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The Hidden Costs of Buying a Home

Posted on May 30, 2019

For the vast majority of people, stepping onto (and eventually moving up) the property ladder is a life goal. With rising house prices and strict affordability practices however, buying a property is becoming more difficult, and we haven’t even mentioned that hefty deposit you have to save! Your deposit isn’t the only expense that comes with purchasing a home of your own.

Buying a property is a rewarding experience that isn’t just a great move but an investment that could pay once you come to sell. Going into the property buying process with your eyes wide open is something we recommend to all our clients. One way to achieve this is by being aware of all the hidden, upfront costs that come with buying a property and putting extra money aside to cover these often overlooked expenses.

Stamp duty

Paying stamp duty is unavoidable when purchasing a property that costs more than £125,000 in England and Northern Ireland. The payment of stamp duty applies to both freehold and leasehold properties, whether you’re purchasing the property with the help of a mortgage or with cash. There are various bands of stamp duty. Whilst you’ll pay no stamp duty on the first £125,000, you’ll pay 2% on the next £125,000, 5% on the next £675,000 and 10% on the next £575,000. Properties priced above £1.5 million will be liable for 12% stamp duty on anything above this value.

If you’re a first time buyer, you’ll benefit from stamp duty relief, which will eliminate the cost of stamp duty for a large proportion of buyers. You pay no stamp duty on the first £300,000, which means a potential saving of up to £5,000!


If you’re using a mortgage to purchase your property, the lender will want to establish how much the property you intend to buy is worth before releasing the funds. Some mortgage lenders charge a valuation fee for this service, however many incentivise their products by offering a free or reduced valuation fee. Valuations start from £150.

There may be other fees associated with your mortgage product, so make sure you read the fine print. Booking and arrangement fees are common additions, but can usually be added to your mortgage.


A valuation will only confirm to your mortgage lender that the property you wish to buy is worth the price you’re offering to pay. Whilst it may give you a rough idea of the property’s condition, it won’t go into detail regarding the repairs or maintenance that may be required. Many buyers choose to commission an independent survey as a result.

Commissioning a survey is recommended, particularly if the property is an older or unconventional structure. Basic surveys are priced from £250 whilst more complex structural surveys start at £600.


When buying a property, you will enlist the help of a solicitor or conveyancer to deal with the legal bits that need to be completed as part of the purchase. Legal fees aren’t cheap though and must be paid on completion. For a purchase, legal fees start at £850. You will be expected to pay additional fees, such as local searches and electronic transfer fees, on top of this amount.

Now you’re aware of the hidden costs of buying, get started with your search for a new home with us today.