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The up-front costs of buying a house

If you’re an avid reader of the property press, you may have noticed there’s quite a bit going on at the moment.

Average selling prices are still edging up – although not as fast as they were. Thankfully for some – particularly first-time buyers – asking prices are a little down.

The buy-to-let market is a little less clear, with recent tax hikes muddying the waters; some reports have been suggesting many landlords are getting out with others claiming some are snapping up the homes coming onto the market.

But one item which did catch our eye recently as a survey conducted by a financing firm suggesting some buyers – particularly those who may not have bought property before – are at risk of being caught out by the up-front costs.

The obvious ones are hard to miss; few people would contemplate buying a home without knowing how much they’ll need for a deposit, for example.

Equally, by far the majority will have taken great care to employ the services of a reputable broker to help them calculate what they can afford when it comes to a mortgage.

Likely removal costs too are bound to be on most people’s lists of things to check before they commit to buying a home.

But, despite our love of property as a nation – reflected in the number of shows on TV and the amount of traffic on the portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla – there are still up-front costs taking people by surprise and, at times, stretching their moving budgets to breaking point.

Here are some examples:

Packing: If you’ve calculated removal costs, be sure to check if you have included boxes and tape. If you’ve gone with the all-in service and your removal firm is doing the packing for you, your quote should include them but, if not, you’re going to have to buy them. It’s probably not going to break the bank but it’s probably best to add a minimum £25 to your estimates.

Solicitors: You’re probably going to need one if you want your purchase to run smoothly and you tend to find you get what you pay for. Of course, like most estate agents, we have associates we would be happy to recommend but, if you want to check out a few options in advance, costs are likely to be anything between £700 and £1,500. You pays you money and you takes your choice.

A survey: There are different types of survey, depending on the sort of house you’re considering buying. The price can be anything from £250 to £1,500 but there are quite a few factors to consider before you choose which one is best for you. We’d recommend a read of this link before you decide. It lays out the options clearly as well as the possible costs: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/a-guide-to-homebuyer-surveys-and-costs#types-of-homebuyer-survey

Repairs: Your survey should protect you from any huge unexpected expense, but there may well still be a few repair jobs which need attention. There’s always the option of asking the vendor to rectify them before you move or to knock a fair estimate for the repair off their asking price but then the jobs which need doing may be so minor they pass unnoticed during the transaction. Nevertheless, the research established that a “minor” repair bill could add to anything from £100 to £1,000 – not great if you’re already finding it hard to get everything to fit within your budget.

So, in short – although the costs differ from region to region – the report suggests the average up-front outlay for buying a home in the UK is around £39,000 including a deposit.

Hopefully, that helps with your planning but, if there’s anything else you think we might be able to help with, just drop us a line or give us a call. We’d be happy to help if we can.


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