Estimate your overall cost of buying a house and moving
When you buy a property or move home, there will be a number of upfront fees, beyond just your mortgage costs, which you’ll need to take into account. Be sure to include these when working out your overall budget.
Major upfront costs
Make sure you have saved enough to cover all of the upfront costs. These include:
|Cost||What it covers|
|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, and the lower your interest rate is likely to be.
|Stamp duty||This is a government tax paid on homes costing £125,001 or more. From 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.
Everything you need to know about Stamp Duty
Stamp duty calculator
|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.
Choosing a mortgage
Mortgage fees and costs
|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.
Types of survey
|Legal fees||You will need a solicitor or licenced conveyancer to carry out all the legal work when buying and selling your home. They will also do local searches, which will cost you £250-£300, to check whether there are any local plans or issues.
On top of this the legal fees are typically £500-£1,500 including VAT at 20%.
Finding a solicitor
|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.
How to buy and sell a home through estate agents
|Removal costs||Typically £300-£600 though you could do it yourself. Removal firms charge more at weekends and at the end of the month.|
Understand the costs that may have to be paid along the way from the time you make an offer until you move in.
There are hundreds of different mortgage products available and several different types of mortgage for differing circumstances.
Read our Mortgage beginner’s guide to find out more.
Look beyond the interest rate and make sure to also take the fees and charges into account when selecting a mortgage.
|Cost||What it covers|
|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.
Read more about mortgage fees.
Use our Mortgage payments calculator to see how much your repayments will be.
Use our Affordability calculator to see how much you can afford to borrow.
Remember once you buy your own home you’re responsible for looking after it.
|Cost||What it covers|
|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.
Avoid costly mistakes
|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.
There are other protection policies you may want to consider. Find out more: Protect yourself and your home.
|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). Find out more about council tax in Everything you need to know about Council Tax.|
|Running costs||Ask the sellers how much they spend on utilities – gas, electricity and water – every year. Don’t forget charges for a landline, TV packages and broadband.
Planning for the cost of moving day
Do you have the maths skills to get the most out of your money? Visit the National Numeracy Challenge for help.
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.