10 hidden costs involved in buying a house

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Whether you’re buying your first home, downsizing or hunting for an investment opportunity, there are always hidden costs that you need to be aware of.

That’s why this month we’ve created a list of 10 costs that could catch you out when you’re buying a home.


During the buying process

Conveyance fees

Your solicitor is going to be doing a lot of work during your house move, and this means that you’re going to be charged accordingly. This charge covers:

  • Conveyancing (the transfer of ownership from the seller to you)
  • Checking paperwork has been filled out properly
  • Any planning permission issues
  • Asking or answering any queries you or the seller raise

You’ll pay for some of these services throughout the buying process, and sometimes there will be a final bill at the end of any outstanding costs. You cannot add it to the overall mortgage, so make sure you’ve budgeted accordingly.

If you’re buying through a new build developer, some offer assistance towards legal fees as part of a deal.

This can help, but get your mortgage advisor to check whether your lender will give you a mortgage if you’ve been given incentives.


Land Registry fees

Compared to other fees that you’ll pay during your house move process, Land Registry fees can seem small in comparison. However, it’s still something that you’re going to have to pay.

These fees are paid, via your solicitor, to the Land Registry. It’s their job to make sure that your property is registered under your name. This includes the transfer from the buyer (if there is one) to you.

The fee is dependent on how much your property is worth, with houses sold between £100,001 and £200,000 paying a £200 fee. Properties that were sold between £200,001 and £500,000 with pay a £300 fee.


Survey and valuation costs

The mortgage lender conducts a valuation fee and assesses whether they are prepared to lend you the money, based on the value of your property. Some lenders may not charge for this service, but if they do it can be anywhere from £150 – £1500, depending on the property’s sale price.

The survey fee is always recommended, especially if you’re buying second-hand. You’ll receive a report on the current state of the property, including any structural issues that the house might be suffering from.

A basic home conditioning survey can cost around £250, whereas a full structural survey could cost you £600 or more. Remember, if you’re prepared to pay more, you could be saving on repair bills later down the line.


Electronic Transfer fees

This also applies to buying a second home, but if you’re on your first, you won’t have experience electronic transfer fees before. This is a charge that you have to pay for the lenders transferring the mortgage money to your solicitor. This charge is usually £40 – £50, but make sure you check first.


Mortgage set-up fees

Some lenders will charge you for setting up your mortgage, usually to reserve the funds on a fixed or tracker deal. These can typically cost between £99 and £250, but they are refundable if your mortgage application falls through before you complete your purchase of the property.

This is also known as an arrangement fee, so it’s worth checking with your mortgage advisor before you start the application process.


Extras and upgrades

If you’re buying a new build home, then one of the biggest additional costs is the upgrades and extras. Some developers don’t include things such as:

  • Flooring (carpets, vinyl, Amitco or laminate)
  • Appliances
  • Turf
  • Wardrobes

You need to make sure that you have budgeted enough for these extras if you’re going through the developer, as you won’t be able to add them to your mortgage. This means that you have to have the money set aside for when the final bill comes through.


After completion

Parking costs

This might not be a factor when it comes to new developments, but if you’re moving to a city then it’s one thing you have to consider. If your new home comes with a driveway then that’s great, but some areas require everyone with a car to purchase a residential parking permit.

If you’re parking on the main road, this may have an impact on your car insurance costs too, so make sure you factor this in when you’re researching.


Removal costs

Removal costs are an additional extra, regardless of whether you’re buying your first home or your next. You can do it yourself, but this can sometimes be time-consuming, even if it is cheaper than hiring a company.


Council tax and utility bills

If you’re moving to a different area, it’s important that you’re aware of the council tax bandings of your new property and how much you’ll likely pay for utility bills.

This should be part of your initial research before you make the move so that you’re not caught out when the first bill comes through.


Service charges and ground rent

Whether you’re buying a new build property on a new development, or you’ve opted to buy a flat, chances are there’s going to be service charges and ground rent that need to be paid.

With a leasehold flat (this is where you own the property, but not the ground that it’s on) the service charge will be for the upkeep of communal areas and the building as a whole.

With a new build development, the service charge will be for the upkeep of all communal areas (playgrounds, open space etc) as well as landscaping maintenance, clearing any litter and road improvements, before they adopted by the local council.


In summary, buying a new house can be a stressful, but ultimately rewarding, endeavour, especially if it’s your first home. However, it’s important that you’re always aware of any costs that are associated.

What do you think? Are there any different costs that you’ve been caught out by? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so make sure that you let us know in the comments below. Alternatively, you can join in the conversation on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

Remember, if you’re struggling to remember when your bills need to be paid, then we can help.

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