Where to spend and where to save when buying a house
Last updated: 03/04/2022
There are lots of costs involved with buying your first home, so it helps to know what’s worth investing in and where you can save a little extra.
Where to spend
Conveyancing is the legal transfer of home ownership from the seller to the buyer. It’s usually done either by a solicitor or licensed conveyancer. According to the Homeowners Alliance, fees are typically between £850 - £1,500.
This can feel like a long part of the process, but it’s an important step to get right and most mortgage lenders will require you to use a legal professional at this stage.
(If you’re a cash buyer, comfortable with legal jargon and open to a lot of potentially complicated paperwork, then you could give DIY conveyancing a go…. but in most situations, conveyancing is one of those costs that’s essential).
Paying for an expensive conveyancer doesn’t necessarily guarantee a quicker or faster service - so shop around if you can, look for recommendations and reviews, and get a variety of quotes.
Depending on what type of survey you get, it could cost between £400 - £1,500. As much as they involve a big upfront cost, you should seriously and carefully consider getting a survey done.
A survey can help you spot problems that would cost thousands of pounds to fix. So paying for a good survey could put you in a position to renegotiate the sale price, and save you money on repairs further down the line. It might even give you information that means you decide to walk away from buying the house. Either way, they can be well worth the money.
Think of your survey as an investment that could save you from buying the wrong place or having to spend money fixing costly problems later on.
Where to save
Boxes are surprisingly expensive. Especially when you need dozens of them.
So before you agree a completion date for your new home, put the word out among friends and family that you’re on a box scrounge. Check community sites like Facebook Marketplace, Freecycle, or Gumtree to see if any recent movers have boxes going spare. It’s even worth asking a local supermarkets if they have any leftover boxes from deliveries.
You can return the favour after you’ve moved and pass your own boxes onto someone else. As well as saving money and helping someone out, reusing and recycling boxes and packaging is far kinder to the environment.
You could potentially save hundreds, or even over a thousand pounds, by taking care of moving day by yourself. Using your own vehicle, calling in favours from family or friends, or even renting a van could help you avoid paying a removals company. In 2023, the average removal company costs (including dismantling furniture and packing) are between £806 – £1,181.
Choosing whether to pay a company or go it alone is about weighing up the cost-benefit of how much time and effort it’ll save you. A lot depends on how much you have to move and how many of you there are; if you have a lot of belongings to move, or have small children in tow, then you choose to pay a removal company. As always, shop around for the best price and try to get a variety of quotes.
Remember, buying a home is a personal process. Areas where some people save extra by being thrifty might be more important to you – and you might be prepared to spend a little extra for peace of mind. Just be mindful of the things ahead that cost money and as much as you can, budget to cover all bases.