Young woman takes five while moving home

3 November 2015

It's not just about the deposit

From survey fees, stamp duty, legal fees and more, Principality Building Society’s Mortgage Product Manager Christopher Johnson shares his ultimate checklist for any first-time buyer.

When saving to buy a house, it’s easy to simply focus on putting away money for a deposit. Many of us can forget to consider the additional costs we’ll all be faced with at some point through the process, which can be a hard pill to swallow when we need to pay up. It’s vital to factor these extra expenditures into your overall savings to make sure you can complete the deal on your new home with no unnecessary financial hiccups along the way.

Stamp Duty

Stamp duty tax is a lump sum of money that anyone buying a property in Wales, England or Northern Ireland will have to pay. The current threshold for stamp duty is £125,000 for residential properties and £150,000 for non-residential land and properties. However, the rate you’ll pay depends of the price of the property – you may remember this as one of the big outcomes of the 2014 Autumn Statement where the Government changed the fixed fee system to one based on a tier of house prices.

You can find handy stamp duty calculators online where you can work out your fee in advance, leaving you plenty of time to budget this cost in.

When it comes to stamp duty, the most important thing to remember is you have 30 days after you complete on your house to pay the fee. Failing to pay within the 30 days could leave you facing a fine with interest on top. It’s often a good idea to pay your stamp duty fee at the same time as completing on your house, so you don’t forget about it in the excitement of moving in.

Valuation Fee

This is a fee charged by your mortgage lender for undertaking a mortgage valuation on the property. In short, this is an assessment to determine a property’s value which will in turn help the lender establish how much they are prepared to lend you. The cost of the valuation really can vary depending on the value of your property, but expect to pay anything from £150-£1,500. Some lenders might not charge you for this depending on the mortgage product you choose, so make sure you’re clear on whether it is something you’ll need to factor into your budget from the outset.

Remember, a mortgage valuation is a very basic inspection of the property, and won’t necessarily reveal what maintenance work needs doing. A full survey – our next point on the budget planner – is highly recommended.


Perhaps one of the most crucial things to consider is the cost of a full survey on the property. Surveys range from the basic to the much more extensive, and you should factor in around £200-£600 respectively. While this seems an expensive additional cost at the outset, it really could save you hundreds if not thousands of pounds down the line.

If you’re not sure which surveyor to go with, a good place to start is by making sure they are a member of a recognised governing body. These include the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA) or Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Legal Fees

You’ll need to hire a solicitor to carry out all the legal work when buying and selling a house. Factor in £500-£1,500 for legal fees, including VAT.

Electronic Transfer Fee

Another must-consider, this covers the lender’s cost of transferring the mortgage money from the lender to your solicitor. Typically this costs £40-£50.

And the extras…

When your mortgage is complete and the celebrations start to kick off, it’s still really important that you don’t get the additional costs once you’re actually moved in. Removal companies, new furniture, paint, and council tax are just some of the extra costs you might be faced with once you’ve completed – and often some of the more ‘fun’ things to purchase that you’ll really not want to go without.

However, there are of course ways to make savings here too. For instance, buying second hand furniture or shipping in friends to help with the move, rather than paying big money for a removal company. It might be tricky to put a price on how much the extras could cost, but making thoughtful estimations won’t leave you short when the time comes.

All in all, the additional costs when moving house should not be underestimated. What’s really important is not to scrimp and under-price things like evaluations and legal fees; the more thorough, the better and you’ll reap the benefits in the long run. Nevertheless, careful budgeting and planning will help you keep on top these expenses and see you happily moved into your new home in no time.

Published: 03/11/2015