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First Time Buyers: A Guide to Bills


Purchasing a home is a very exciting time, but it isn’t just the cost of buying the property that should be considered. Once you have moved in, you will be expected to pay the bills to run the property. We take a look at everything to do with bills, so that you can move in while being prepared for the further costs. For more tips on buying a home, take a look at our previous blog that helps you achieve a smooth move!


There are numerous bills to pay in order to run a property, below is a list of the most common:

Council tax

In the UK, properties are separated into bands that range from A to H and the price you pay for council tax is often determined by what the property was worth in 1991. You can find out the band your property is in by asking the seller/estate agent, or you can search online on the Government website. If you feel like you are paying too much council tax and believe the property is in the incorrect band, then you can appeal this. However, be aware that this can work either way; you could move to a cheaper band, but you could also change to a more expensive one, so be sure you do your research before appealing. Furthermore, if you live alone or if the property is empty, you can apply for a 25% discount.

Mortgage Repayments

Almost all new homeowners require a mortgage to purchase the property; therefore monthly payment to the lender will need to be made. The repayments will cover the cost of repaying the loan as well as pay towards the interest. Depending on which mortgage agreement you choose will affect how much you owe in repayments, what period of time you are paying the mortgage back over, the interest rate and also whether you are paying off any fees. If you have a fixed mortgage rate, then your payments will remain the same each month for the duration of the deal period, however, if you have a variable rate, it can change.

Buildings Insurance

If you have used a mortgage to purchase your home, it’s likely that your lender will require the property to have buildings insurance. Most insurance covers costs relating to repairing damage to the building. It covers the following:


- Walls

- Windows

- Roof

- Permanent fixtures, e.g. bath, fitted kitchen


Generally, buildings insurance will cover the cost of fixing damage to these items for the following reasons:


- Fire, smoke or explosion

- Natural disaster, e.g. flood, storm

- Fallen trees, lampposts, aerials etc.

- Vandalism or malicious damage

- Vehicle or aircraft collision

TV, Broadband and Phone

A large portion of your money will likely go towards TV, broadband and landline bills. Strictly speaking, new customers can often achieve the best deals; therefore it is worth shopping around when your contract is due to end because you may find a better deal with another provider. In addition to this, a TV licence is a legal requirement if you wish to watch TV and record programmes. Whether you use Freesat, Freeview, or a pay-TV service, you will have to purchase a TV licence. A colour licence costs £154.50, while a black and white licence costs £52.

Gas and Electricity

Gas and electric are what power the home and keep it warm. Most energy providers will offer several different payment methods, so you can choose to pay either monthly, quarterly or annually. It is important that you keep an eye on what you are paying for your energy bills because, in theory, it should change with inflation, but many suppliers increase the rate much faster than this. Furthermore, when looking at properties, they will each have an energy performance certificate; this can help you to understand how energy-efficient the home is and give you a brief indication of how much you will pay each month. 


Unlike gas and electric, you cannot switch between providers because you will have to use the one that is based in your area. The amount of water you use will only affect your bill if you use a water meter; you pay depending on the size of your home and your consumption of water. The other option is a fixed water bill; this means you will pay the same amount each month and the figure will not change with your consumption of water.


We hope that we have helped you to understand what costs will be required once you move into your new home. We suggest setting all the bills up for around the same time each month, that way it is easier for you to remember when the lump sums will come out of your bank account. For more information on becoming a new homeowner, take a look at our previous blog that looks at what to expect as a first-time buyer.


Godfrey, Short and Squire are estate agents in Okehampton and sell properties in the West Devon area. If you would like to search our range of properties, please do not hesitate to give us a call on 01837 54504 or visit our Contact Us page. Alternatively, you can get in touch via our social media channels – Tweet us at @GSS_Property or visit our Facebook Page! 


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