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  • The Ultimate Guide to Buying a UK Property: Expert Tips to Avoid Hidden Costs

    Whether you're a first-time buyer or seasoned investor, this guide will help you navigate the property market with confidence. Buying a property in the UK can be an exciting prospect, but hidden costs can quickly add up and impact your budget. From stamp duty land tax to legal fees and removal costs, it's important to be well-informed and prepared. This ultimate guide provides expert tips to help you avoid hidden costs and make an informed investment. Step 1 - Get your finances in order: Before you seriously begin house hunting, it's a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will give you an idea of how much you can afford to spend and will make you a more attractive buyer estate agents operating on behalf of sellers. You can get a Mortgage Agreement in Principle which is also known as a mortgage Promise or Decision in Principle. This can take as little as an hour to get and helps you understand how much you could borrow before you apply for a mortgage. Tip: To find out more about mortgages, both our Free Report and Premium Report guides include our recommended UK-wide mortgage broker. Step 2 - Do your research: Research the local area: Make sure you research the local area thoroughly before you commit to buying a property. This should include looking at local amenities, schools, transport links, crime rates and the state of the local property market. Tip: To save you a considerable amount of time when doing this, our Premium Report guide has more than 25 key data points for any UK property. Step 3 - Choose your estate agent wisely: Even though estate agents generally get paid by the seller, the buying process can be lengthy and what you don't want is to get weeks down the road to find out that the estate agent isn't acting professionally. Choose an estate agent who is a member of a professional body such as the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) or the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). This will help ensure that you are working with a reputable agent who adheres to a strict code of conduct. Tip: Click here for the National Trading Standard's Property Agent Checker for more information on any UK estate agent. Step 4 - Know the costs of buying When you're buying a property, there are a number of costs to consider, such as stamp duty, solicitor fees, survey fees and removal costs. Some of these will vary depending on whether your are buying a freehold or a leasehold. Tip: For further explanation around the costs of buying a property read our 10 Essential Costs to Keep in Mind when Buying a Home in the UK. Step 5 - Understanding the property It's a good idea to arrange a property survey before you commit to buying a property. This will highlight any potential issues with the property and could save you money in the long run. The most costly issues to repair that home surveys can uncover are Structural or foundation issues, Subsidence and flooding risks, Damp and mould. Tip: It's also worth having an idea of the costs to live in the property. Our Premium Report will provide you with estimated energy costs and Council Tax for any UK property. Step 6 - What's it going to cost to get the property to the way you want it? Make sure you take a close look at the condition of the property before you buy. If you wouldn't live there in the condition its currently in, establish what would it cost to make it how you want it? Key items that you need to be aware of include The boiler i.e. how old is it, when does the warranty expire, does it have a full service history in-line with the warranty? The electrical wiring - according to Property Insider "poor or old wiring is the most expensive home repair, potentially costing British homeowners a hefty £3,000 to £6,500" Repainting due to moisture damage Defects to brickwork Remedying drafts and a lack of insulation Step 7 - Paying the right price Don't be afraid to negotiate on the price of the property. If you've done your research and you know the local property market well, you should be able to make an informed offer. Tip: Our Premium Report gives you a breakdown of what properties in your postcode have sold for and what the typical value is per square metre of property in the specific postcode. These are key to understanding the value of any property in the UK. Step 8 - Leasehold vs. Freehold If you're buying a flat or apartment, make sure you check whether the property is leasehold or freehold. This can have an impact on the cost of the property and the ongoing costs associated with ownership. Tip: For more information on leasehold charges, read the 'Leaseholders Tenure & Fees' section in our Top 5 'Boring' But Essential Tips When Moving Home Step 9 - Understand the conveyancing process You should instruct a legal representative once your offer has been accepted. There are various legal professionals who are qualified and regulated to carry out conveyancing work: Solicitors Licensed conveyancers Chartered legal executives and CILEx practitioners Step 10 - Managing your time Buying a property in the UK can be a lengthy process which can take several months from your offer being accepted through to 'completion' i.e. when you own the property can take months, so be prepared. Be aware of the key dates including transaction payment terms, timing for a mortgage valuation, local authority searches and being available (sometimes physically present) to sign documents. Tip: Sit down with your legal representation to plan out a timeline so you aren't surprised by any time-sensitive requirements. By following these tips, you can help ensure that your property purchase in the UK goes smoothly and that you make an informed decision.

  • 10 Essential Costs to Keep in Mind when Buying a Home in the UK

    From Stamp Duty to Survey Fees: Understanding the Expenses of UK Homeownership Buying a home can come with a number of hidden costs on top of the purchase price. Here are some hidden costs you need to be aware of when buying a home in the UK: 1. Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) This is a tax on land and property transactions and is payable on properties over a certain value. The amount you pay will depend on the purchase price of the property and whether you've owner a property before. Tip: Click here to calculate the amount stamp duty you'll need to pay. 2. Valuation and survey fees Before you buy a property, it's recommended that you arrange a survey to be carried out. The cost of this will depend on the type of survey you need and the value of the property. Surveys typically costs between £500-£1,000 and this generally relates to a property's purchase price. Tip: Read the section titled "Get A Homebuyer's Report or Building Survey" to understand whether a 'Home Buyers Report' or 'Building Survey' is right for you. 3. Legal fees You will need to pay legal fees to your solicitor or conveyancer for handling the legal aspects of the purchase. This will include them arranging local authority searches, legal contracts, tax compliance, and the transfer of ownership in your name via Land Registry. Tips: Legal fees should be relative to the value of the property It isn't essential that the legally adviser you hire is located close to where you're buying the property Many property lawyers will also have a reduced fee in case the purchase of the property falls through which is very common - make sure you discuss this before officially hiring a solicitor or conveyancer 4. Mortgage fees If you're taking out a mortgage, you may need to pay arrangement fees, valuation fees, and booking fees. Early repayment charges and limits should also be assessed if you are taking out a fixed-rate mortgage, but these only apply if you repay the mortgage early. Make sure you understand all the fees that apply or may need to be paid before taking out a mortgage. Tips: It's also definitely worth getting a 'mortgage Agreement in Principle' before you start house hunting so that you know what your ultimate budget is Make sure your mortgage adviser explains the fees involved and how they will impact you based on different scenarios Our Free Report and Premium Report share with you the details of our recommended mortgage broker which has no up-front fees and will provide a free quote 5. Removal costs Once you've completed on the purchase of the property, you'll need to move in. This may involve paying for a removal company, van hire, or storage costs. Removals companies usually cost anywhere from £600–£2,000 and this depends on the services included (e.g. it costs more if you require packing and handling of oversized objects). If you do it alone, expect to pay to pay between £50–£200 for packaging and for £60-200 for van hire. Make sure you don't wait until move-in day to meet the removals company for the first time. You should organise a removals survey ahead of time to agree everything upfront with the removals company and get the costs, timing and services provided in writing. Tip: Social media and sites like Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree are a great way to find old boxes and packaging and sell/give away unwanted items which will lessen the load too!! 6. Repair and maintenance costs Depending on the condition of the property you're buying, you may need to carry out repairs and maintenance work before you can move in. This can include things like redecorating, fixing leaks, or replacing appliances. Tip: Try and spend some time in the property ahead of move-in date to estimate the work that you'll want doing. Get quotes from tradespeople and have them ready to go after you complete to save time and panic. 7. Service Charges, Ground Rent, Cladding, Extending a Leasehold (only applicable to those buying a flat/apartment) When buying a flat, make sure you are aware of whether the following will apply, how much they will cost, how they could vary and how often you'll need to pay them: Ground rent Service charges Administration charges (or management fees) New build properties may also ask for estate management charges Tip: Click here to for more details on Leaseholders Tenure Leaseholder Fees Cladding issues 8. Council Tax When living in a property there will be Council tax due. You can determine the payment date and frequency with your local Council. The exact amount you pay will depend on the local Council tax band your property is in. Tips: Click here to see the UK government's criteria for whether or not you are eligible for a Council Tax discount Look up your Council tax band our Free Report It may be possible to challenge your Council tax band - click here for more information 9. Building & Contents Insurance Whilst it isn't mandatory, it is advisable to take out building insurance. You should take this insurance out to begin on the date you 'exchange contracts'. If the property sustains any damage after you’ve exchanged contracts i.e. before you have legally taken possession of the property, but have committed to doing so, it is still your responsibility, which is why you should be properly insured. 10. Future Expenses to be Aware of Of course you may need to buy new furniture and fittings for your new home, such as carpets, curtains, and appliances, however, these are down to personal preference. What we can't do without is hot water, heating and lighting. Make sure you are clear about The boiler i.e. how old is it, when does the warranty expire, and does it have a full service history in-line with the warranty? Make sure you have budgeted for replacing the boiler especially if that date could come soon. Note that the UK government will require all new builds to stop using gas boilers from 2025, but all existing properties aren't impacted. The property's electrical wiring - according to Property Insider "poor or old wiring is the most expensive home repair, potentially costing British homeowners a hefty £3,000 to £6,500". The state of roofing, built-in appliances and possible damp issues should all be considered and make sure these are addressed by whoever is writing your Building Survey/HomeBuyer Report. By keeping these essential costs in mind and being financially prepared, you can ensure a smoother home buying process and move into your new home with confidence.

  • The Ultimate Guide to Renting: Expert Tips for Avoiding Hidden Costs

    Whether you’re new to renting market or a serial renter, you might not be aware of some of the hidden costs involved. Here’s our guide to help you get rid of these unwanted costs and save money! Basics Costs: When renting a flat/apartment in the UK, there are several costs you can anticipate incurring. Here are some of the most common ones: Rent: The main cost you'll incur when renting a flat is the rent itself. This is the amount you'll pay each month to your landlord for the right to live in the property. Security deposit: Landlords often require a security deposit before you move in. This is a sum of money (usually equivalent to one months' rent) that you'll pay upfront to cover any damage or unpaid rent at the end of your tenancy. Agency fees: If you use a letting agent to find your flat, they may charge fees for their services. This can include administration fees, referencing fees, and tenancy agreement fees. Be sure to check with the agency beforehand to find out what fees they charge. Utilities: You'll be responsible for paying for the utilities in the flat, such as gas, electricity, water, and internet. These costs can vary depending on your usage and the provider you choose. Access a premium report for an estimate on any property's utility bills. Council tax: This is a tax levied by the local council on all residential properties in their area. The amount you'll pay will depend on the valuation band of the property and your personal circumstances. Access a free report to see your property's Council Tax band and charges. Contents insurance: Your landlord will have insurance for the building and any fixtures and fittings, but you'll need to take out your own contents insurance to cover your personal belongings. Access a free report for deals on contents insurance. Moving costs: You may need to pay for removal services, transport, or storage if you're moving a lot of belongings to the new flat. It's important to factor in these costs when budgeting for your rental property. Be sure to read your tenancy agreement carefully to understand your responsibilities and any additional costs that may be incurred during your tenancy. Additional Costs: Service charges: If you're moving into a block of flats that is managed by a management company or residents' association, you may be required to pay service charges. These charges cover the cost of maintaining and managing the communal areas of the building, such as the lifts, hallways, and gardens. Ground rent: If the block of flats is leasehold, you may also be required to pay ground rent to the freeholder. This is a fee paid annually for the use of the land on which the building is built. Parking fees: If you have a car and need to park it in a designated parking space, you may need to pay a fee for this. This may be included in your rent or charged separately. Moving-in fees: Some blocks of flats may charge a fee for moving in, to cover the cost of any damage caused to communal areas during the move. Access a free report to find local removals companies. Deposits for communal areas: In some cases, you may be required to pay a deposit for the use of communal areas such as a shared garden, bike storage, or laundry facilities. This is to ensure that these areas are well-maintained and kept in good condition. It's important to check with the landlord or management company for any additional costs especially when you're moving into a block of flats. This will help you to budget accordingly and avoid any unexpected expenses. Post-Grenfell Tower Regulations: Costs of Moving into a High-Rise Building: Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017, the UK government introduced new regulations and guidelines relating to the safety of external wall systems on high-rise buildings. As a result, some buildings may need to undergo remediation work to replace or upgrade their cladding and other external wall systems to meet the new safety standards. If you are renting a flat in a building that requires remediation work, you may be required to pay some fees associated with the cladding. Here are a few examples of potential fees: Service charge increase: If the building is leasehold and managed by a management company, the cost of remediation work may be added to the service charge. This means that you may see an increase in your service charge bill to cover the cost of the work. Special assessment: If the building is not leasehold, the management company or residents' association may carry out a special assessment to cover the cost of the remediation work. This would be a one-off payment that you would need to make. Insurance premium increase: The building's insurance premium may increase as a result of the remediation work. If the building is leasehold, this increase may be passed on to you through the service charge. Other fees: There may be other fees associated with the cladding remediation work, such as for additional fire safety measures, temporary accommodation costs, or legal fees. It's important to check with your landlord or management company for any additional fees or costs associated with cladding remediation work before you sign a tenancy agreement. They should be able to provide you with more information about the specific costs and how they will be charged.

  • Your Guide To Moving Home

    Comprehensive Step-By-Step Guide To Moving Home The toolkit you'll need when moving to any new home in the UK There’s a lot to think about when moving home. Use this step-by-step guide to help moving-in be as smooth as possible. To get extensive information about your new property, click here to get your Premium Report. Step 1 - Planning Ahead It sounds simple, but as soon as you have a 'move' date in place, start planning. You can never start this too early. Ideally do this on the computer so you don't lose your to-do list and keep up with your key dates of when to do things by. Make a to-do list, create a moving budget, and decide on the date of the move. Top tip: is a great APP for creating to-do lists, notes, and setting reminders for yourself. We also think CamScanner is a great option for keeping track of your important documents as part of the moving home process. Step 2 - Declutter Before packing, declutter your home by getting rid of things you no longer need or use. This will not only reduce the amount of things you need to pack and move but will also save you money on removal costs. Top tip: Platforms such as Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace are not only a great way to help get rid of things you no longer need, but people will often pay and come and collect things directly from you which means no trips to the dump or costly arrangements with the Council to remove larger, bulky items. Step 3 - Choose a reliable removal company Choosing a reliable removal company is crucial to a smooth and stress-free move. Read reviews, get recommendations from friends and family, and ask for quotes from several companies before choosing one. Top tips: A site visit from your removal company is recommended before your move date. This will mean no surprises in terms of where they can load up their vehicle, what needs packing up, how larger items will be treated and importantly you will be clear on both the costs, service being provided and timeline. You don't want to wait until moving day to find out there's been a change of plan! Step 4 - Packing & Packaging Pack carefully: Invest in quality packing materials (bubble wrap, packing tape, and sturdy boxes) to ensure your belongings are protected during transit. Get quotes from the removals company and specialist, professional packers as even though it'll cost more, the time savings and reduced stress might well be worth it! Top tips: Do not make the mistake of not clearly labelling your boxes with which room's belonging are contained in them. You may even want to put coloured labels on boxes to easily identify which box contains what - this is incredibly helpful when you're looking at 40 stacked boxes! Step 5 - Notify relevant parties about your move Notify relevant parties of your move, such as your utility providers, bank, and employer, to ensure a smooth transition. You can also set up a mail redirection service to ensure you receive any post that is sent to your old address. Top tips: For a detailed checklist and free click-through functionality support to notify key authorities and companies about your change your address, access our free report. Step 6 - The moving day Prepare for moving day by defrosting your fridge/freezer, disconnecting and labelling any appliances. Have snacks and drinks readily accessible for the day (ideally those that don't need cooking). It's also recommended that you make plans for children and pets to be looked after that day so that you can fully focus on the move and not worry about them getting in the way. Top tips: It's always good to have extra pairs of hands at both your old house and new home to help guide proceedings. It's a really exhausting day so get all the help you can. Step 7 - Taking meter readings Always take gas, electricity and water meter readings at both your old home and your new place. Ideally take photographs of the readings that can be easily accessed and used as evidence of when you moved. Top tips: If you can, shop around for new energy deals before you move. When you move to a new address you'll automatically be put on a tariff with the supplier that the last people which lived there use. Our free report has a section on recommended suppliers in your new home. Step 8 - Clean your old home and unpack in your new home Clean your old home before leaving to ensure that it is in a suitable condition for the next occupants. This will also help you to get your full deposit back if you were renting. Once you have arrived at your new home, start unpacking and settling in as soon as possible. This will help you to feel more at home and less stressed. Top tips: There's a lot of cleaning and dust to be dealt with on moving day so be prepared well in advance with suitable vacuums and cleaning products so you aren't running around sourcing them on moving day. Moving home in the UK can be a stressful experience, but with the right planning and preparation, it doesn't have to be. We hope that by following these steps, you can make your move as smooth and stress-free as possible. Now what? For the best free checklist on the market that'll help you organise your home move with any UK property click here or for a more comprehensive house report with everything you could imagine click here.

  • Useful Tips When Moving Home

    Moving home is notoriously stressful, so use the time you have to make moving day as stress-free as possible. To help this become a reality, Moving Home Guide offers a Free Report which is a helpful checklist for moving home, but our Premium Report really is the must-have checklist tailored for any UK property. Organise a removals survey What you don't want to do is wait until move-in day to meet the removals company for the first time. There's so much to do, so much to list in terms of inventory, so much to pack up and of course, you don't want anything getting damaged along the way. Removals companies cost anywhere from £600–£2,000 for regular sized homes and what services you want included (e.g. packing, handling of oversized objects). If you do it alone, expect to pay to pay between £50–£200 for packaging and for £60-200 for van hire £30–£120. Tips: To make sure you don't have any surprises on move-in day, make sure you've agreed everything upfront with the removals company and get that in writing. Social media and sites like Facebook marketplace is a great way to find old boxes and packaging. Don't get shocked by your Council Tax bill It sounds simple, but your Council Tax can be a significant cost of running your home. The other thing that many people don't know is that when you buy a home, the Council Tax band can change especially if the previous owner enlarged the property when they were living there e.g. through a loft conversion or an extension. You may need to factor this increase into your Council Tax budgeting. Tip: For a free checklist on your new home, access our Free Report which includes a link to access which Council Tax band your home is in. Prepare & Budget For Your New Home When you move into your new home it helps to know how to work things. This can be something that you can discuss with the sellers or the estate or letting agent. Make sure you know how to use the Dishwasher Washing Machine (and dryer) Boiler Turn of the water/gas mains Locate and operate the fuse box Locate the water/gas/electricity meters Operate the smart meter Is the an electric charging port Tip: There will be a lot of expenses in your new home, order your Premium Report which includes the best ways to find quality, cost-efficient service providers for (home & contents insurance, energy, broadband and more). Preparing your move ahead of time You can never start your moving preparation too early. It'll smooth the overall process and save you money by getting quotes instead of leaving it all to the last minute. Our Free Report includes a list of people and companies to advise when moving. It even helps you contact them directly as well as help you find suppliers, provide tips for what to do on move-in/move-out days. Say hi to your neighbours Speaking to your neighbours is a must when considering moving in to a new property. Neighbours can be a great resource and don't be shy to discuss bin collections, local amenities, and maybe even drop-off a we've moved in gift. You never know when you might need their help for instance when carrying out excavation construction work within 3 metres of your neighbour’s property you'll need to put a party wall agreement in place.

  • Top 3 Property Scams & Frauds To Look Out For When Buying A Home

    Moving home is notoriously stressful, but the last thing you want to happen is to be scammed. Here are 3 must read tips from Moving Home Guide make sure you don't make some very costly mistakes. Don't forget to get our Free Report when you move or or for a detailed, bespoke report, order our Premium Report - the must-have checklist tailored for any UK property. Don't Let Someone Steal Your House!!! This sounds silly, but it's happened to people. When you buy a home or are in the process of trying to sell your home, there are scammers out there that will try and steal your identity in order to sell your house, yes you heard that right. There are also scams out there to obtain finance on your home without you knowing about it through re-mortgaging your home. When you buy your new home, make sure you sign up to HM Land Registry's free Property Alert service to help protect your property from fraud. A further measure you can take is to put a restriction on the sale or mortgage of your home “unless a conveyancer or solicitor certifies the application was made by you”. This service is free if you are a business owner or don’t live at the property. If you do live at the property, a £40 charge applies. More information about this is available here. Tip: Prevent your identity being stolen by being careful where you send your bank details to and remember to frequently change passwords for your online accounts. Shredding bills and bank statements and other sensitive documents is prudent before binning them. Don't Get Scammed Out Of Your Property Money Depending on how your property purchase is structured, you may send payments to your solicitor who will manage the property transaction on your behalf. Fraudsters have been known to hijack this process. We advise that you speak over the phone to your solicitor to confirm their bank details and make a £1 test payment for the first payment to guard against scams when buying or renting a property. Once you know for certain that the payment went to the right place, a repeat payment to the same bank details of your lawyer's should be a walk in the park! Don't Get Stung On Your Utility Bills Not a scam or fraud so to speak, but don't end up overpaying for your utilities. On your last day at your old home, take records of your final utility metre readings for water, gas and electricity and do the same when on move-in day at your new home. Tip: It’s best to take photos of these with your mobile phone, and take a record of how to contact previous utility suppliers in case you need to. Don't forget to switch off the central heating, water and gas before moving out of your hold home. It's also best to shop around gas and electricity suppliers before you move into your new home as otherwise you will be put on the existing suppliers 'standard variable' contract which could be effectively overcharging you from day one. Our Free Report and Premium Report will both help you find energy suppliers from day 1.

  • Top 5 'Boring' But Essential Tips When Moving Home

    Moving home is notoriously stressful, but there are plenty of rookie mistakes that can be avoided with planning and better organising your time before you move. Here are 5 must read tips from Moving Home Guide to save you time, money and stress when moving home. Don't forget to get our Free Report when you move or or for a detailed, bespoke report, order our Premium Report - the must-have checklist tailored for any UK property. Get A House Survey (previously known as a Homebuyer's Report or Building Survey) Firstly, what are these? These are reports on a property that are organised and paid for by a perspective buyer of that property. They are obtained after an offer to buy has been accepted, giving much needed information to buyer so that they are well informed before they exchange contracts and complete on the purchase. A survey will see a professional inspect the property and tell you about the condition of the property from minor issues to significant structural problems. They will identify if any repairs or alterations are required and even estimate the costs of any remedial work. The report also provides expert commentary on the property's architecture, from the type of walls and insulation through to the type of roof you have and whether they think and when it will require maintenance work. Which property survey should I obtain? There are several types of house survey. The type you choose generally match the age and condition of the property. The 3 mains types of surveys are as follows: RICS Home Survey – Level 1 The RICS Home Survey Level 1 is the basic and cheapest survey. It is suitable if you’re buying a newer, conventional property in a reasonable condition. As well as assessing the property, it assesses the condition of different parts of the building, services, and the grounds. The report doesn’t provide a valuation of the property and has comparatively less advice and detail compared to the Level 2 and 3 reports. RICS Home Survey – Level 2 The RICS Home Survey Level 2 is the mid-level survey is the most popular survey. It covers everything in the Level 1, plus they check roofs and cellars and gives recommendations for further investigations where the surveyor is unable to reach a conclusion with reasonable confidence. The report will provide an estimate for budgeting for repairs and on the amount of future maintenance required. RICS Home Survey Level 2 come with or without a valuation. If you choose for 'with Valuation', it will also cover an insurance reinstatement amount and a list of potential issues that may affect the future value of the property. RICS Home Survey – Level 3 The RICS Home Survey Level 3 is a full structural survey. It's usually obtained for properties older than 50 years old, for listed building, properties in poor condition or if you’re planning to undertake structural renovations. It covers everything in the Level 2, plus it will identify potential defects in areas not inspected and detail appropriate remedial work including timelines and costs. Tip: When moving to a new home its always worth making sure that the Chartered Surveyor carrying out the work is RICS regulated (RICS is the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors). Cladding - Making Sure The Flat You Buy Is Safe The Grenfell Tower disaster in 2017 was the worst UK residential fire since the Second World War because of how the fire spread as a result of the building’s external cladding. Make sure you do your cladding research before buying a place that may not be safe or lead to significant costs as a result of buying an unsafe property in need of remedial work. How will you know if the building has cladding in the first place? If your building has unsafe cladding it will be marked on the External Wall Fire Review Form (EWS1). If that form has a B2 rating it means that the cladding needs remedial work to make it safe. B1 means that the risk does not require remedial work. What other things should I find out about the building where the flat it? Does the building have an effective fire watch system (waking watch) or fire alarm system? What is the cost of this system and who pays for it? Is the building currently safe and if not what works are needed (including the removal and replacement of external cladding), who will pay for these works and how much will they cost? Tip: The EWS1 form can only be completed at the request of the building’s owner or the managing agent. If an assessment has already been carried out, you can request a copy. If an EWS1 isn't available and the Managing Agent or Landlord is being slow to obtain this assessment, get your local council involved. The UK government is frequently changing the guidance around costs and regulations around cladding so keep an eye out for updates. Get A Local Authority Search (if you're buying a house or apartment i.e. these isn't needed if you're renting) Firstly, what are these? Local authority searches are usually conducted by a conveyancer which is a term for a lawyers that specialises in the legal side of moving home. You don't have to use a conveyancer, but given the risk of getting this wrong, we'd say you'd be crazy not to get a legal professional on your side. Remember relatively speaking they cost a tiny % of the overall property investment (their fees usually range from £300-£1,000) you are about to make and if they mess up then they're the ones that are liable and not you! Here's how Local Authority Searches work: There are two parts to a local authority search and they usually cost between £100-250 depending on your Council. The Local Land Charge Register search (LLC1) and The Enquiries of the Local Authority (CON29). The LLC1 covers: If the property requires improvement or a renovation grant If the property is located in a conservation area If the property is located in a smoke control zone Planning agreements or conditional planning permissions Whether the property is in a tree preservation order area If the property is a listed building If any financial charges are registered against the property The CON29 covers: Environmental factors e.g. whether the property is on contaminated land Radon Gas levels Potential concerns such as the risk of subsidence Proposals for new roads, traffic and rail schemes in the area surrounding the property Future planning decisions that could affect the property and the surrounding area The Local Authority Search won't cover everything so speak to your conveyancer and mortgage lender too in case they require additional searches. You can then agree these upfront when hiring your conveyancer before hiring them. Other additional searches include: A Drainage and Water Search which searches the water authority’s records to check that the property is connected to mains water supply and drainage A CON290, which provides additional information of any changes planned for the future that may affect your property An Environmental Search which details the risk of flooding, proximity to any waste sites and other potentially contaminated areas Tips: Make sure you understand what happens if your purchase falls through. Some conveyancers will only require you to pay a part of their fees if your sale falls through or provide a fixed fee until you complete on a property purchase (remember their fees are separate to search fees which won't be covered by them). Check if your conveyancer is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) or the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) and is accredited by the Conveyancing Quality Scheme. Leaseholders Tenure & Fees Firstly, what are these fees? There are three types of leasehold charges: ground rent, service charges and administration charges (or management fees). New build properties may also ask for estate management charges. Check with your conveyancer whether ground rent applies to you. Changes to the law, may mean that they don't apply any longer. Service charges apply to cover building and communal area maintenance. Check with your conveyancer to establish of lease administrator has any significant planned works for which you will be responsible. A Lease Administrator is likely to charge administration fees if you ask for a service connected with your buying, selling or use of the property. For instance this can include accessing the LPE1 and LPE2 forms, exit or transfer fees etc. Do I need to extend my lease? A leasehold property, unlike a freehold one, is not owned outright by the buyer when they purchase it. Instead you ‘lease’ it from the freeholder for a set number of years, which typically range from 99 to 125 years, but can be as high as 999 years. If the remaining lease is less than 80 years, this can potentially impact the value of the property both now and when you come to sell the property in the future. Based on the remaining length of the lease, it may be worth speaking to a lease extension solicitor to understand the costs to extend the lease, but it may be worth getting the extension agreed before completing on the purchase. Tips: Before you buy a property, if the remaining length on a lease is less than 99 years, you may want to arrange an extension before completing the purchase. Establish what your additional costs will be if you choose to buy the apartment i.e. work through the list above. Check Your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Firstly, what are these? An EPC tells you how energy efficient a home is and gives it a rating from A (very efficient) to G (inefficient). Your home's rating will give you some indication of how much your energy bills will cost relative to equivalent homes. A certificate is valid for 10 years and a home can’t be sold or let without one. The survey of the property, designed to work out its energy efficiency, will usually take between 45 minutes to an hour, and is carried out by what is known as Domestic Energy Assessors (DEAs). EPCs usually cost between £45 - £125. If you are renting a property, as of 2018, the minimum EPC for a property should be E- and any cost to get the property to this level should be borne by the landlord. Tip: Our Premium Report will confirm if any property in England, Wales or Northern Ireland has an EPC and whether it is valid, when it was issued and when it will expire.

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