What fees will I have to pay?
Buying a house is expensive and, without thoroughly researching and understanding what you’re doing, can be a lot more expensive than you first think. It’s far too easy to get fixated on just the cost of the house and forget about all the other costs, fees, charges and taxes that you’ll probably have to pay.
The property you buy and the mortgage you take out will determine the additional costs you have to pay. Some of them may not apply to you but it’s important that you know they exist and how much they could cost you.
It’s also a good idea to pay these additional costs in full and as they arise. If you can’t, they’ll be added to the amount you borrow which, of course, will increase the cost of your mortgage repayments.
Some of the costs are non-refundable so if a prospective purchase falls through you’ll still be liable and will have to pay them. Here’s a list of what to expect along with approximate values to illustrate their potential size. It’s important to stress that these are not exact figures; what you’ll actually be charged will vary from provider to provider and, whilst some may have a set scale of fees, others may ‘reserve the right’ to charge more depending on the complexity of your mortgage.
In today’s market you’ll need a minimum deposit of 5% of the value of the property but many mortgage providers will expect at least 10%. The greater your deposit the better as it will open up the market and help you win a much better mortgage deal. Unfortunately, you can’t add the deposit to the amount you borrow from your mortgage provider.
Arrangement fee (Up to £2,000, and maybe more)
This is charged by the mortgage provider for processing and administering your mortgage application and is sometimes known as the product fee or completion fee.
Booking fee (Up to £500)
This may be charged by your mortgage provider to secure a fixed-rate, tracker or discount mortgage. If it applies it may be included in the arrangement fee or it may be charged as a separate fee.
Mortgage valuation fee (Up to £1,500)
The mortgage provider will carry out a survey of the property you intend to buy to establish its true value in case they have to repossess the property and sell it to clear the mortgage. It is not a survey to determine the building’s general state of repair although the mortgage provider may ask you to carry out work if they feel the value of the property is compromised by any defects found. Some providers may waive the fee.
CHAPS fee (£25 – £50)
CHAPS is the Clearing House Automated Payment System; the CHAPS fee covers the cost of your mortgage provider transferring the money you are borrowing to your solicitor.
Mortgage account fee (£100 – £300)
This covers your mortgage provider’s administration costs in setting up, maintaining and, eventually, closing your mortgage.
Mortgage broker fee (Up to £1,500, but can be a lot more depending on what’s involved.)
This is paid to your mortgage broker but only if you are using one. It’s not compulsory but there are benefits in using a broker.
Higher lending charge (usually 1.5% of your mortgage)
This is paid to your mortgage provider. It’s not always charged but may be if you have a small depmosit.
Building insurance waiver (c.£25)
This is paid to your mortgage provider if you decide to arrange your own building insurance rather than use the insurance they offer. It’s not always charged.
Searches (Generally, £200 – £500)
These are fees paid to your solicitor so that they can pay the local council to provide information about planning or other issues that may affect the property’s value.
Conveyancing fee (£500 – £1,500)
These are your solicitor’s fees.
This is the tax you pay when you buy a property. Apart from the cost of the property, the exact amount you pay is affected by several other factors, for example: which of the four UK countries the property is in; whether the property is residential or non-residential; whether or not you’re a first-time buyer; whether it’s a second property and whether or not you’re an overseas buyer.
In his Autumn Statement of 17 November 2022, Jeremy Hunt, the new chancellor, confirmed that changes announced by his predecessor, Kwasi Kwarteng, would remain in place until 31 March 2025*.
*It’s important to note that these changes only apply to the rates payable in England and Northern Ireland. Under devolution, the governments of Scotland and Wales are free to set their own tariffs.
The first change affected the tax-free, ‘nil-rate’ band: the upper threshold being doubled from £125,000 to £250,000, meaning that no stamp duty is due on the first £250,000 of the purchase price. After this, buyers are liable for tax* against three further bands which remained unchanged by the ‘mini-budget’ announcement, ie:
£250,001 – £925,000 – 5%
£925,001 – £1,500,000 – 10%
£1,500,001+ – 12%
The following year, in his Autumn Statement of 2023, Hunt announced that the current tax-free, ‘nil-rate’ band of £250,000 would remain in place until 1 April 2025, after which it would be halved to £125,000 and a new band – £125,001 to £250,000 – introduced which would be taxed at 2%.
*For the ‘avoidance of doubt’, the percentage rates are applied to that part of the purchase price falling within the four separate bands. So, for example, if your new home cost £300,000, you’d pay £2,500 (£50,000 x 5%); if it cost £950,000, you’d pay £36,500.
Kwasi Kwarteng’s second announcement affected the discounted-rate scheme for first-time buyers. To stimulate home ownership, the upper limit of the scheme was increased from £500,000 to £625,000 and within it, the upper threshold of the nil-rate band increased from £300,000 to £425,000. The combined effect of these two changes means that a first-time buyer pays stamp duty (5%) on only that part of the property’s purchase price between £425,000 and £625,000. If the price of the property exceeds £625,000 then it becomes ineligible for the scheme, the buyer paying Stamp Duty against the standard tariff of rates.
The government has a Stamp Duty calculator at www.tax.service.gov.uk/calculate-stamp-duty-land-tax/ as do many other organizations including the Money Saving Expert at www.moneysavingexpert.com/mortgages/stamp-duty/.
In Scotland, ‘Stamp Duty’ is called Land & Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) and in Wales, the equivalent is Land Transaction Tax (LTT). In both countries the tariff bands, percentage rates and criteria vary to that of England and Northern Ireland.
If you have any queries about how much Stamp Duty you may be liable for, please ask your adviser who will be happy to explain the tariff that applies to you and calculate the value of the tax you will be expected to pay.
Land Registry fee (up to £700)
This is paid to the Land Registry Office to register the property in your name, the size of the fee being dictated by the purchase price of the property.
Title Registration fee (varies on value of the property)
To register your ownership of a property in Scotland, you have to register the title deeds in your name in the Land Register of Scotland or in the Register of Sasines.
Survey (Generally, £400 – £1,000)
Having an independent survey carried out isn’t a requirement but you’d be very unwise not to have it done. It’s a detailed survey that determines the condition of the property and identifies any defects that may need to be rectified. If your survey does discover something untoward you should be able to get the vendor to correct it at their expense or use it as a bargaining point to reduce your offer. As offers are usually made on a ‘subject to survey’ basis, the nature of the defect or the vendor’s unwillingness to correct it may make you decide to withdraw your offer altogether.
Removal costs (£500 – £1,000+)
Unless you hire a van, you’ll need to hire a removal firm. How much they charge will be determined by the amount you are moving (in terms of volume), the distance they are moving it and how much they involved in doing so.
Our ‘Menu of Fees’ for the mortgage advice and application service we offer is available for download here.
How can One Financial Solutions help you?
One Financial Solutions is here to help you no matter whether you’re a first-time buyer, thinking about ‘buy-to-let’ as an investment opportunity or wanting to know the pros and cons of equity release.
Buying a property is probably the greatest financial undertaking most of us will ever make; it’s a huge commitment and one that needs to be thoroughly considered, ideally with the help of an expert guide. As a truly independent firm of financial advisers we’ll make sure the mortgage we recommend to you is selected from the entire market and is the one that is best for you.
So, if you’re looking for a mortgage or just want advice on an associated subject, please call us on 020 3714 9565 or ask us to call you by sending an email to email@example.com.