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What are the costs of buying a home?

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Rhiannon Philps

Content Writer

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At a glance

  • Solicitors, surveyors and removals are just some of the extra costs involved in buying a home.
  • Mortgages may also come with product fees and other charges.
  • It’s important to budget for these costs before starting the house-buying process.

A deposit is the largest cost you need to save up for when buying your first home. But whether you’re a first-time buyer or moving house, there are a range of other costs you need to factor in and budget for.

Major upfront costs


Even though it’s not a legal requirement (in England, Wales and Northern Ireland), it’s a good idea to get a professional surveyor to assess the property and check for any problems before exchanging contracts. In Scotland, the seller must provide buyers with a Home Report, which is similar to a survey.

Surveyors can identify the extent of any issues so you know how much you may need to spend on repairs and, if any serious problems are found, you may be able to negotiate with the sellers on the price of the property.

There are different types of surveys available at a range of prices. The cost of the survey will also depend on your property.

  • A Level 1 Home Survey (previously called a Condition Report) identifies any risks or defects with the property. This is the cheapest type of survey and can cost a few hundred pounds.
  • A Level 2 Home Survey (previously called a RICS HomeBuyer Report) is more expensive but it is a popular choice for many homebuyers. It’s a more detailed report that offers advice and recommendations and may also come with a valuation. For a property worth around £250,000, this survey could cost up to around £600.
  • A Level 3 Home Survey is even more comprehensive and may be more suitable for older properties or those that need more work. This is usually the most expensive type of survey and could cost around £1,000 or more.

As well as the regular survey, some buyers also get an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). This will check the condition and safety of the electrics in the property and isn’t typically included in a standard home survey.

Legal fees

A solicitor or conveyancer carries out all the necessary paperwork involved in buying a home, making sure all the steps are completed so you become the legal owner of the property.

For example, they will draw up and review the contracts, register the change in ownership on the Land Registry, run local searches and arrange the transfer of funds.

Solicitors and conveyancers have a crucial role in the process of buying a house, and they can be expensive too. As well as paying for their services, you’ll need to pay for any third-party costs the solicitor incurs on your behalf, known as disbursements. These extra charges typically include:

  • Searches: Solicitors run several searches to check for anything that could affect your property. These may include local authority searches, environmental searches and water and drainage searches. Altogether, they could cost several hundred pounds.
  • Land Registry costs: You need to pay a fee to register the change in ownership with the Land Registry. The cost of this depends on the value of your property but it’s likely to be a couple of hundred pounds.
  • Electronic transfer fee: Also known as a money transfer fee, this covers the cost of transferring the money used to buy the property. It is usually around £40 to £50.

The solicitor or conveyancer is likely to include these costs in their quote.

The amount you need to pay on these legal costs will vary between different solicitors and depends on the value of the property and the complexity of your situation. As a rough guide, it’s worth budgeting between £1,000 and £2,000 in total for legal fees. You will usually pay some of this early on in the process (as a deposit and/or for the searches), with the rest of the payment due on completion.

If you want, you may be able to try to negotiate the solicitors’ fees, especially if you have several quotes from other providers that you can use to bargain with.

Stamp Duty

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is a significant cost to factor in when buying a house in England and Northern Ireland. There is an equivalent Land Transaction Tax in Wales and a Land and Buildings Transaction Tax in Scotland.

You don’t need to pay stamp duty if you buy the property for less than £250,000 (or £425,000 for first-time buyers). If you pay more than this for your property, you need to pay a percentage of the purchase price in tax.

In Wales, all buyers (including first-time buyers) need to pay tax on property purchases over £225,000, while in Scotland the threshold for paying tax is £145,000 (or £175,000 for first-time buyers).

Stamp Duty Calculator

See how much stamp duty you may need to pay using our stamp duty calculator.

Mortgage fees

Depending on how you apply for your mortgage and what product you choose, you could face several fees.

For example, if you apply through a mortgage broker (or adviser), you may need to pay a flat fee, which could be several hundred pounds, or a percentage fee for their services.

However, some brokers won’t charge you any fees and make their money by charging the mortgage provider instead.

Make sure you research what fees a mortgage broker may charge before using their services.

Mortgage products may also charge certain fees, such as arrangement fees and valuation fees.

Arrangement fees (also known as product or completion fees) could be as much as £2,000, but fees of around £999 are fairly typical. You can choose to add this fee to your mortgage but, as this means you would be charged interest, it’s better to pay it upfront if possible. There are some mortgage deals without any product fees, but these are likely to charge a higher rate of interest.

Mortgage lenders conduct a valuation of your home before approving a mortgage. While many lenders offer this for free, some lenders may charge a valuation fee that could be £100 or more. Note that this valuation is solely for the lender and is separate from the survey you arrange yourself.

When comparing mortgages, it’s important to consider the overall cost of the mortgage, including any fees and incentives, not just the rate.

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Removal fees

If you’re lucky, you may have friends or family with a van who can help you to move into your new home for free (or for the price of fuel and lunch!).

If not, you’ll probably need to pay a removal firm to help you on moving day or hire a van yourself.

The cost of a removals service can range from a few hundred pounds to over £1,000, so it’s worth getting a number of quotes to compare providers. There are different packages to choose from, with some firms helping you to pack and unpack while others will simply transport your belongings.

The cost also depends on how much you want to move and how far you’re moving. For example, moving items from a four-bedroom house across the country is likely to cost significantly more than moving items from a one-bedroom flat to somewhere less than one mile away.

Estate agents

If you’re only buying a home, not selling, then you don’t need to worry about paying any estate agent fees.

Sellers who use an estate agent to help sell their property will need to pay for their services. This could be charged as a flat fee (mostly online estate agents) or a percentage fee of the sale price which typically ranges between 0.75% and 3.5%.

Mail redirection

It may be worth setting up a mail redirection with Royal Mail, so any post that gets sent to your old address will be redirected to your new home. This gives you some time to update your address with all relevant people and organisations.

Redirecting your mail costs £39.50 for one individual for up to three months, or £84 for up to 12 months.

Ongoing costs


When you buy a home with a mortgage, the mortgage lender normally requires you to have sufficient buildings insurance. The cover needs to start on the day you exchange contracts, as this is when you are legally responsible for the property.

As a result, it’s important to budget for this and take time to compare quotes to find the right policy at the best price for your situation. If you used a mortgage broker, they may offer buildings insurance. However, it’s always worth considering different options and not just opting for their selected policy.

The average cost of buildings-only insurance was £298 in the first quarter of 2024, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI). Combined buildings and contents cover costs an average of £375.

Even though they’re not required, it may also be worth considering other types of insurance for some extra protection, such as:

  • Contents insurance: This covers the items inside your home and can often be purchased separately from or alongside buildings insurance.
  • Life insurance: There are different types of life insurance available, but it may be worth considering a policy that can cover your mortgage repayments in the event of your death, so your family and dependents won’t need to worry about paying it. See our guide on whether you need life insurance for a mortgage.
  • Mortgage protection insurance: This insurance can cover your mortgage payments if you’re unable to do so, in the event of long-term illness or unemployment, for example.

The cost of these insurance policies can vary significantly depending on the provider, the level of cover you choose, your property and your personal situation.

You may be able to pay for your cover annually or monthly, but bear in mind that it’s typically cheaper to pay annually if possible.

Compare home insurance

See our charts to compare home insurance providers.

Decorating and maintenance costs

Whether you’re planning extensive renovations to your new home or not, maintaining your property can be costly.

You should have a rough idea about how much you may need to spend on your property initially, as your home survey should highlight anything that requires immediate attention.

But it’s also important to factor in other expenses such as a regular boiler service, as well as any unexpected costs you may need to pay for emergency repairs, for example.

Additionally, the cost of decorating and furnishing your new home can quickly build up, so make sure you have some money set aside to cover these expenses.


When you own your own home, some of the bills you can expect to pay include:

  • Gas and electricity
  • Water
  • Council tax
  • TV and broadband

If you have a leasehold property, you may also need to budget for ground rent and service charges. These can change each year.

What fees can I expect when remortgaging?

Even if you’re not buying a new home and simply looking to remortgage, there are some costs to consider. These may include:

  • Early repayment charges: You may need to pay this if you want to leave your current deal before the end of the term. These can be costly so it may be worth waiting until the end of your current deal before remortgaging.
  • Exit fees: Also known as a redemption fee, this is typically a relatively small charge that covers the cost of switching your mortgage. It is charged regardless of whether your fixed deal has ended or not.
  • Deeds release fees: This is charged by your existing lender to transfer the deeds of your property to the new lender.
  • Broker fees: If you used a mortgage broker to help find a new mortgage deal, you may need to pay a fee for their service.
  • Legal fees: If you remortgage to a new lender, you’ll need a solicitor or conveyancer to arrange the transfer and complete the necessary paperwork. This won’t normally cost as much as when you buy a property. Some lenders may offer free legal fees as part of the remortgage deal, but the lender will choose the solicitor.
  • Mortgage fees: Just like when you buy a house, the deal you remortgage to may charge fees, such as an arrangement fee or a valuation fee.

What fees should I expect in a product transfer?

If you want to remortgage to a new fixed deal with your existing lender, there shouldn’t be as many costs to pay.

Remortgaging with the same lender is also known as a product transfer.

You won’t typically need to use a solicitor (unless you want to make significant changes to the mortgage by releasing equity or adding or removing a named individual, for example), and you may not need to pay valuation fees on your new deal.

However, you may still need to pay an arrangement fee on your new deal and, depending on when you remortgage, you may face early repayment charges.

Compare remortgage deals

See our regularly updated charts to compare the latest remortgage deals.

Disclaimer: This information is intended solely to provide guidance and is not financial advice. Moneyfacts will not be liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, Moneyfacts recommends you obtain independent financial advice.

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