The hidden costs of home-buying you need to know about

Saving a deposit and securing a mortgage is only part of the story when it comes to calculating the costs of buying a home. We reveal the hidden expenses you may encounter, so you know exactly what to expect.

Stamp duty

The stamp duty holiday means you won’t pay tax on properties up to £500,000, provided you complete by March 31, 2021. From £500,001 to £925,000, duty is payable at a rate of five per cent – so for a £550,000 flat you’d pay £2,500.

From next April, first-time buyers are exempt from the first £300,000 of the purchase price, then pay five per cent on the portion from £300,001 to £500,000, which works out at £7,500 on a £450,000 home.

Conveyancing fees

You’ll need to appoint a solicitor or licensed conveyancer to take care of the legal side of things, including local searches to check whether there are any issues which might affect your decision to buy. Costs vary wildly, but you should budget for at least £1,000.

Survey fees

Costing from about £300, a survey reports on the condition of the property, flagging up problems and necessary repairs. New-builds come with a ten-year warranty covering structural defects, though you may want to commission a snagging survey to pick up defects you’re likely to miss and which can be dealt with before you move in.

The costs of owning your own home

Council tax – you are entitled to a 25% discount if you live alone or with a child under the age of 18

Service charge – this covers the maintenance, repairs and upkeep of shared areas and facilities, such as communal gardens, lifts, gym and concierge

Utilities – water, gas and electricity

TV, broadband and landline – save money by buying a bundle

Mortgage costs

The expenses of obtaining a mortgage are often overlooked, but they can bump up your overall bill considerably. These can include a mortgage arrangement fee, broker fees and a valuation fee – to check that the property is worth at least the amount you’re being lent, although this is often free.

Arrangement fees are typically a few hundred pounds and either paid up front or added to your mortgage, in which case interest will be charged. Some brokers charge a set fee or a percentage of the mortgage, usually working out at a few hundred pounds, while others are free, so ask about this before you commit.

Removal costs

If you don’t have a lot of stuff, a DIY move costs from £50 to hire a van for the day. At the other end of the spectrum, a professional removals company will charge £400 upwards, depending on the size of your home and the distance.

Buildings and contents insurance

Your mortgage lender will require you to take out buildings insurance from the date you exchange contracts, to pay for rebuilding or major repairs in the event of flood, fire or other damage. If you’re buying a leasehold flat, the freeholder should insure the whole building – your solicitor will be able to advise you on this.

Contents insurance – which covers the cost of replacing broken, stolen or lost items – is recommended but not compulsory. A joint buildings and contents policy is cheaper than buying both separately, and starts from about £150 per year.


When buying in an urban area, check whether a parking space is included in the price. You may have to pay extra for an allocated space or for a permit to park in a nearby street.

Kitting out your home

One of the best things about choosing a new-build over an older, resale home is that it comes with a sparkling new kitchen and bathroom, so furniture is the only big-ticket expense. The absolute minimum you’ll likely want is a bed, sofa, dining table and chairs and a couple of bedside tables – plus carpet, curtains and blinds and a wardrobe if these aren’t included.

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