Frequently asked questions on buying a property

The process of buying a home involves considerable costs, including:

  • Getting a mortgage. Always seek independent financial advice to get the best deal and check if there is a charge for advice before agreeing to anything.

  • Mortgage arrangement fees. These vary from provider to provider. Some will charge, and others will not, so always ask for costs up front.

  • Survey and legal fees. Mortgage providers carry out surveys to make sure the value of your home is enough to cover the amount of money you are asking to borrow. The cost of a survey will depend on the type of survey you decide to have done and this fee will be your responsibility. You must pay this fee even if you cancel your application later. You will also need to seek an estimate for legal fees from a solicitor. 

  • Stamp Duty. This is a tax imposed by the Government on the sale of properties above a certain price. Get in touch with us to find out if this affects you.

  • Land Registry. You have to pay a fee to register yourself as the new owner of the property.

Yes, you will become responsible for new regular payments, as well as existing fees. These are likely to include:

  • Mortgage repayments. If your circumstances change and you cannot keep up mortgage payments you could lose your home and risk becoming homeless. Always get advice from your lender and/or an independent source of advice, such as the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, if you do experience difficulty making payments.

  • Buildings and contents insurance. Both will be your responsibility unless you live in a flat or maisonette, which usually cover buildings insurance in the service charges.

  • Life assurance and mortgage payment protection. These are optional but should be discussed with your provider.

  • Council Tax.

  • Utility services. Electricity, gas and water will be your responsibility, even if water rates are currently part of your rent.

  • Routine and major structural repairs. You will now be responsible for costs such as boiler replacement, rewiring and repairs to water drains and electrics.

  • Regular maintenance costs. Improvements and maintenance to your home – both inside and outside – will become your responsibility. 

  • Service charges and ground rent. These are charged annually, usually if your property is a flat or maisonette, but sometimes even if it is a house, for services such as communal grounds maintenance.

The amount you need to borrow will depend on how much cash you can contribute towards the cost of the property. There are many lenders available including approved lenders in the high street, price comparison websites and independent mortgage advice brokers. Before borrowing money to buy your home, take time to compare all of the choices available or speak to an independent financial adviser, Always check for fees first. Our Money Matters Team can provide free financial advice; email or call 0808 164 011.

Yes. You are able to buy with a joint tenant and you can include up to three members of your family, providing they live with you now and were at your address for at least 12 months before your application.

You are entitled only to essential and emergency repairs while your application is active. We will still make sure your property remains wind and water tight but we will not carry out major works such as window or central heating replacement while you are in the process of buying. If you decide to withdraw from the buying process you will regain your usual rights to repairs.

If you are planning to buy your home, be wary of individuals or companies offering to help you with the process. Sometimes their advice is misleading and they stand to gain more than their customers from the deals they suggest.

Sometimes customers are asked to pay a lot of money for things they don’t need or for things that we do for free – for example providing you with an application form. Some customers have even entered into agreements with companies who end up owning the property and renting it back to them before raising the rents to un-affordable levels. Some customers have found themselves homeless after agreeing to such deal. 

If you are approached by someone offering to help you buy your home, always check what’s in it for them and don’t feel pressured to use their services. It’s important to note that no company can negotiate deals on the discount entitlement you are offered or house prices, on your behalf.
You will need independent legal advice and may also choose to have an independent property survey. Be sure to shop around for the best quotes and check you know exactly what you’re paying for so you can compare your options.