Estimate your buying and moving costs

When you buy a property or move home there will be a number of upfront costs you need to take into account, beyond just your mortgage costs. These include solicitor’s fees for the purchase, insurance for the property and (sometimes) ground rent. Be MoneyFit and include these when working out your overall budget.


Major upfront costs

Make sure you have saved enough to cover all the upfront costs. These include:

Cost  What it covers 
Deposit Generally, the bigger the deposit you can pay, the more likely you are to be given a mortgage (subject to a mortgage affordability assessment), and the lower your interest rate is likely to be.

This is the amount you put towards the cost of the property when you buy your home.

On average, you need at least 5% to 20% of the purchase price (for example: £10,000 to £40,000 when buying a £200,000 home).

Help to Buy and other housing schemes only require a 5% deposit. The Forces Help to Buy scheme offers an interest-free advance of salary of up to 50% of your salary and any recruitment and retention pay up to a maximum of £25,000, which you can use towards a deposit.
Stamp duty

Use the Stamp duty calculator to work out how much you'll pay if you're buying your property in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. 

Stamp duty is a government tax paid on homes costing £125,001 or more. 

First-time buyers will pay no Stamp Duty on the first £300,000 for properties worth up to £500,000.

As of April 2016, there is a 3% increase on top of current rates if you're buying an additional residential property above £40,000 such as a second home or buy-to-let property.

Valuation fee The mortgage lender will assess the value of the property to establish how much they are prepared to lend you.

The cost can be £150-£1,500 based on the property’s value.

Some lenders may not charge you for this, depending on the type of mortgage product you select.

The lender's valuation is not like a full structural survey so it may not identify all the repairs or maintenance that might be needed.
Surveyor's fee Before you buy a property, get it checked by a surveyor.

This is vital so that you understand if there are any issues with the property before you buy.

Surveys range from a basic home condition survey costing around £250 to a full structural survey from £600 or more.

Paying for a good survey could save you money on repairs in the long run.
See Survey types and costs.
Legal fees You will normally need a solicitor or licensed conveyor to carry out all the legal work when buying and selling your home.

Legal fees are typically £850-£1,500  including VAT at 20%.

They will also do local searches, which will cost you £250-300 to check whether there are any local plans or problems.
See Exchange and completion.
Electronic transfer fee Typically this costs £40-£50. It covers the lender’s cost of transferring the mortgage money from the lender to the solicitor.
Estate agent's fee This is only paid by the seller, not the buyer, for the estate agent’s services. It is negotiated when they put the property on the market. It is usually 1% to 3% of the sale price plus 20% VAT. See Dealing with estate agents.
Removal costs These usually range from £300-£600 although you could rent a van and do it yourself. Bear in mind that you may be able to get a service removals allowance to help with the costs - see JSP 752 and speak to unit HR.

Mortgage costs

We've put together a home buying timeline to help give you an idea of the costs you can expect through the process - see Buying a property.

Cost   What it covers
Mortgage fees These may include a booking fee of £99-£250, an arrangement fee of up to £2,000 and a mortgage valuation fee (typically £150 or possibly more).

It’s best to pay these upfront rather than adding them to your mortgage, otherwise you’ll be paying interest on them for the life of the mortgage.

Types of mortgage

There are hundreds of types of mortgage products and several types of mortgage for different circumstances.

Look beyond the interest rate. Make sure you also take the fees and charges into account when choosing a mortgage - see Getting a mortgage.

Ongoing costs

Remember that once you buy your own home you're responsible for looking after it.

Cost  What it covers 
Maintenance and repairs  The average repair bill for new homeowners is £5,750. Your survey should have highlighted any problems that need fixing straight away 
Insurance The lender will require that you take out buildings insurance to protect your new home against damage from fire, floods, subsidence and anything else. It’s also a good idea to have contents insurance for all your possessions (see Insurance for your home), and life insurance to pay off your mortgage should you die before you’ve repaid the entire amount.

There are other protection policies you may want to consider - see our Insurance section.
Council Tax The amount you pay is based on where the property is and the valuation band the property is in (apart from in Northern Ireland where rates are set individually). Find out more about Council Tax on
Running costs Ask the sellers how much they spend on utilities – gas, electricity and water – every year. Don’t forget charges for your phone, TV packages and broadband.

Leaseholders' costs

If you buy a leasehold property you'll have to pay ground rent (around £50-£100 a year) and service charges to the person who owns the freehold.

Service charges and admin fees differ between properties. This is an important cost of running a property so it’s vital you know more about these charges. Find out more about leasehold properties on

Last reviewed: 10/04/2018

This content has been provided by the Money Advice Service