Spring is in full swing, bringing with it a traditionally busy season for the UK property market. Despite a rocky start to the year following last year’s market chaos, figures from Zoopla show that demand for homes is 16% higher than 2019, indicating a buyer appetite not seen for 3 years. Additional data from the House Buyer Bureau reveals that 75,809 homebuyers and sellers were subject to a property sale collapse in 2022 – a total annual cost of £1bn – with a majority of fall-throughs likely due to the lack of preparation in the many costs associated with buying and moving homes. According to research from Admiral, moving costs on average have increased by 24% over the last 4 years – with an additional £1,962 needed to move comfortably. In light of the soaring costs of moving home, property technology company, iPlace Global, provides the definitive guide for Brits planning to take advantage of the Spring market in 2023.

1. Calculate your mortgage fees
Depending on the type of mortgage you choose and the lender you go to, mortgage fees can run into thousands of pounds.

It’s advisable to ask a broker to arrange your mortgage deal for you. Some brokers don’t charge a fee and receive a commission from the lender instead. However, others can charge between 0.3% to 1% of your loan amount. If you’re buying a property, you usually pay this on receipt of your mortgage offer.

It’s important to note that lenders often charge a booking fee. This can range from £300 to £1,000 which you’ll need to pay at the start of your application.

2. Prepare for delays
When buying a home, you’re likely to be asked to pay for a basic valuation for mortgage purposes. A basic valuation covers little structural detail about the property and costs around £150. These are typically valid for six months, allowing enough time to complete your purchase.

If you run into delays, for example because your property chain has collapsed, you will be required to pay for another valuation if your old one expires.

To prepare for this, you can build a contingency fund into your budget of about 10-20%.

3. Don’t underestimate your legal fees
According to Reallymoving, the average conveyancing cost for a first-time buyer is £1,342. For the typical home-mover, this increases to just over £2,000.

However, not all property purchases tend to be completely straight forward and buyers can often find themselves being asked to pay additional fees as problems arise. The top three reasons buyers see their legal costs rise are:

  • Complex access to the land they are purchasing such as a third party right of way
  • The previous owners have carried out unapproved building work
  • Buying a property in area with unusual conditions such as close to a tin mine, or near to land erosion or flood risk
4. Understand your removal needs 
Professional removals typically cost around £400 for first-time buyers, but it can vary according to the volume of belongings and distance moved. Often, it’s very easy to underestimate the extent of our removal needs, as people tend to forget just how much stuff they own.

To avoid a being hit with an unexpected fee, it can help to seek professional help. If you book in advance, they can visit your home and help you assess the volume of belongings to ensure that you’re only paying for the space and removal process that you need.

5. Watch out for repairs
Unexpected repairs can make a big dent in your budget. For example, if you decide to redecorate and realise you need to replaster the walls and ceilings first, it will cost you much more than a few cans of paint.

According to Legal & General, the average cost to replaster a three-bedroom house, can range from £1,500 to £15,000.
When you’re working out a budget to spend on new furniture and decorating, include a contingency fund to pay for unexpected repairs.

One way to spot more serious faults before you buy the property is to pay for a detailed valuation inspection or a full structural survey to be carried out before you buy. These reports can uncover any serious issues that could deter you from buying the property or help you to negotiate a lower price.

Simon Bath, CEO and founder of iPlace Global, comments further:

“With Spring in full effect, we will likely see the property market come to life again as people begin to move around and look to take advantage of a fall in house prices. 

“However, as the price of moving homes continues to rise, and amidst a record cost-of-living crisis, it’s important for Brits to be aware of all the costs involved and be aware of where they can make a saving.

“With price rises and high demand coupled with the unavailability of homes on the market, those looking to move must be patient when it comes to preparing for their transaction to avoid paying unnecessarily high costs in what is already a difficult and long-winded process.

“Last year, many Brits had to pay way over the odds on property, due to soaring house prices and extortionate moving costs. Homebuyers must now – more than ever – take their time to compare services and providers to get the best deals possible when finding the home of their dreams.”

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