Buying a home - things to consider

Buying a home is an important financial decision to make. When you own your home, you're responsible for all maintenance costs, including major structural repairs, routine repairs and improvements.

Costs to pay when buying your home

You need to pay:

  • mortgage repayments
  • mortgage protection insurance in case you fall ill or lose your job
  • life assurance to allow your family to pay off the mortgage if you die
  • contents insurance against the risk of theft, fire, flood or other accidents
  • rates
  • gas, electricity, telephone and other utility bills
  • ground rent and service charges

As part of the process of buying a house or flat you may also need to pay:

  • a solicitor
  • an independent surveyor
  • mortgage arrangement fee
  • Land Registry fee
  • Stamp Duty

Housing Benefit Rate Relief for homeowners

As an owner-occupier, you will not receive any Housing Benefit to help with your mortgage costs. You may be entitled to Income Support towards housing costs.

People on low incomes, including pensioners, may receive a discount in their rates through the Housing Benefit Rate Relief scheme.

Land & Property Services (LPS) administers the scheme for people who own and live in their own home. If you are elderly and own your home, its value may be taken into account in assessing whether you are eligible for financial help with the costs of residential care.

To read more information about moving costs, go to the Money Advice Service website:

Rates

When you buy your home, you must tell Land & Property Services (LPS) immediately. They'll issue a rate bill. If you delay contacting LPS, you will receive a backdated rate bill.

You can also contact LPS online about your rate account.

Buying your Housing Executive or housing association home

If you want to buy your Housing Executive or housing association home, you may be entitled to a discount.

If a company or a person offers to help you buy your Housing Executive or housing association home, talk to your landlord before signing any deal.

Some companies offer tenants a deal where the company will own the property after three years. The company can charge a higher rent than the social housing  landlord could when they let the property.

The deal is not always good for tenants, because the money they get may not be enough to buy another home. Some tenants become homeless after agreeing to such deals.

If you want buy your own home, get advice first. Contact the Housing Executive or your registered housing association for more details.

Housing information in other languages

You can get information about housing rights for European Economic Area (EEA) nationals in Northern Ireland on the Housing Advice website:

The site has information  in Bulgarian, Cantonese, English, French,  Lithuanian, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Slovak, Romanian and  Russian. 

You can get housing information for migrant workers including renting privately, homelessness and sharing a home.

More useful links

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