5 things they don't tell you when you buy a house


Just because the route to home ownership has been set in stone for generations doesn't mean the path runs smoothly. To help you along the way, here are five things that you won't be told when looking to buy a new home:

1. There is an alternative to estate agents

It might seem like the easiest way to buy a house is to peruse your local estate agents, before popping to your bank for a mortgage quote. But there are a number of alternatives:

  • Property auctions provide an affordable alternative to estate agents if you're willing to consider repossessed properties and fixer-uppers
  • Shared Ownership Schemes let you buy part of a property and pay rent on the rest, so you can get on the first rung without so much risk
  • Help To Buy is still running, and offering mortgages with 5% deposits, and the new build scheme has been extended to 2020
  • 2. The local area is crucial

    Location, location, location: that's the maxim. But don't expect anyone to tell you if an important local business is about to shut down, or if the crime rate is skyrocketing.

    Your solicitor can search council documents to check if any planning permission has been filed or approved in your area. But details about the crime rate, amenities and quality of the schools are your responsibility to research. These factors can have an impact on the future value of your home.

    3. Your existing bank might not be the best mortgage provider

    So make sure to compare all the deals out there, and choose your advisors carefully. There are some genuinely independent advisors, and groups like Which? wear their independence as a badge of honour.

    4. The purchase price isn't the total cost

    Unlike your weekly shop, the final bill won't become clear the moment you hit the checkout. As well as the negotiated price of the house and your mortgage rate, you'll face mortgage arrangement fees, Stamp Duty (on houses over £125,000), solicitor/conveyancer costs, survey fees, the cost of any necessary renovations and possibly even estate agent finders fees. Not to mention the cost of moving your belongings.

    On the plus side, most of this is negotiable. Use an online budget planner like Money Dashboard to work out what you can reasonably afford over the purchase period, and aim to talk every service provider down until you're under the mark. But remember, hard ball isn't always the best negotiation tactic.

    5. The condition of your property isn't guaranteed

    Surveys and valuations tell you about the structural condition of your home, but they won't give you any guarantee about the state of the property when you move in.

    If you fell in love with the light fittings, or expect that light and airy feel to remain when you arrive (rather than being covered by layers of abandoned rubbish and dust), you need to make sure your solicitor includes these things in the contract. A verbal agreement is not legally binding, so don't assume you 'have an understanding' unless it's signed, sealed and delivered in a legal document.


    Posted by Marc Murphy, Marketing Manager at Money Dashboard.


    Back to blog home


    All content is for informational purposes only and is the opinion of the author. Nothing on this website should be interpreted as "advice". Money Dashboard Ltd make no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, suitability or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors or omissions or any damages arising from its display or use.

    Related articles

    Download app
    Important Information: Money Dashboard Neon and Classic mobile and web apps are now closed as of 31/10/2023. Please see our FAQs for more information.