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4 Common Mistakes People Make When They Buy a House

Claire Egerton, Head of Residential Property at O’Donnell Solicitors looks at the 4 common mistakes people make when they buy a house.

Whether it’s the first time you’ve bought a property or your tenth, buying a property can be an exciting time. As a result, it can be easy to get carried away with the process and not consider all of the factors involved. Here we look at 4 of the common mistakes people make when they buy a house.

Failing to factor in all costs

When buying a house, many people focus on the price of the property. They overlook the other costs that are associated with a move. Probably the largest of these costs is Stamp Duty Land Tax. This is calculated on the price of the property over the current threshold of £125,000 (£500,000 for first-time buyers). Any second home or additional property is also likely to be subject to a further stamp duty fee.

Other costs you may need to factor in include fees for a removal firm, surveyor, mortgage broker and solicitor.



If buying with assistance from a Help-to-Buy scheme, it will be necessary to have a valuation conducted by an RICS Registered Valuer.

Those looking to sell an existing property may also have fees associated with moving or ‘porting’ their mortgage, or else pay an early redemption on the mortgage agreement.

Some of these costs are not insignificant and when combined, can ultimately impact the affordability of the transaction.

Not getting their paperwork in order

Buying and moving house comes with its fair share of paperwork. Once the conveyancing process has started, your solicitor will undertake the lion’s share of this on your behalf. However, before it gets to this stage, you will need to ensure certain matters have been dealt with.

For example, when you are buying a house with a mortgage, you will need to get a ‘mortgage in principle’ agreed to tell you how much you can borrow. Even if you already have a mortgage and plan on ‘porting’ it across to a new property, you may still need to follow this process.


Other things you may need to get in order if you are selling as well as buying include up to date certificates of electrical and heating systems. Along with sourcing certificates for any building work you have had undertaken on your property.

Not doing their research

It’s all too easy to let your heart rule your head when it comes to property. But letting your emotions guide your choice of a house can be a very costly mistake!


When making such a big decision as buying a house, it’s important to consider all factors. Such as local schools, traffic, parking, the commute to work. Also your potential new neighbours and nearby facilities, so you can, to be sure the property suits your needs and lifestyle.

Choosing the wrong solicitor

It isn’t uncommon for people to come out the other end of the conveyancing process with a negative feeling. Moving house can be a stressful process. Unfortunately, not all conveyancing solicitors or firms take the steps necessary to put clients’ minds at ease.


O’Donnell Solicitors are a CQS accredited firm. This means they have been assessed and approved by the Law Society as a specialist in the area of conveyancing. Our team are on a wide range of Lender Panels throughout the United Kingdom, as well as being on Help-to-Buy Panels both in England and Wales.

Making the right choice of solicitors is especially important if you are taking advantage of schemes such as Help to Buy. Purchases involving government schemes involve additional paperwork and having a solicitor that is well versed in these transactions.

Claire Egerton is Head of Residential Property at O’Donnell Solicitors.

For more information or to discuss purchasing a residential property with friends or as cohabitees, please contact Claire on

01457 761320



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