good survey could save you money on repairs further down the line.

You will need a solicitor or licensed conveyancer to carry out all the legal work when buying and selling your home. Legal fees are typically £850-£1,500 including VAT at 20%.

They will also do local searches, which will cost you £250-£300, to check whether there are any local plans or issues.

Electronic transfer fee

Typically costing £40-£50, this covers the lender’s cost of transferring the mortgage money from the lender to the solicitor.

Estate agent’s fee

This is only paid by sellers, not buyers, for the estate agent’s services and is negotiated when they put the property on the market and is usually 1% to 3% of the sale price plus 20% VAT.

Removal costs

These usually range from £300-£600, although you could rent a van do it yourself.

Mortgage costs

Use our Mortgage Calculator to find out your monthly mortgage payments and our Affordability calculator to see how much you can afford to borrow.

We’ve put together a home buying timeline to help give you an idea of the costs you can expect throughout the process.

Mortgage fees

These may include a booking fee of £99-£250, an arrangement fee of up to £2,000 and a mortgage valuation fee (typically £150 or possibly more).

It’s best to pay these upfront rather than adding them to your mortgage, otherwise you’ll be paying interest on them for the life of the mortgage.

Types of mortgage

There are hundreds of different mortgage products available and several different types of mortgage for differing circumstances.

Look beyond the interest rate and make sure to also take the fees and charges into account when selecting a mortgage.

Ongoing costs

Remember once you buy your own home you’re responsible for looking after it.

Maintenance and repairs

The average repair bill for new homeowners is £5,750. Your survey should have highlighted any problems that need fixing straight away.

Insurance

The lender will require that you take out buildings insurance to protect your new home against damage from fire, floods, subsidence and anything else.

It’s also a good idea to have contents insurance for all your possessions, and life insurance to pay off your mortgage should you die before you’ve repaid the entire amount.

Council Tax

The amount you pay is based on where you live and the valuation band the property is in (apart from in Northern Ireland where rates are set individually).

Running costs

Ask the sellers how much they spend on utilities – gas, electricity and water – every year. Don’t forget to think about charges for your phone, TV packages and broadband.

Leaseholders’ costs

Property owners with a leasehold property will have to pay ground rent (around £50-£100 a year) and service charges to the person who owns the freehold.

Service charges and admin fees differ between properties. This is an important cost of running a property so it’s vital you know more about these charges.

Freehold or leasehold

There are different ways you can own property: freehold, leasehold or through a share of the freehold.

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