The costs of buying and owning a house

saving for a home

Particularly for first time buyers, the costs of buying and owning your very own house can seem endless. While it’s true that a lot of the cost goes into buying the property, our simple guide will help you understand the other costs you need to save up and plan for to get onto the property ladder.

Buying a house

Buying a house can be a pretty expensive process, so it’s a good idea to get familiar with the costs involved, start saving, and eliminate the risk of an unexpected fee putting a spanner in the works. At a glance, you’ll need to prepare for the following costs when you’re buying a house:

  • Mortgage fees
  • Valuation fees
  • Property survey costs
  • Conveyancing fees
  • Removal costs

It can sometimes be difficult to pin down exactly what each fee or charge will amount to, as some costs depend on your situation – for example, removal fees will be more expensive if you’re moving far away from your old property. However, you can find out more about each fee below.

Mortgage fees – £100-£1,000, plus deposit

When it comes to buying a home, most people opt to have a mortgage in order to pay for it – which is essentially borrowing the value of your home from a lender. However, to secure a mortgage, you’ll first need to put down a deposit.

How much deposit you’ll need to put down can differ hugely, and really depends on your credit score, the mortgage you’re applying for, the amount you’re asking to borrow and your lender. The most common amount is around 10% of the value of the home you’re buying.

As well as this, you’ll usually have to pay some fees to actually set up the loan, which can be anywhere from £100 to £1,000 depending on your mortgage and the lender. Some mortgages say they are fee-free, but these usually have higher rates. You can often add your fees to your mortgage, but this will also incur interest, so it’s best to pay up front if you can afford to.

 Valuation fees – £200-£700

When you apply for your mortgage, you’ll have to have the house you’re planning to buy valued, just to double check it’s worth what you’re going to pay for it. Valuation fees usually depend on the cost of the house you’re buying, so double check with your lender when you apply for your mortgage.

 Property survey costs £400-£1,500

It’s always advised to get some independent surveys done on the house you’re looking to buy, as the valuation simply looks at the cost, rather than the structural condition.

  • RICS HomeBuyer Report – £450-£1,000: Looks at the overall condition of the property you’re hoping to buy.
  • Building survey – £600-£1,500: An in-depth and detailed report into the structure and condition of the house.
  • RICS Home Condition Report – £400-£950: This is the softest of all the surveys, probably most suitable to a modern home that you’re confident is in excellent condition.
  • Snagging survey £300-£600: This is for new builds – it highlights any major or minor issues that should be fixed before or shortly after you move in.

 Conveyancing fees £800-£2,000

Conveyancing fees are hugely dependant on your circumstances. The charges are made up of your conveyancer’s basic rate – which can differ greatly between solicitors, but usually averages at around £500 – and the disbursements involved with you buying your home.

When it comes to disbursements, there’s a lot that can vary, but you’ll usually be charged for the following:

  • Land registry charge: £20-£910
  • Land registry title deed copies: £4-£8
  • Mortgage handling fee: £60-£80
  • HMLR final search: £3-£7
  • Water and drainage search: £30-£80
  • Telegraphic transfer fee: £25-£45
  • Environmental search: £30-£35
  • ID verification: £2-£18
  • Stamp duty: 0%-12%

However, there are also some additional fees that can crop up, so it’s best to talk to a conveyancer in advance to gain an estimate of how much you’ll be paying in total. To read about conveyancing fees in more detail, check out our guide to solicitor fees.

Removal costs £20-£2,000

Removal costs totally depend on how much furniture you’re moving, whether or not you need help with packaging and lifting your items, and how far you’re travelling. We recommend searching online for removal services near you, checking any reviews of the company and comparing multiple quotes.

Also, you can make these costs much cheaper if you’re able to enlist friends or family to help with their own vehicle, or if you can rent or borrow a van, and complete the removals yourself.

Owning a house

Once you’ve got through the various costs, charges and fees involved with buying and moving into a property, it’s time to start paying the charges involved with actually living there. Make sure you consider the costs involved with owning your house before you buy it, to ensure you’ll be able to afford them for the foreseeable future.

  • Insurance
  • Household bills and utilities
  • Council tax

Insurance

When you move into your new home, it can be an overwhelming notion to think you’re responsible for every single cost – no matter what goes wrong with your home, it’s your responsibility to fix it. That’s why insurance is so important – it’s usually a relatively low monthly or annual cost that could protect you should the worst happen.

  • Contents insurance: This covers the possessions in your home against theft, damage or loss depending on the policy you go for. Insurance is worked out on a number of factors such as your home’s location, security, the value of possessions amongst other things – it’s best to use a comparison website to gain an initial idea of how much this will cost.
  • House insurance: This insurance covers the actual structural integrity of your home – for example, if your roof were to collapse. It’s just as important as content insurance but is again very variable – use a comparison website with details of the home you’re hoping to move into to get an idea.

Household bills and utilities

Usually paid monthly – but sometimes annually on request – you’ll have a number of bills to pay every month, including:

  • Gas and electricity: This again will depend on the home you move into and the provider you decide to go with. When you’re moving into a new home, the previous occupiers will usually leave details of the current provider – give these a ring and let them know you’re moving into the property, and whether or not you’d like to switch provider. If you stay, they will assess how many bedrooms your home has, how many people are living there, what kind of insulation it has and other factors to give you an estimated monthly cost. However, it’s your responsibility to ensure you send regular meter readings to receive accurate bills, otherwise you could be landed with debt. Although, many providers offer smart meters now, which send your meter readings half-hourly to ensure your bill is accurate every single month.
  • Water: Water providers can’t be switched as they’re geographically decided, but you still need to contact the provider when you move into your new home and let them know you’ve moved there. Similar to gas and electricity providers, they’ll ask some simple questions over the phone to work out how much you should be paying for your water, either monthly, annually or periodically. You can have your own meter installed depending on provider, so you pay a more accurate bill.
  •  Council tax: Council tax can be paid annually or monthly. It’s a charge from the council, based on the area you live in and the value of the property you own. It goes towards charges provided to the community – such as rubbish collection, emergency services, leisure centres, transport and educational services. Your council tax will be charged according to the band your property fits into – properties in band A will pay the least, and properties in band H pay the most. You can find the council tax band for a property and how much you would pay on the government website.

If this isn’t your first time moving, and you need to sell your current home as quickly as possible, you won’t have to pay any fees to sell your house with Good Move. Get in touch with a member of our team for more information, or check out our other guides for more moving house tips.

We are proud members of...

  • NAPB
  • RICS
  • NAEA
  • The Property Ombudsman
  • Trading Standards

We are proud to be the most regulated property buyer operating in the ‘Quick House Sale’ industry. We are an active member of the NAPB (National Association Of Property Buyers) and are both RICS & NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents) regulated, which means you can have every confidence of selling your home with us quickly & easily.