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Costs of buying a home

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Costs of buying a home

It’s not just a deposit you need to budget for when buying a house – there are lots of other costs to factor-in, such as mortgage costs and legal fees.


Mortgage costs

Arrangement fees: Many mortgages come with arrangement fees and other charges for setting up the loan, the average is around £1,500. You can get deals without these fees but it may affect the interest rate you pay.

If you don’t have the money to pay an arrangement fee upfront you can usually add it onto your mortgage loan – but you will pay interest on it as well.

Higher lending charges: A small number of lenders apply these charges if you’re borrowing a high loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loan. For example if you were borrowing 90% of your property’s value. They’re very rare these days but smaller lenders such as local building societies may charge them.

The fee is used for insurance in case you default on your repayments. You pay a higher lending charge as a percentage of the amount of money you’re borrowing over a certain threshold. For example typical charges are 3-4% for 75%- 85% mortgage, 6% for 90% mortgages and 8% for 95% mortgages.


Survey costs

Lender’s valuation: Your lender will conduct a valuation survey to ensure the property is worth what you’re planning to pay for it. They will arrange it but you will need to cover the cost, typically between £200 – £400.

Survey: It’s a good idea to get your own independent survey done to check whether there are any problems with a property. There are two main kinds of survey – a home buyer report or a building survey (also known as a structural survey).

A home buyer report will cover the general condition of the property and usually costs between £250 – £500. A building survey provides a more in-depth analysis of the condition of the property, including the structure. They can cost between £500 – £1,200. For conventional properties that are less than 40 years old a home buyer’s report may be adequate, but it’s worth considering a full building survey.


Legal costs

Property solicitor/conveyancing fees: You will need to hire a solicitor to deal with the legal aspects of buying a property. Conveyancers will either charge you a flat fee or a percentage of the value of the property. You can expect to pay £500 – £1,500 depending on how complex the transaction is.

Stamp duty: Stamp duty is a tax on land and property transactions – if you buy house or flat worth over £125,000 you will need to pay it. The amount of stamp duty you will pay depends the value of the asset you are buying.  Use our stamp duty calculator to find out more.

Land registry fee: The Land Registry is a government department that keeps records of all registered properties in England and Wales. It charges a fee for registering property with a new owner. The fee will vary depending on the property price but you can expect to pay between £200 and £500.


Other costs

Removal fees: Moving costs will of course vary a lot depending on how many belongings you’re moving. If you can do it yourself, either in your own vehicle or by hiring a van, it will be cheaper – but it can be time consuming. If you own a lot of things or are moving a long distance you’re probably better off paying a removal firm. You can expect to pay around £600 to move items for a small property.

Home Insurance: Your mortgage lender will require you to have buildings insurance that covers your new home. It’s a good idea to get home contents insurance as well to protect your belongings. Separate buildings insurance and home contents insurance on average costs around £197 and £102 respectively, according to the AA. Or combined home insurance will typically cost around £274.


Independent mortgage advice

It’s well worth taking independent mortgage advice before you embark on buying a property.

Our expert mortgage advisers will search thousands of mortgage deals made available to us and pick out the one that’s right for your circumstances. They’re paid a salary – not a sales commission – so you can have confidence that you’ll receive truly impartial advice.

We’re here to help you

Contact Which? Mortgage Advisers free from a mobile or landline on 0800 316 4071

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