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POSTED 13 March 2018 General

The Hidden Costs of Buying Your First Home

You’ve had an offer accepted on your first dream home and you can’t contain yourself! We totally get it, buying your first home is an extremely exciting time and you should enjoy it but keep in mind that hidden costs can creep up on us, put a strain on budget and cause stress during the buying process.

We have put together a list of everything to look out for when buying your first home.

first home research


A home is the most expensive purchase most people ever make. As an owner you will benefit from expert advice on the condition of your property - whether you plan to live in it, rent it out or sell it. You will need to choose from one of the following:

1. RICS Home Condition Report: describes the condition of the property, identifies any risks and potential legal issues and highlights any urgent defects. Typically, the lowest priced of the surveys, it is aimed at conventional properties and newer homes. They cost around £250.

2. RICS HomeBuyer Reportsuitable for conventional properties which are in reasonable condition. The report gives you more detailed information and provides the choice of either a survey or a survey & valuation. Costs start at approximately £400.

  • HomeBuyer Report (survey) - includes all the features of the RICS Condition Report. It also includes advice on defects that may affect the property with repairs, and ongoing maintenance advice
  • HomeBuyer Report (survey & valuation) - includes all the features of the RICS Condition Report, plus a market valuation and insurance rebuild costs. It also includes advice on defects that may affect the value of the property with repairs, and ongoing maintenance advice.

3. RICS Building Surveyessential for larger or older properties, or if you’re planning major works. The most comprehensive report provides you with an in-depth analysis of the property's condition and includes advice on defects, repairs and maintenance. They cost around £500.  

You may wish to carry out electrical and gas safety surveys; however there is no legal requirement to do so unless you plan on renting the property out.


The survey will clearly identify areas which require repair. The cost of repairs will vary based on the issue and the contractor you hire to fix them.

We strongly recommend looking into these costs before committing to buy, you can negotiate with the current owner to get these items fixed prior to completion or propose a reduced offer.


Mortgage costs

  • Valuation: When applying for a mortgage, the lender will value the property to decide how much they can lend you. The cost of this valuation ranges from £150 - £1,500.
  • DepositWhen taking out a mortgage you will be asked to pay a deposit, based on a percentage of the property’s value (at least 5%).
  • Booking feeYou are expected to pay a booking fee (usually between £99 and £250) and a mortgage arrangement fee (up to £2,000).
  • Electronic Transfer Fees: This is the cost of the lenders transferring the mortgage money to the solicitor. This will usually cost between £40 and £50. 

piggy bank

Legal Fees

When buying a house, you will usually hire a solicitor to help you with the legal process. Legal fees will range from £850 - £1,500. The solicitor may also carry out searches to see if there are any local plans or problems to be considered.

These searches will come at an additional cost but they can bring any future issues or costs to your attention before you commit to buy.

Stamp Duty

As a first time buyer, thanks to the recent budget announcement (22nd November 2017) you can now claim a discount so you don’t pay any tax up to £300,000 and 5% on the portion from £300,001 to £500,000. You’re eligible if you, and anyone else you’re buying with, are first-time buyers.

If the property price is over £500,000, you follow the rules for people who’ve bought a home before. Click here for more information.

Stamp duty must be paid within 30 days of buying a house and is usually coordinated by your solicitor.

Ongoing costs

Congratulations, you are now a homeowner! You will now need to consider home insurance, to protect your new home from flood or fire damage. Life insurance is highly recommended to protect your next of kin from mortgage liabilities should you pass away.

You will also need to arrange payment of council tax and utility bills.

We hope this article helps set out all the hidden costs associated with buying your first home, allowing you to enjoy the excitement of owning your own place!