On the journey to home ownership, you’ll encounter various costs and fees. Some of these are upfront, payable during the home-buying process, while others are recurring payments to maintain your home after securing your mortgage. Understanding these costs in advance and how much you can expect to pay will help you confidently plan for the next step on your home-buying journey. Here are the main home-buying costs to consider and factor into your budget. 📝

 

Upfront costs

Deposit – Your deposit will likely be your largest upfront cost. Generally, a bigger deposit will allow you to access a wider range of mortgage deals, including those with competitive interest rates. You’ll need to save a deposit of at least 5% of the property value, but some lenders will ask for a 10-20% deposit.

Stamp duty – Stamp duty is a tax you pay when buying property or land in England or Northern Ireland. If you’re buying a home in Scotland or Wales, similar taxes with different rates apply. Check out the government guides to stamp duty in the UK:

Stamp duty is a progressive tax, meaning the amount of tax you pay depends on the value of your property and the ‘thresholds’, or bands, that the value falls into. The amount you pay also depends on whether you’re a first-time buyer and whether you plan to use the property or land for residential, non-residential or mixed use (for example, living in the property and running a business from there).

Valuation fee – Your mortgage lender will value your home to check that it’s worth what you’ve offered to pay for it. Some lenders will cover this cost as an ‘incentive’, but be prepared to pay around £300, or more if you choose to order a more detailed survey (see below).

Mortgage adviser fees – Mortgage advisers (or brokers) act as a point of contact between you and your lender, and offer expert advice on mortgages and the home-buying process. Independent advisers will often have access to a wide range of mortgage deals from different lenders, helping you to secure the right deal to suit your needs. Some advisers may charge a fee, so be sure to ask about this upfront.

Arrangement fee – Lenders may charge an arrangement fee (sometimes referred to as the product fee or admin fee) for setting up your mortgage product. Depending on the product, this can range from nothing (sometimes called a fee-free mortgage) to £2,000. You can either pay this fee upfront, which could give you access to lower-interest mortgages, or add it onto your mortgage. However, it’s worth knowing that doing so could cost you more in the long run, as you’ll be paying interest on the fee.

Legal fees – Conveyancing solicitors deal with the legal side of buying a home. Their responsibilities include drafting contracts, transferring money and organising searches. Personal recommendations from friends and family can help you find the right solicitor, but make sure to get a quote in advance, as fees can vary around £800-£1,500.

Surveys – You don’t have to commission a property survey on your new home, but they could save you money in the long-term. Surveys can uncover issues that may not be known until you move in, meaning it would cost you to make the repairs. There are 3 levels of survey – the amount you’ll pay depends on the type and value of the property:

    • Level 1: Condition Report – a basic level of detail, costing around £300
    • Level 2: Homebuyer Report – more comprehensive, costing between £350-£550
    • Level 3: Structural Survey – very detailed, costing between £600-£1,000

CHAPS fee – When you transfer your deposit to your solicitor, you might also pay a CHAPS fee. It’s small (usually around £20-£30) but worth noting.

Estate agent fees – If you’re selling your current home, you’ll pay estate agent fees. Fees vary, so be sure to get a quote upfront. Some agents charge a ‘percentage fee’ that is typically between 0.75% and 3.5% of the property price, while others charge a set fee.

Moving costs – If you decide to hire a removals company, the costs will depend on how many items you need to move and how far you’re travelling. Decluttering first could save you some cash!

Furniture and decorating – The cost of decorating your new home will vary, depending on whether you already have furniture and how much work you’ll be doing to your new home. White goods (appliances) are important to look out for. If the seller is including any white goods with the property, ask your solicitor to check that the contract reflects this.

 

Recurring costs

Mortgage repayments – Your mortgage repayments are likely to be your biggest monthly outgoing. The amount will depend on whether you have a repayment or interest-only mortgage, how much you’re borrowing, your mortgage term and the interest rate.

You may be liable for early repayment charges if you repay your mortgage in full before the mortgage term ends, exceed the amount you can overpay, or change your mortgage lender or product during a set period of time (for example, during a fixed-rate mortgage).

Insurance – Your mortgage lender may require you to take out buildings insurance – this protects the structure of your home. Other types of insurance can include life insurance, critical illness cover, income protection and contents insurance – see our blog on mortgage insurance for more details.

Council tax – The amount you pay will depend on the location of your property and its valuation band (with the exception of Northern Ireland, where rates are set individually). Find out your council tax band here, then visit your local council authority website to see the rates for the current tax year.

Utilities – Everything from gas, electricity and water to broadband and TV packages. Visit comparison sites such as MoneySuperMarket and uSwitch to find deals that are right for you.

Leasehold charges – If you buy a leasehold property, you’ll need to pay ground rent and service charges to the freehold owner. These contribute to the upkeep of the property and any communal areas.

Government equity scheme costs – Are you buying a home with a Help to Buy equity loan, Shared Ownership or other equity schemes? If so, make sure to budget for the additional costs involved.

 

It’s important to work out the true cost of your home, particularly your mortgage, so you can confidently plan for the next stage on your home-buying journey.

 

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.