Buying a home? The hidden costs you may not know about
Buying a home is not just about getting a deposit together, there are many other costs to consider. If you are planning to buy a property, here's what you need to know:
Costs incurred as part of the buying process
There are numerous costs you should be factoring into your budget before you begin the buying process. These include:
- Conveyancing fees
- Conveyancing disbursements
- Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)
- Mortgage fees
- Survey fees
- Removal costs
A conveyancing solicitor will handle the legal side of your move. Conveyancing fees vary according to the value of the property and the complexity of the transaction.
Watch out for additional fees that are not included in their conveyancing quote. Many conveyancing solicitors have a list of additional fees hidden away in their terms and conditions. These additional fees can leave homebuyers with a bill far higher than their initial quote.
Certain additional fees are justified. The need to handle a mutual deed of covenant for a flying freehold, for example, constitutes significant additional legal work that would not be identified at the time of quoting; Completing a lease extension at the same time as the conveyancing process is beyond the scope of a standard conveyancing transaction.
Some solicitors charge additional fees for work that really should be included as part of a standard conveyancing process. Additional fees are hidden in the small print to make the initial conveyancing quote look more competitive.
Make sure you read the terms and conditions before instructing a solicitor.
Conveyancing fees range from around £400 to £1,500 inc. VAT
See examples of hidden conveyancing fees:
Potential hidden fees
|Additional enquiries fee||£50 to £150|
|Adverse Possession Fee||£50 to £150|
|Alteration of Official Copies Fee||£50 to £150|
|Appointing an Additional Trustee Fee||£50 to £150|
|Auction sale/purchase supplements||£50 to £100|
|Bank transfer (TT Fee) - 1st TT fee included in our fee||£25 to £45 (per transfer)|
|Cheques Returned or Stopped Fee||£25 to £50|
|Cheques to a Third Party Fee||£25 to £50|
|Companies House Search Fee||£25 to £50|
|Copy documents from third parties||£25 to £50 (per copy)|
|Dealing with Apportionments on Leasehold transactions||£50 to £100|
|Dealing with Freeholder of a Property with Leasehold Title||£100 to £150|
|Declaration of Solvency Fee||£50 to £150|
|Freehold Property with a Management Company (dealing with) Fee||£50 to £150|
|Freehold Property with Leasehold Title Fee||£50 to £150|
|Freehold Reversion Fee||£50 to £150|
|Help to Buy Equity Loan Fee||£50 to £150|
|Help to Buy Forces Loan Fee||£50 to £150|
|Help to Buy Redemption Fee||£50 to £150|
|Houses in Multiple Occupation Fee||£50 to £150|
|Indemnity Insurance Arrangement Fee||£50 to £100|
|Inward payment processing fee||£25 to £45|
|Key Undertaking Fee||£50 to £100|
|Lease Extension Approval Fee||£50 to £150|
|Lease Extension Preparation Fee||£50 to £150|
|Legal Aid Charge Transfer Fee||£50 to £150|
|Lender Panel Management Fee||£50 to £150|
|Licence to Assign Fee||£50 to £150|
|Lifetime Mortgage/Equity Release (dealing with) Fee||£50 to £150|
|Merger of Titles Fee||£50 to £150|
|Multiple Titles Fee||£50 to £150|
|Name Declaration Fee||£50 to £150|
|Newbuild Fee||£50 to £250|
|Obtaining leasehold management information on leasehold sale||£50 to £100|
|Occupier Waiver Fee||£50 to £150|
|Power of Attorney or Court Order Fee||£50 to £150|
|Private Mortgage Fee||£50 to £150|
|Professional Indemnity Contribution Fee||£25 - £50|
|Providing copies of property searches||£15 to £30 (per copy)|
|Reconstitution of Legal Title Fee||£50 to £150|
|Retention Fee||£50 to £150|
|Second or Subsequent Mortgage Fee||£50 to £150|
|Second or Subsequent Mortgage Transfer Fee||£50 to £150|
|Service charge arrears calculation fee||£25 to £50|
|Share Certificate Fee||£50 to £150|
|Share of Freehold Fee||£50 to £150|
|Shared Ownership/ Equity Fee||£50 to £150|
|Simultaneous exchange and completion||£50 to £100|
|Software Fee||£25 to £50|
|Solar Panels Fee||£50 to £150|
|Staircasing Fee||£50 to £150|
|Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) Form Fee||£50 to £100|
|Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) Staircasing Fee||£50 to £150|
|Statutory Declaration Fee||£50 to £150|
|Subject Access Request Fee||£25 to £50|
|Surplus Funds Payments to a Third Party Fee||£50 to £150|
|Third party ID checks||£50 to £100|
|Third Party Lenders Lawyer Fee||£50 to £150|
|Third Party Matrimonial Lawyer Fee||£50 to £150|
|Third Party Other Lawyer Fee||£50 to £150|
|Unregistered Title Fee||£50 to £150|
|Unrepresented Party Fee||£50 to £150|
|Upgrading Title to Absolute Fee||£50 to £150|
|Voluntary First Registration Fee||£50 to £150|
This list is non-exhaustive and there are many more potential hidden fees.
Disbursements are third party costs incurred by your solicitor on behalf of the buyer. Examples of disbursements include Stamp Duty, indemnity insurance policies and HM Land Registry fees. Disbursements should not be marked up by the solicitor and should only be recharged to you at cost.
Disbursements could add £100s and in some cases £1,000s to your moving costs.
See examples of conveyancing disbursements:
Land Registry Fees – paid to HM Land Registry to register your ownership. (note that the costs are doubled if your solicitor still uses paper filing – contact the solicitor and make sure they use electronic filing)
£20 - £455
Property Fraud fee – confirms the seller’s solicitors bank details are legitimate
Property searches – enquiries made of various authorities including the local authority and water company. Usually sold as a bundle.
£195 - £345
TT Fee – the cost of the electronic transfer of funds to the seller
£20 - £50
Office copies – Cost of obtaining official title documents from the land registry
£6 - £24
£20 - £40
Landlord notice fee – when buying a leasehold property the landlord will normally charge a fee for registering the new owner.
£50 - £200
Ground rent/Service charges – Service charges and ground rent are paid annually in advance. If you are buying a leasehold you will need to pay (pro-rata) for the remaining part of the year.
£0 to £1,000s
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) – Stamp Duty will be paid to HMRC on your behalf by the conveyancing solicitor on completion.
See stamp duty section
In England and Northern Ireland, you have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) to HMRC when you buy a house or land if it exceeds a certain threshold.
Stamp duty calculator
Note: SDLT is subject to special measures during the COCID-19 pandemic. See:
A payment made to some lenders in advance of your mortgage application going through. Booking fees (also known as reservation fees) may be payable if you choose not to go ahead with the mortgage.
Booking fees range from around £100 and £250 and are non-refundable.
The amount you pay to some mortgage lenders for setting up the mortgage. It may be a flat fee or may be calculated as a percentage of the loan. Some lenders allow you to add the fee to your mortgage.
Arrangement fees are usually are typically around £250 but could be up to 1% of the mortgage.
Mortgage broker fees
Mortgage brokers don’t work for free. They either charge a fee, take a commission from the lender or both. If a commission is being received from the lender, it will be built into the mortgage interest rate and you will repay it over the term of the mortgage.
Mortgage broker fees are usually around 0.4% of the mortgage. Broker fees could be around £500.
Mortgage valuation fees
Not to be confused with a Homebuyers Survey or Building Survey, you will also have to pay for a mortgage valuation survey.
This survey is to ensure that the property is worth what you are intending to pay for it and as such offers sufficient collateral for the loan. It is carried out for the mortgage lender’s benefit, not yours, but does offer some comfort that you are paying the right price for the property.
Mortgage valuation surveys cost between £200 and £600.
A survey is an inspection of the property you want to buy and is carried out by a qualified surveyor. A survey is essentially a brick and mortar health check which will identify any potentially costly defects. The level of detail depends on which survey
The majority of buyers arrange a survey, but it is not mandatory.
Survey costs vary: A HomeBuyer’s Report will cost between £350 and £1,000. A full building survey can cost between £500 and £1,500.
If the survey identifies urgent necessary repairs, these costs must be factored in by the buyer. An adverse survey result will often prompt a price renegotiation.
Whether you chose to rent a van yourself or use a fully inclusive removals service, the cost of moving can quickly add up.
The cost of a removals service will depend on how much ‘stuff’ you need to move and how far you need to move it.
Removals services cost from £500 - £3,000.
Packing services will add £300 - £1,000.
If you can call in a few favours from friends and do it yourself, a van could cost you between £100 and £200 for a weekend.
You will probably want to take out moving insurance also which can add £50 - £500.
Being prepared for the costs you will incur will help you to budget for what is almost always an expensive and stressful process. Shopping around can really pay as the range of fees being charged can be broad.
Your next step
If you are buying, selling, remortgaging or transferring equity in a home, we can help you find an expert conveyancing solicitor.
We work with a panel of specialist conveyancing solicitors to deliver a stress-free moving experience.
- No Move, No Fee Guarantee
- Fixed fee conveyancing service
- CQS-accredited panel solicitors
All-inclusive quote from £384 inc VAT
Puzzled by the
home buying process?
Frequently asked questions:
- How do I speed up the conveyancing process?
- How much Stamp Duty (SDLT) will I need to pay in 2021?
- Why do I need to check my conveyancer's lender panel status before instructing?
- What do buyers need to know about conveyancing in 2021?
Get all the answers in our comprehensive FAQ section:See more FAQs