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Buying a house comes with too many extra costs

Toy house with pound coins

House prices rise and fall, but there’s lots of additional extras that are always there. If we want people to own property, then we need to bring these costs down right now.

Another day, another housing headline. Recent stories have included house prices rising (according to the Land Registry, prices rose by 0.4% in July) and house prices falling (property analyst Hometrack tells us that they fell by 0.3% between July and August).

Latest figures from the Bank of England reveal that mortgage approvals are below half the levels they were in 2007 and that total lending was the weakest since March. We’ve also been told that the self-employed and first-time buyers are suffering because of restrictions on lending. However, there’s one story that seems to always get lost in the economics – the actual cost of buying a house.

The real cost of buying a house

When I say the cost of buying a house, I don’t mean the purchase price – I mean the extras that go with it. I recently bought a house for just over £300,000, but the cost didn’t end there.

Stamp duty, solicitors’ fees, an energy performance certificate (EPC), transfer charges, estate agent’s fees, mortgage fees, valuations, surveys, searches, land registry fees – all of these added around £20,000 onto my final bill. And that was before little things like moving costs, storage fees and insurance.

In the current climate, where lenders want higher deposits and are less willing to lend, these additional fees can make or break many sales. Particularly for first-time buyers, who are the life blood of the housing market.

Change needed in the housing market

It’s time the government looked closely at these costs and made some serious changes to the way homes are bought and sold in this country. But until that happens there are some things you can do to keep costs down:

  • Sell your house yourself – it may be time-consuming, but this’ll save a fortune on estate agents who are still charging between 1 and 3% for their ‘services’.
  • Shop around for your EPC – we recently found that prices can vary dramatically.
  • Work out the best deal for your mortgage – not just the rate, but the full cost of the product including fees.
  • Compare solicitor’s costs – don’t just go with the first one you find.

One final word of advice – if you’re thinking of doing the removal work yourself to save money – don’t. Call in the professionals. It’s back-breaking work and DIY removal can cause anything from broken plates to broken arms. Just ask my best mate, who spent two months in plaster after his last move…

Comments
Member

I am in process of moving house. It’s something I have been considering since I took early retirement four years ago. I have had an offer accepted on a house that was built in 1998 and now I need to decide on a survey. In an informal discussion with my solicitor I was told that a homebuyer survey can be a bit of a waste of money because surveyors often point out what is obvious and say that anything that looks dodgy should be examined by a professional. I am awaiting information about what items I can select to be included in a survey.

Has anyone got any advice on getting value for money from a survey?

Member

Avoid any surveyor who does mortgage surveys. Their reports are worthless. Apologies to any who actually do their job properly but they do seem to be in short supply.

I think we would get an independent structural surveyor next time. And I would accompany them to make sure they examined the property properly.

Good Luck !!!

Member

My daughter recently had to get a home survey for the mortgage and all that does is make sure the property is fitting with the amount of finance against it
Nothing like a survey in Canada where our eldest has been for a while……………….They include everything
My son like you has had an offer accepted several months ago…………..The house is in the country and every single little thing about water pipes,,,,,,septic,,,,,,,,,,electric supply underground…………etc has to have wayleaves to access or whatever its called
The owners of everything has everything signed since Xmas but its like snails pace
Home inspections are waste of time
Both of ours got the paperwork back and even the boiler had a note that the boiler was simply there but hadnt been switched on……………..
Immersion heaters were not tried and again noted
Wave I think you have more idea than the inspection……………..Get inot the roof space and all through and you’ll see all you need to know,,,,,,I hope

Member

My estate agent is going to let me have a key so that I can go round with a friend and do a thorough check and by the time I’m done every socket will be tested and I will have had a good ferret around in the loft. The vendor has already provided useful answers to may pages of questions. I suspect that the immersion heater does not work but that’s not a big issue.

Member

Thanks Alfa. I’m surprised that this Convo has not been used in the past five years but maybe a bit of recycling is needed. 🙂

I’ve already decided that I’m not using a surveyor unless they let me accompany them, but it is useful advice for anyone who has not realised that this is possible. I was wondering if I need a structural survey because there is no sign of problems. I’m planning to do a thorough inspection before instructing the surveyor.

Member

Another thing I would do is talk to the neighbours. They can tell you all sorts of things that you wish you had known before buying a property. They might know of structural problems, boundary problems, neighbourhood problems, etc. things the seller won’t tell you and I would also like to know who I might be living next door to.

And I concur with DeeKay, definitely look in the roof space.

Member

I’m planning to speak to neighbours and will have a good look round the roof space. When I bought my present home, over 30 years ago, it was easier because there was not masses of insulation to contend with.

Member

In my sons case we know everyone if that can be relied on………….Seller,,,,,sellers brother,,,,,,,,,neighbours and the estate agent also who is the biggest of the problems,,,,,,,,,,,,slow as a snail

Wifey and I were going past last week and we seen the brother out in the farm yard…………..So I stopped………..Same class at school and he knew who was trying to buy the house………..His only daughter was in the same class as my son at primary………..he then went to grammar but they still associated

Brother was able to tell me that all the wayleaves/rights of way were signed before Xmas………….just the water connection to sort out and he showed us the receipt to the utility…………..

Still it’s best to go speak to everyone whether you know them or not
Like Alfa says,,,,you may learn a lot of things
One of the problems today is that we think we are buying the property and the views etc included which we are not……………We are only buying the house and grounds and we have to get along with the neighbours and rural in particular has a different set of long accepted rules from simple town house type properties
So rural mat look nice but there are drawbacks as there are with everything