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Property: The costs to consider when buying a home

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Property: The costs to consider when buying a home
While the main additional costs you need to think about include legal fees, the survey and stamp duty, there’s a host of other things you must not overlook. Photo: Getty

January typically sees a spike in buyer activity, and the UK property market is likely to follow the trend in 2022.

New figures from estate agent comparison site GetAgent.co.uk show that across England, average buyer demand for the final three months of 2021 was at 65.6% — up 0.9% on the previous three months, despite the end of the stamp duty holiday.

As we move into 2022, the recent increase in interest rates may cause some buyers to pause for thought, though there is unlikely to be much of a slowdown in property transactions.

If you are one of the many people thinking about moving in the next few months, be sure to factor in all the costs.

As a buyer you may be fixated on ensuring you have enough for the deposit and focused on arranging your mortgage, especially now that interest rates have nudged up, but it’s important to realise the expenses don’t end there.

Don’t overlook extra fees and costs

While the main additional costs you need to think about include legal fees, the survey and stamp duty, there’s a host of other things you must not overlook.

Recent research from MoneySuperMarket revealed Brits spend £748 ($1,014) each time they move house on things such as storage, cleaning and removals.

Read more: Top tips for buying a home

It’s vital to go into the home-buying process with your eyes open — and with a decent sum of cash available to cover upfront fees and other costs. That way, you can ensure you don’t get caught out with unplanned expenses.

Legal fees

Conveyancing covers all the legal elements of house-buying, and is usually carried out by a property solicitor.

The fees will typically set you back between £1,000 and £1,500, plus disbursements. These are extra payments your conveyancer needs to make as part of the buying process.

Survey costs

When buying, it’s important to get a survey carried out, to make sure the property isn’t hiding any nasty surprises, such as rotting floorboards or damp.

The amount you pay for a survey will depend on the type you go for.

The most basic is the simple valuation survey, while the most expensive is the full structural option.

The middle ground is a homebuyers survey. Expect to pay around £450 to £500.

Stamp duty

This is the tax you need to pay to the government when purchasing a property.

While many buyers were able to make savings during the "stamp duty holiday", this tax break on purchases up to the value of £500,000 finally ended on 30 September 2021. The holiday was phased out over the summer last year, in a bid to avoid any "cliff-edge" scenarios.

Read more: How much can I borrow on a mortgage based on my salary?

Only first time buyers continue to benefit from reduced moving costs thanks to stamp duty relief on the first £300,000 of a property value.

For all other buyers, the amount you pay depends on the value of the property.

There is nothing to pay on a home costing less than £125,0000. You then pay 2% on the portion worth between £125,001 and £250,000. After that, you pay 5% on the value between £250,001 and up to £925,000. Beyond this, there are two further rates of 10% (on the value between £925,0001 and £1.5m) and 12% (on the portion above £1.5m).

To find out how much you’ll need to pay, check out the HM Revenue & Customs stamp duty calculator here.

Watch: How much money do i need to buy a house?

Removal costs

It’s hard to put a figure on the amount you are likely to pay in removal costs, as this will depend on things such as the distance of the move and the amount of possessions that need to be transported. But you could easily expect to face a bill of between £500 and £1,000.

According to CompareMyMove.com, in 2021 the average UK removal company costs for a three-bed house travelling 50 miles were around £800. You could then face another £250 for professional packing services and materials, and a further £125 for the dismantling of furniture and reassembling at your new home.

Furniture

When buying a new home, you can’t afford to forget about furniture. If not, you could find yourself dining on the floor for some time to come once you’ve moved in.

While buying new can burn a deep hole in your budget — with costs easily running into hundreds if not thousands — simple savings can be made by buying second-hand via sites such as Facebook Marketplace (FB) and Gumtree, or by picking up items on free sites, such as Freecycle and Freegle.

Not only will this save you money, it will also save unwanted furniture from going into landfill.

Storage

With temporary storage potentially setting you back around £1,000, this is a cost you can’t afford to ignore.

But it’s worth seeing if you can make savings via the likes of Stashbee or Storemates. These are sites which connect individuals and businesses who have space — such as garages, spare rooms, parking spots and warehouses — with those who need it.

Read more: How to sell your home faster

Other costs

Other costs to bear in mind include cleaning, home insurance at your new address, and the post redirection fee. You also need to think about the cost of any immediate changes you want to make to your new home.

Jo Thornhill, money expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “It’s important not to overlook those additional costs of moving which can add a significant amount to your bill, over and above items such as stamp duty and legal fees. If you are considering moving, remember to factor in things such as cleaning, new household items, temporary storage space and professional movers.”

Be sure to compare prices

When it comes to all these costs, it’s important not to sign up to the first quote you’re given.

Rob Houghton, chief executive of ReallyMoving.com, said: “In an unpredictable market it’s more important than ever to compare ratings and customer reviews when searching for home move services, as well as price. That way, you can ensure that your transaction progresses as smoothly as possible.”

This is a view shared by Simon Bath, chief executive of Moveable. He said: “Homebuyers must take the time to research the best partners and platforms to ensure they get the best deal possible – and don’t pay over the odds.”

Watch: UK property: What is shared ownership?

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