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The 7 hidden costs of buying a home

It may be tempting to bid everything you have when trying to get your perfect home, but the sale price is only the beginning. Be prepared for additional — and sometimes unexpected — costs that can catch buyers unaware. Our Buying Budget details all these extra costs while also helping you calculate your buying budget.

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Costs before closing


Stamp Duty


Stamp duty is not included as part of your mortgage loan so you will have to have funds for it in addition to your deposit. Stamp duty is calculated at 1% of the selling price of a residential property up to €1m, and 2% on the balance above. For commercial property the current rate is 6%.


This means if you buy a home worth €400,000, you will need to pay stamp duty of €4,000. If you are buying a new home it's a little more complicated. VAT is charged on new build homes, not on second-hand homes, but you only have to pay stamp duty on the house price not the VAT.


For example, if a new house costs €454,000 (including VAT), this amount is made up of the base price of €400,000 plus 13.5% VAT which is €54,000. So you will only pay 1% stamp duty on the base price of €400,000, which is €4,000.


Your solicitor will help calculating the exact stamp duty you owe to the Revenue Commissioners once a sale is being closed.


Legal Fees


When buying a home You are going to need a solicitor to look after all the legal aspects of transferring ownership of the property to you. The costs for this can vary; some solicitors charge a flat fee while others charge a percentage of the house price, usually around 1% or 2%. It's best to budget for €1,500 to €3,000 plus VAT.


Shop around, ask friends, get quotes and always ask whether a price is inclusive of VAT or not.


Valuations


Before a mortgage lender will release funds they need to know that the property you plan to buy has been fairly and accurately valued. A professional valuer who is acceptable to the lender will provide this service, and this will cost you around €150 - €250 plus VAT.


Surveyors


In addition to professional valuations many banks now also request a full surveyors report. This is also a good idea so that you are made aware of structural issues or problems that may cost a lot to repair once you're moved in. Since this is probably the biggest purchase you'll ever make the €300-€500 that it costs is well worth it.


Costs after closing


Mortgage Protection Insurance


Mortgage protection is a life insurance policy you take out on the off-chance that something terrible happens and you pass away before the mortgage is paid off.

In that case, the mortgage will be paid in full using the mortgage protection insurance. You must have a mortgage protection policy for the same length of time as your mortgage, and it is obligatory requirement of borrowing from a mortgage lender.


Home Insurance


Another insurance that you must have is home insurance and this protects you in case of something like fire. Home insurance can cost upwards from €280 and it's best to shop around to get the best price. Make sure to pay insurance for the cost of rebuilding your new home and not the market value. You can use this calculator from SCSI to estimate those costs.


Property Tax


Another thing to remember is when you buy a home you will then be liable for Local Property Tax (LPT). Paid annually, you register your house for the LPT on Revenue’s website and estimate the market value. Then you can choose the method and date of payment from the options given.


As you can see there are many hidden costs of buying a home. Don't forget movers, decorators and contractors can also cost a lot so make sure you have some funds left over to expect the unexpected.


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An example of hidden costs on our Buying Budget Calculator


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