When you buy your first property, you'll finally be putting your money into your own home instead of your landlord's bank account. But as a homeowner you'll be responsible for some household bills and expenses that you didn't have to cover as a renter.
Here, we list all the costs you should budget for, some of which you may also have paid as a tenant and some of which will be new.
What household bills will I pay as a homeowner?
Your payments may vary from one month to the next depending on what type of mortgage you have. If you have a fixed-rate mortgage, it's important to keep an eye on when your fixed term ends and consider remortgaging before you're moved on to your lender's standard variable rate.
You can see how much you might pay each month using our mortgage repayment calculator.
Which? Mortgage Advisers can give you expert advice on mortgage deposits and the pros and cons of applying now.
This includes your electricity, gas and water bills. In theory, these bills will usually increase in line with inflation every year. However, some energy providers increase charges at a far faster rate, so it's worth keeping an eye on this and switching if you think you're paying too much.
When you're looking at properties they'll each have an energy performance certificate, which will help you see how energy efficient the building is and therefore how much your bills might be.
Find out more: Which? Switch – save money by changing energy providers
Properties are classified in bands ranging from A to H and, as strange as it might seem, the price you pay is usually determined by what the home was worth in 1991.
The seller or estate agent should be able to tell you which band your new home is in, or you can use the government website to look it up online. Once you know which band you're in, you can use our council tax calculator to see how much you'll pay.
If you think your property is in the wrong council tax band and you're paying too much tax, you can appeal against your banding. But be aware that the council could decide to move your property into a more expensive band rather than a cheaper one, so you should only appeal after carefully researching what your neighbours are paying.
You can also apply for a 25% discount if you live alone or if the property is empty.
Find out more: reducing your council tax bill – how to qualify for a lower rate
Broadband, TV and landline bills can take a significant chunk out of your budget. Often, new customers will get better deals than existing ones, so it's worth shopping around and considering switching to find the best deal each year.
In October 2017, we surveyed more than 2,000 people about their haggling experiences and found that people can save an average of £725 a year if they haggle - with 86% of hagglers getting a better deal on their broadband and TV.
The TV licence costs £150.50 a year. You can pay it all upfront or in weekly, monthly or quarterly instalments.
The cost is set to rise in line with inflation for the next five years. People aged over 75 are entitled to a free TV licence.
When you own a home, you'll have to pay for buildings insurance (unless you own a leasehold property). This type of insurance is required by most mortgage providers. It's also advisable to take out contents insurance to protect your belongings.
As with other utilities, you can almost always find a cheaper deal by shopping around rather than automatically renewing with your existing provider.
Find out more: best and worst home insurance providers – see how different insurers score for value for money, customer service and more
Service charges and ground rent
If you live in a flat, you'll have to factor in monthly or quarterly service charges and ground rent. Service charges are used to pay for the management and maintenance of the building's communal areas, and tend to cost between £100 and £200 a month.
Most freeholders appoint managing agents to look after communal areas, so these fees may be combined into one payment.
Find out more: leasehold vs freehold - find out about the key differences between the two types of home ownership
If you don't have a garage, driveway or free on-street parking, you might need to budget for a local car parking permit.
Home repairs and maintenance costs
These costs vary from one property to another, so it's worth putting a bit of money aside each month so that you're prepared if you're hit with unforeseen maintenance or repairs costs.
Here are some of the most common types of maintenance that you should factor into your budget:
- Boiler servicing: it's worth getting your boiler serviced once a year - when you come to sell your home some buyers will ask about this.
- Electrics: you should get your electrics safety-checked every five to 10 years.
- Decoration: cosmetic changes, such as painting and decorating rooms, will also generally need to be done every five to 10 years.
- Renovations: one-off renovation work, such as replacing kitchens and bathrooms, might be done every 10-20 years.