Buying a property is most likely to be the biggest purchase we ever make. Once you’ve carefully calculated your budget to ensure you can afford the upfront costs of buying a property, as well as the monthly mortgage payments, you’re ready to find your perfect home.
But even if you’re not a first home buyer, there are some expenses that may catch you out. Here we look at some of the biggest and - occasionally surprising - costs that come with home ownership.
Purchase and moving costs
Mortgage and valuation fees, a survey, removal costs and more - it’s easy to underestimate the costs involved in buying a home and moving. Especially when many of these have various options and prices.
Consumer group Which? estimates that home moving fees and costs can total between £1,330 and £6,140, excluding stamp duty.
Redecorating, maintenance and building work
When you buy a home, you want to make it your own. Even if it doesn’t need a lot of work, you’re likely to want to spruce it up or change the colour of some of the walls. If your new home needs more major work done, then the costs can soon add up.
Even if you’ve been settled in your home for a while, there will always be jobs and repairs to be done.
Some experts suggest that homeowners should budget 1% of the value of their property every year to maintenance and property repair. Based on current house prices, this works at an average of over £2,500 per year.
Ground rent and service charges
If you live in a leasehold property, you may have to pay an annual ground rent and service charge to the freeholder.
It’s really important you understand what sort of home you’re buying and what additional costs you may face if you buy leasehold.
Energy bills are a regular expense that all homeowners live with. But what about the equipment needed to keep your house warm and water heated? An important part of that is your boiler. These workhorses can provide hot water and warmth for years, or even decades.
But when a boiler needs replacing, it can be a costly, unexpected expense. A new one typically costs between £500 and £2,500, depending on the system, or as much as £13,000 for a biomass boiler.
How will you get around when you move into your new home? If you are moving further from friends and family, or from your job, then the transport costs could be substantially different.
You may need to change how you get around, whether that’s the need to buy a new car, or start using a bus or train. All of these have costs, which you need to factor in.
Do you have to pay for rubbish collection where you live? Depending on your postcode, you may have to pay to have a brown garden bin to be regularly emptied, or perhaps for your recycling. Alternatively, you may not face any charges at all. It’s one of the services that’s been described as a postcode lottery and can often lead to frayed tempers.
At some point, your home exterior may need brightening up with a new coat of paint. According to myjobquote.co.uk the average cost of having the exterior of a two-storey, three-bedroom house painted in the UK is £850.
Furnishing your home
While many people gradually accumulate furniture and white goods over the years, some new home buyers may need to buy lots of home furnishings from scratch.
Research suggests that furnishing a new home could cost over £15,000.
Council Tax is a big annual expense, used to pay for services in your community. The amount you pay can vary substantially depending on where you live, along with the value of your home.
Make sure you don’t overpay. If you think your property has been put into the wrong council tax band, you can apply to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) for England and Wales to have it changed, or in Scotland, on the Scottish Assessors website.
In Northern Ireland, the equivalent tax to council tax is called rates. If you think your rates bill is too high, you can ask Land & Property Services (LPS) to review your property's valuation.
Church repair liabilities
There are some unusual charges that some homeowners must pay. For example, under an old law, some homeowners have to contribute towards the cost of their local church's repairs. Liability for this charge may not always be on the title deeds of a house.
Your garden is your retreat and you and your family may pour lots of time and energy into maintaining it and ensuring it’s a pleasant place to while away your time.
You may also spend lots of money on your garden, particularly if you want to make any major changes. Landscaping costs vary depending on each garden, but according to mybuilding.com, you might typically expect to pay around £80 per square metre to have a new patio, while laying turf could come in it at around £10 to £20 per square metre, and laying a path might cost around £500. Of course, you could reduce these costs if there are jobs you can do yourself.
There are plenty of other costs thar homeowners face and it’s surprising how it can all add up. So, make sure you do your research before taking the plunge.
Read up on how to reduce the costs of moving house or for more tips on how to stay happy and safe at home, go to Solved