As anyone who has moved house knows, the cost of relocating can easily spiral out of control. Even the experts disagree on the average cost of moving house, with estimates ranging from around £9,000 to £12,000. There are plenty of obvious costs associated with selling your home and moving into a new property, such as legal fees, estate agent fees and removal services, but there are also some lesser-known costs which can really sneak up on buyers if you’re not careful. Surveys, temporary storage for your belongings in the event of a broken chain, redirecting your mail and cleaning costs can all add up, and need to be factored into your budget. Here’s a rundown of the main costs you can expect when it comes to moving house as well as some which may not instantly spring to mind.
For most buyers, stamp duty is one of the first things they consider when buying a new home. Stamp duty has hit the headlines recently due to the stamp duty holiday offered by the UK government from July 2020 to September 2021 to stimulate the housing market. Stamp duty is a tax which is due when you purchase any property over £125,000 in the UK. Rates vary depending on the value of the property and your buyer status. For instance, if you’re a first-time buyer purchasing a property which costs less than £500,000 you may be eligible to pay less stamp duty. It’s worth researching your individual situation to get an accurate figure, as stamp duty currently sits at 5% of the total property price for properties over £250,000.
Next up there’s the legal costs associated with moving house. It’s essential to consult with either a solicitor or a conveyancer to ensure the legal side of your sale is completed properly. A conveyancer may be cheaper than a solicitor but depending on the complexity of your house sale you may need a solicitor in order to complete certain aspects of the transaction, such as signing a deed of trust. Typical conveyancing solicitors in Oldham start from around £800 but can run up to £1500 and beyond, so it’s worth shopping around to find the best deal for you.
Once stamp duty and legal fees are covered, you’ll want to think about getting a survey undertaken. This is a report completed by a chartered surveyor, which will show you any areas of the house which may need repairs, work or renovations. They’re not compulsory, but a survey can help you finalise the offer price you want to make and plan the future costs of living in the property, or whether it is right for you. Prices vary massively, but start from around £250 for the most basic survey report. If you are looking to buy a period property or a more unusual house, surveys can cost thousands of pounds, so we would advise getting a few quotes to compare your options. It’s also worth noting that in England and Wales the buyer usually pays for the survey, but in Scotland the responsibility falls to the vendor to have a survey undertaken before the property goes on the market.
As moving day approaches another cost to consider is the hire of a removal company and van. Depending on how many belongings you’d like to move, including bulky pieces like furniture and appliances, you may need to hire extra hands and more than one moving van. A professional removals company will take care of all the heavy lifting for you, whilst a man-with-a-van should be enough for smaller moves. Again, shopping around for quotes can help keep the cost down, as well as recruiting willing friends and family to help you pack, label and carry your belongings!
If you are selling your old house as well as buying a new one, there are additional costs that you will need to factor in. Estate agent fees will be the most expensive of these costs and usually come in at a pricey 1.5-3% of the total property price. Ouch! Again, always shop around to find the best quote and ask at least three different agents to value your property and run through their sales techniques and contract terms with you before you decide who to choose. Porting your mortgage (transferring your existing mortgage to a new property) and hiring a mortgage broker are also common costs that you may need to factor in when budgeting for your move. It is now a legal requirement to have an EPC certificate when marketing a property for sale too, with prices starting at around £60 from a trusted Domestic Energy Assessor.
Now we’ve covered the obvious costs associated with moving home, let’s move on to some of the costs which are often overlooked. Mail redirection, an essential service to maintain privacy and prevent fraud, starts at £33.99. You might also need to pay for a professional cleaning service as well, and if you’re moving into temporary accommodation before moving into your new home, you may need to consider the cost of storing your belongings. Thorough research and budgeting can help prevent nasty surprise costs later on, so it’s worth looking into all the possible expenses carefully.
So, how can savvy new homeowners keep the costs of moving down? As mentioned above, one of the biggest things you can do is to get in contact with a few different service providers for a quote to get the best price possible for each service that you need. There are comparison websites too which can help you find and compare prices from lots of different companies at once.
For the legal side of the move, lots of people choose to cut costs by hiring a conveyancer. A conveyancer is a qualified property specialist and can assist with most house sales, but if you are buying with someone who’s not your spouse or partner, purchasing a leasehold property or the sale it particularly complex you are likely to need the expertise of a solicitor.
For those willing to take more of a DIY approach, there are more savings to be made. If you’re selling your home, an online or hybrid estate agent can offer a more competitive alternative to traditional high street agents with the option to create the listing and organise the viewings and negotiations yourself and save a lot of money in the process.
Removals is another area where a hands-on approach can pay off, as a full-service package with a specialist removal firm will often come with a hefty price tag. If you’re comfortable driving a van, hiring one for the day can be a lot more cost effective than booking a removals company. There are also a number of sites where moving companies can bid for your job. Enlisting the help of friends and family can keep costs down too but be prepared for some heavy lifting and ensure anything fragile is carefully packed and labelled.
Whilst moving house can be expensive, some careful planning and shopping around can save you hundreds if not thousands of pounds. It’s worth getting as much information about the costs of the move as possible early on in the moving process to help you plan and draw up a budget to keep track of costs. Then you can get on with the best part – working out what to spend all your savings on!
Thanks for reading xxx
Hi and welcome to The Willow Tree. I’m Michelle, also known as Shel and I am a mama to three beautiful crazy kids – I have two handsome boys and a wild and wonderful girl.
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