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The costs of buying a property

When you have found a property you want to purchase, there are various costs involved other than the price of the property itself.

The deposit

If you’re planning on getting a mortgage to purchase the property, you will need to save for a deposit first. Your deposit will be a percentage of the property’s price; the more you have saved, the better a mortgage you can get.

Find out more about deposits here.

Mortgage fees

Depending on how you plan on finding a mortgage, either by going directly through a lender (known as execution-only) or using a mortgage broker/advisor, there are fees involved for getting the mortgage set up. These costs can sometimes be added onto the terms of the mortgage. If you’re using a mortgage broker, they may be paid via commission from your chosen lender instead, meaning you don’t have to pay the cost of using them.

See all the fees you can be charged when finding a mortgage here.

Stamp Duty and Land Tax

Depending on where you are in the UK, how much the property you are buying is worth and whether it will be your main or an additional home, you will have to pay stamp duty or land tax to the Government. This will be a percentage of the property’s price that you must pay to your solicitor, who will then pay it on your behalf to HM Revenue & Customs.

Stamp duty must be paid within 30 days of completion', which is when the seller confirms they have received the money for the property and ownership is officially transferred to you.

First-time buyers are exempt from this tax up to a certain amount.

Find out how much stamp duty or land tax you’ll pay with our guide.

Estate agents

The estate agent will not charge the buyer any fees. You are free to go to as many viewings and speak to as many estate agents as you need to in order to find your perfect property and it won’t cost you a thing.

Once you have found a property you like, the estate agent will continue to assist you with your purchase and may even offer their own mortgage and conveyancing services. It is up to you whether you wish to use their services and referral fees may then apply in this case. The estate agent must disclose any referral fees they will receive if you take up any services they recommend.

Check if the estate agent you’re using is NAEA Propertymark Protected.

'…always make sure your agent is Propertymark Protected so you can be sure they will be transparent and professional with their fees.' - Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark

Surveys

When you have had your offer on a property accepted, it is recommended you arrange a survey in order to know its condition in more detail and see if there are any defects that may cost to repair. Your mortgage provider may also insist on a valuation survey of the property, which you will have to pay.

Find out much your valuation survey will cost here.

Optional surveys (organised by you, not your mortgage provider) can prove invaluable if they uncover a problem in the property that suggests it will be expensive to repair. If a survey uncovers such a problem, you would be able to pull out of the purchase or lower your offer, if you felt that the costs of repairing the property would impact your decision to buy. The more in-depth a survey is, the more it will cost; but the more it will potentially reveal about the property.

You can find out more about the different types of surveys and their cost here.

Conveyancer and solicitor

You will need a conveyancer and solicitor to help with the legal transfer of the property. This is a necessary part of the buying process and there will be a fee, as they sort out all the legal paperwork and can advise you on any covenants or details on the deeds. They will also pay the necessary fees to the Land Registry to transfer ownership of a property to you; you will be then be charged the fee through your solicitor or conveyancer.

Find out how to choose a conveyancer or solicitor.

Insurance

You will need building and/or contents insurance on your new property for the date of exchange. This will cover the costs of incidents such as burglary, accidental damage or fire. If you already own a property, you may be able to transfer your current insurance to the new property. Keep in mind that you must keep the property you currently live in insured until it is sold to another buyer.

Moving

If you have large furniture, appliances or belongings that you need to transport to your new property, then you may have to pay for a removal company to help you transport it. Alternatively, you may wish to hire a vehicle such as a van to move things yourself. For a low-cost alternative, ask friends and family if they can help move anything for you.

You can find more tips on moving home here.

Bills

After you’ve moved in, you will need to get in touch with the current utility suppliers for the property, to inform them that you are the new owner and to give them any updated meter readings. Keep in mind all of the utility costs that will come with your new property. Gas, electricity, water, internet, phone line and your TV licence will all be important, as well as council tax. Make sure you find out what council tax band your property will be on to see how much you will pay.

Leasehold and new builds

Leasehold properties have costs such as ground rent, service charges or maintenance charges. These costs are paid to the freeholder of the property each year and sometimes go towards the upkeep of communal areas e.g. a lift in a block of flats or a shared garden. New build homes tend to have some of these charges too.

If you do own a leasehold property, you may want to account for the price of the freehold if you wish to purchase it.

Find out more about leaseholds and freeholds here.

What else do I need to know?

For more information on what to know when buying a property, read our other guides for buyers.

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