Q. Having rented for the last 12 months I am now starting to think about buying. What sort of costs to purchase am I likely to incur as a first time buyer?

A. Its good to see your thinking ahead regarding anticipated costs for your purchase as you will not have any nasty surprises a little further along the line. There are three main areas that will involve some financial outlay. The first being the cost of an independent financial advisor, they usually take a small percentage of the overall cost of the lending amount. Secondly, you will need to appoint a conveyancing solicitor to act on your behalf during the purchase of the property. Locally they charge somewhere in the region of £700-800 plus disbursements. Your estate agent can usually recommend a local reliable solicitor who will be willing to give you a detailed quote and breakdown of the likely charges. Thirdly and the most expensive part of any property purchase is stamp duty. This is payable on completion of the property and is charged according to the value of the property, this being 1% of the purchase price up to £250,000, 3% between £250-500,000 and 4% over £500,000. Of course a deposit of at least 10% of the purchase price is usually expected on exchange of contracts although some lenders  are prepared to offer 100% mortgages. Speak to your financial advisor as they are qualified to advise you in this area.