The housing market is a notoriously difficult nut to crack. However far up the housing ladder you are, the house-buying process can be time-consuming and surprisingly expensive.
- buying your first house,
- selling up after a divorce, or
- buying a home with a new partner,
you’ll need to have enough money (in savings and/or through your mortgage offer) to pay for the house and all the fees and costs of moving house.
So just how much does it cost to move house? How much does it cost for a removal company to move your contents to your new home? How much will the estate agents and solicitors charge?
There are average figures out there, Which?, for instance, puts the average cost of moving house at nearly £12,000, which includes stamp duty and estate agent fees based on the average house price in the UK.
In fact, the costs of moving will vary considerably depending on where you’re moving from/to, and on the values of the house you’re selling and the home you’re buying. You’ll need to shop around to get the best deals in your local area, and find out from your solicitor/estate agents exactly how much they’ll charge, but here is a list of what types of costs you’ll incur when moving house.
How much does it cost to move?
If you’re selling your old house and buying a new one, you’ll have two different sets of fees to factor into your budget - ‘selling’ fees as a seller, and ‘purchasing’ fees’ as a buyer. If you’re a first-time buyer, you’ll only need to look at the ‘purchasing’ fees.
1. Estate Agents
- this will usually be a percentage of the price you sell your house for, and it’s usually 1 - 2%. If you sell your house for £500,000, the estate agent will deduct £5,000 - £10,000 from the sale price. Most estate agents will only charge you for their services when the house has sold - and if you don’t end up selling, there’ll be no fee to pay. Some estate agents charge a fixed fee that’s much lower than the percentage rate, but you’d have to pay that fee even if your house doesn’t sell.
2. Conveyancing fees
- conveyancing is carried out by a solicitor or conveyancer, and the price includes all correspondence with the buyer, completing the paperwork and dealing with any problems the buyers’ solicitors raise after carrying out their search enquiries.
Typically, these amount to around £1000, but it depends on the area, whether you choose a solicitor or a conveyancer (conveyancers are usually cheaper) and whether there’s anything unusual about your home that means that they’ll have to charge more than their standard fee (e.g. if it’s a listed building).
3. Energy Performance Certificate
(EPC) - this is a compulsory certificate that tells a buyer how energy efficient your property is (depending on things like how well insulated it is). It’s a fixed fee, and your estate agent can arrange it (at a typical cost of around £75 - £120), or you can arrange it independently (for a little less money).
If you moved into your house after 2010, there may well be a valid EPC still in place. Check here
to find out.
1. Stamp Duty
- This is a percentage of the purchase price, so it will depend entirely on how much you pay for your new home. If you buy a property worth less than £125,000, there is no stamp duty to pay, and there’s a sliding scale of fees up to 12% of a purchase price of over £1.5million.
The current rates can be found here
and you can calculate the stamp duty on your chosen property here
. If you’re a first-time buyer, you won’t have to pay any stamp duty if your house is worth less than £300,000, and there’s a reduced rate of 5% on properties worth up to £500,000.
2. Property Survey
- This is probably going to be the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, so it’s important to make sure the house you’re buying is going to be worth the money. If the survey uncovers dry rot or subsidence, for example, it’s important that you know. You can then decide whether to withdraw your offer, ask the sellers to rectify any problems, or renegotiate the price so that you can put it right yourself.
The cost of a survey varies from around £500 - £1,500 depending on the value of the house and the level of detail you want the survey to go into.
3. Conveyancing fees
- Your solicitor or conveyancer will carry out all the necessary searches to check that the house is being sold legitimately, and that there is nothing nasty lurking beneath the property (like mine shafts or fault lines) or in local planning arrangements (like a motorway being built behind the house in the near future). These are usually around £1000.
4. Valuation fee
- if you’re getting a mortgage, your mortgage lender will insist on this and usually arrange it. It will tell them (and you) whether the house is worth the money you’re paying for it. If the valuation says that the house is not worth the purchase price, your mortgage lender will probably refuse to lend you the money, so you’ll need to try to renegotiate the purchase price. This is usually a fixed fee, and typically costs around £100 - £200, though some lenders offer this for free.
How much does it cost for a removal company?
Once you’ve negotiated and renegotiated the price, the contracts have been signed and a completion date set, the final cost of moving house (excluding furnishing your new home) is the removal costs.
Removal companies charge according to how long it will take to pack up and transport your belongings. They will usually arrange a time to assess your contents so that they can give you an accurate price for the removals.
The more work you do before they assess your contents, the less it will cost for a removal company to do the rest. Work out what furniture you can disassemble yourself (flat-packed furniture takes less space and time to move), and most importantly have a thorough clear-out before getting a price for the removals.
Be ruthless and bin, sell or gift anything you no longer need or want, rather than taking it all the way to your new home. If there are items you’re not sure will fit in your new home (especially if you’re moving in with a partner who has duplicate items) but don’t want to get rid of them, you could move them into a self storage unit
for a few weeks until you’ve settled in. You could also use a self storage unit if there’s likely to be a delay between selling your own house and moving into your new property, rather than risk losing your sale.
Have a look at our other tips on how to save money when moving house
Other costs of moving house
You’ll need to pay for annual buildings insurance (most mortgage lenders insist on this), and it’s also wise to pay for contents insurance in case the worst should happen. You may also want to consider life insurance to repay the mortgage should anything happen to you, so that your family can remain in the house after you’ve gone.
Bear in mind that if you’re leaving a rented property, you might be expected to pay for a deep clean or be prepared to spend time and energy cleaning it from top to bottom yourself.
If you’re moving into a house that hasn’t been left spick and span, you might feel better if you pay for a deep clean before moving your contents in. You could put your furniture safely into a self storage unit in the meantime, and you might decide to carry out any necessary redecoration or renovations before moving everything back in. At a cost of a few pounds a week, for a week at a time, this is a flexible and affordable alternative to trying to work around your furniture.
Hopefully, this information will help you to budget for your future house move and mean that there are no unpleasant surprises.