The Hidden Costs of Buying a House

When it comes to buying a house, many people focus solely on the purchase price. However, it’s important to remember that there are additional expenses and legal fees that are often overlooked.

These hidden costs can quickly add up and impact the overall cost of buying a house. Understanding these expenses upfront can better prepare you for your property purchase and help you budget accordingly.


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Understanding the Purchase Price

When buying a house, the purchase price is the most obvious cost. However, it’s important to note that there are additional expenses involved in completing the purchase that should not be overlooked. These costs include:

  • Conveyancing fees charged by your solicitor or licensed conveyancer for handling the legal aspects of purchasing or selling a property
  • Land Registry fees for registering the transfer of ownership
  • Search fees for local authority and water and drainage searches
  • Survey fees for inspecting the property’s condition
  • Broker fees, if using a mortgage broker to source the right mortgage deal
  • Lender’s Valuation fees for determining the value of the property

It’s important to keep in mind that the costs of buying and selling a house can add up quickly, so it’s crucial to budget for these costs ahead of time to make sure they can be covered.


Legal Fees and Conveyancing

When buying a house, it’s vital to understand the legal fees associated with the process. Engaging the services of a solicitor or conveyancer is essential, and while it may incur additional costs, it’s a crucial step in ensuring a smooth property purchase.

The amount you’ll need to pay for legal fees will depend on several factors, such as the complexity of the case, the value of the property, and the services offered by the solicitor or conveyancer. Legal fees can range anywhere from £500 to £1,500 or more.

The role of conveyancing is to carry out the legal work involved in transferring ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer.

This will include carrying out searches on the property, drawing up contracts, and registering the new ownership with the Land Registry.


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Stamp Duty Land Tax

When purchasing a house in the UK, buyers need to consider Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) as it can be a significant cost. SDLT is applied to the purchase price of a property and is paid when the property is purchased.

The amount of SDLT payable depends on the purchase price of the property, and there are different thresholds for different prices (as at Jan 2024):

  • Up to £250,000 – no SDLT
  • £250,001 to £925,000 – 5% of the amount over £250,000
  • £925,001 to £1.5 million – 10% of the amount over £925,000
  • Above £1.5 million – 12% of the amount over £1.5 million

Buyers need to factor in the cost of SDLT when budgeting for their property purchase to avoid any unexpected expenses.


Mortgage Fees

When obtaining a mortgage to buy a house, you may encounter various fees, which can significantly add to the cost of buying a home.

Arrangement Fees

One of the fees that may be charged by your lender is an arrangement fee. This is the fee the lender charges for setting up the mortgage.

Arrangement fees can vary depending on the lender but can range from around £500 up to £2,000. Some lenders offer mortgages with no arrangement fees, but they may come with a higher interest rate.

Valuation Fee

The lender may also charge a valuation fee when checking the value of the property you aim to purchase. This cost can vary depending on the property value and the type of valuation required–it usually costs from £150 to £1,500.

Broker Fees

If you decide to use a mortgage broker, they may charge a fee for their services. Broker fees tend to vary between brokers and depend on the type of mortgage and the amount you want to borrow.

You may find that some brokers offer their services for free and instead receive a commission from the lender for securing your mortgage.

Early Repayment Fees

It is essential to check if your mortgage has any early repayment fees, as these can be significant.

The fee may apply if you wish to repay the mortgage early or switch to another lender before the fixed-rate term ends. The fee amount can depend on the terms of your agreement.


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Surveys and Valuations

Before you complete the purchase of a property, it’s important to have it surveyed and valued. Surveys can reveal any potential issues with the property that could cause significant costs down the road.

Types of Surveys

  • A Homebuyer Report is the most common type of survey that provides a detailed report on the condition of the property.
  • A Building Survey, on the other hand, is a more comprehensive survey that provides a detailed examination of the property’s construction and materials.
  • A Condition Report is the most basic survey that provides an overview of the property’s condition.

The type of survey you choose will depend on the property’s age, size, and condition.


A valuation determines the value of the property and the amount the lender is willing to lend.

The cost of a survey and valuation will depend on the type of survey and the value of the property. It’s important to budget for these costs, as they can add up quickly and increase the overall cost of buying a house.


Moving Expenses

When planning to buy a house, it’s important to consider the potential expenses involved in moving. Some of the common costs are listed below:

Hiring a Removal Company

If you have a lot of furniture and items to move, it may be worth hiring a professional removal company to help you transport your belongings.

The cost of hiring a removal company can vary depending on the distance travelled and the amount of items to be moved.


If you need to store your belongings for a period of time before moving into your new property, you may need to consider the cost of storage. Storage costs can vary depending on the size of the unit and the length of time you need it.

Redirecting Mail

Redirecting your mail is important to ensure that you don’t miss any important letters or bills. The cost of redirecting your mail will depend on the length of time you need the service.


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Key Takeaways

Buying a house is a significant financial commitment, and it’s essential to consider the costs involved, beyond just the purchase price.

By understanding the hidden costs, legal fees, and additional expenses, you can better prepare and budget for your property purchase.

Knowing the potential expenses upfront can help you avoid last-minute surprises and ensure a smooth home-buying experience. So, take your time, do your research, and calculate the total cost of buying a house to make an informed decision.



Are you on the hunt for your dream home? Explore Hopkins Homes’ new build developments.

Our developments span many popular areas such as Essex and Cambridgeshire, where you’ll be able to find a home that suits your size and budget requirements.

If you’re interested in discussing one of our new build properties, do get in touch.