The costs involved in buying your first home or a new home

When people are looking to buy their first house or a new home, they sometimes get fixated on the price of the property but lose sight of the other costs involved. You may be surprised to learn that the average cost of moving house reached £31,0001 in some parts of the UK last year. It all depends on where you live and the cost of the house you are buying.

We want to draw attention to the major costs involved in moving house for those planning their budget. Some of these may be obvious but if you are new to buying property then we hope the information will help.

Before moving, you might want to prepare a budget for the following:

Your Deposit

When you buy your home, you will need to have some money to put towards the cost. This is your deposit, and the larger it is, the less you’ll need to borrow. The size of your deposit will also affect the repayments on your loan and could reduce your interest rate too.

When talking about mortgages, you’re likely to hear the term “Loan to Value” or its abbreviation, LTV. Loan to Value is a ratio between the size of the loan you would like against the value or sale price of the property you wish to purchase. For example, with a £30,000 deposit on a £300,000 property, the deposit is 10% of the full price. The LTV is the remaining 90%, and the mortgage will be for this amount. The values and proportions involved will of course depend upon your own circumstances.

Picture of a house.

Legal fees

To buy a house you’ll need to instruct a solicitor or conveyancer. They will carry out all the legal requirements involved in buying your home and usually charge a fee ranging from £850 to £1,5002 plus VAT. Costs will be different depending of if you are buying your first house or if you are buying a new house.

There are many searches that your solicitor will carry out. One of the searches that you will need to cover the cost of is a local authority search. The solicitor does this to check whether there are any local plans or problems, and the cost can vary by region. You should check with your solicitor whether this is included in your fees, or if it is an additional amount. Searches normally cost around £250-£3002.

Stamp duty

In England and Wales you have to pay stamp duty to the government when you buy a residential property costing more than £125,000 (or £40,000 for second homes). This tax applies to both freehold and leasehold properties.

The current rates for stamp duty can be found on the Government website and there is also a calculator to help you work out how much you would have to pay.

For those lucky enough to be able to buy two houses, there are higher rates for additional properties. You’ll usually have to pay 3% on top of the normal stamp duty rates, if buying a new residential property means you’ll own more than one.

A builder, contractor or surveyor pointing out an issue with a property to a homeowner.

Valuation and Surveyor’s Fee

Your mortgage lender is likely to charge a fee to value the property you are buying. The cost depends on the type of mortgage you have and the value of the property, and you should check the costs associated with your mortgage before you select the provider.

The lender will have a minimum standard of survey that they require but you can choose to pay more and have a more comprehensive survey if you like. This will depend on the type of property you are buying and your own personal preference. A survey will typically confirm the value of the property, check for any structural defects and highlight anything that will be of interest to the lender in terms of the soundness of the property. A arranging a survey on the property is always a good idea for your own peace of mind.

A survey checks for structural defects in the property. There are three types, and according to the web site the typical costs are:

  • Home condition survey – a basic survey for new-build or conventional homes: £250.
  • Homebuyer’s report – a more complete survey which looks inside and outside the property: £400 and above.
  • Building or structural survey – a comprehensive survey for older or non-standard properties: more than £600.


It’s always a good idea to protect your home against damage from things like fire, floods and subsidence with Buildings Insurance which can be sold with contents insurance to protect all of your possessions; but if you need a mortgage your lender will insist that this is in place before lending you any money.

When taking out a mortgage, there may be other insurances that you may want to think about but these are not a requirement when taking out a mortgage.

One of these is Life insurance, which often can cover the outstanding debt on the mortgage in the event of your death or that of your partner if they are on the policy also. A horrible thought, but it is worth thinking about how the people left behind will be able to continue to live in your home.

You may also want to think about ASU Insurance (Accident, Sickness and Unemployment Insurance) which is designed to provide you with financial protection in the event that you are unable to continue working.

It is always a good idea to speak with a financial advisor to go through these options and discuss which may be most suitable for you.

Electronic Transfer Fee

This covers the banking costs associated with transferring the mortgage funds from the lender to the solicitor. Prices vary from bank to bank but can be around £40-£502. Saffron Building Society quotes £30 for this.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)

Anyone selling a house now has to provide buyers with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the property. An EPC gives information about a property’s energy efficiency. EPCs are conducted by accredited domestic energy assessors. There's no fixed fee, the fee depends on a number of factors such as the type of property you live in and how many bedrooms it has. EPC prices typically start at around £353 but certificates for larger houses will cost more.

It makes sense to shop around and look for the most cost effective alternative, rather than use one supplied by your estate agent.

Person carrying a box, moving house.

Removal Costs

Unless you are using your own vehicle, relatives and friends for help, you’ll need to pay for the costs of moving your possessions to your new home. This obviously varies according to the size of your house and what you own and how far you are moving, but make sure you shop around and get professionals who will care for all of your belongings. Your mortgage lender will likely expect you to be able to provide an estimate of these costs.

Running Costs and Council Tax

Before you move into your new house you should work out the costs of living there. This will enable you to create a budget so that there are no unexpected surprises when you move in. These costs can include gas, Council Tax, electricity, water, phone and TV, broadband and any other expenses you usually incur. Your mortgage lender will likely expect to see an estimate of these costs.

Total Cost

The total cost of moving will depend upon your own unique circumstances. In 2016, the Telegraph1 looked at averages in different regions of the country to illustrate what these costs might be. We are providing their figures for illustrative purposes only, and you should make sure you do your own analysis and planning rather than relying on them. However, we do think they provide an interesting snapshot of what you could have to pay to move house.


Average moving cost: £31,416

Up 18% in the last year - £4,732

South East

Average moving cost: £20,210

Up 20% in the last year - £3,382

West Midlands

Average moving cost: £9,814

Up 4% in the last year - £412

East Anglia

Average moving cost: £10,973

Up 10% in the last year - £999

North East

Average moving cost: £7,133

Up 9% in the last year - £604


Average moving cost: £7,563

Up 0% in the last year

How is a Building Society different from other Mortgage Lenders?

As a mutual, Saffron Building Society is owned by you, the members, and exists solely for your benefit. We put all our surplus money back into the Society for the benefit of members, leading to higher interest rates for savers and lower rates for borrowers. What makes us different is that we always try to provide the most flexible, honest and straightforward service available. Our values are rooted in the community and we know it’s our job to support you in your pursuit of a home.

If you want to learn more about our mortgages, call us or click here.

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