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    Understanding the Cost of Moving House

    By The reallymoving Team Updated 5th Jun, 2024

    Reviewed by Em Smith

    The cost of moving house can be surprising if you're unprepared. Here are the costs that come with buying a home.

    Understanding the Cost of Moving House

    The cost of moving home

    Often, when people consider the cost of moving home, they're thinking about the price of the property. But what about all the other costs when you buy a property? Things like conveyancing, surveys, and even Stamp Duty can be underestimated, or completely forgotten about.

    If you’re saving to move into your first home, or just gearing yourself up for your next big home move – take a look at our top tips so there are no big surprises. What can you really expect to pay when moving home?

    Average costs of moving house

    The average cost of moving house is over £14,400. These costs will vary by area and are dependent on a lot of different factors such the solicitor you hire and the price of your house.

    You'll also find yourself paying less if you're a First Time Buyer (due to the Stamp Duty discount), or if you're only buying or only selling a house. 

    Stamp Duty Land Tax 

    Stamp Duty is likely to be the biggest single fee when you’re buying a house. It’s a government tax that you have to pay whenever you transfer ownership of a property.
     
    The tax is calculated in brackets: 
     

    Purchase price bands (£) Percentage rate (%)
    Up to 250,000 0%
    250,001 to 925,000 5%
    925,001 to 1,500,000 10%
    Above 1,500,000 12%

    First Time Buyers don’t pay anything properties up to £425,000 and pay 5% on the portion between £425,001 and £625,000. Find out how much Stamp Duty you need to pay with our Stamp Duty Calculator.

    If you’re buying a second property then you’ll have to pay an additional 3% on top of the brackets in the table above. You can see the full breakdown of how Stamp Duty works on our complete guide to Stamp Duty

    If you're buying in Wales it's called Land Transaction Tax and if you're in Scotland, it's known as Land and Buildings Transaction Tax. The numbers may differ slightly, but the taxes all work the same way.

    House deposit

    Your deposit will vary depending on the cost of the property and what percentage of that price you can afford.
    Generally, you need at least 5% to be able to purchase a property. For example, this means that you would need £12,500 if you were buying a house worth £250,000. The higher your deposit is, the less you will need to borrow for your mortgage. 

    Mortgage lender fees

    There are few different costs that pop up when you’re handling your mortgage, the three main costs are: 
    • Booking Fee – normally around £99 to £300
    • Arrangement Fee – This can be anywhere up to £2000
    • Mortgage Valuation Fee – This varies depending on the size of the property but is normally between £250 to £1500. 
    It’s worth noting that the mortgage valuation is different from a structural survey or homebuyer report so it won’t give you a good idea of the property’s condition. Speak to your mortgage lender, as sometimes there are special deals available.

    Property survey costs

    A property survey is used to get an idea of the condition of the property and whether any repairs or maintenance is required for the property. There are few different kinds of survey but the most common are the Homebuyer Report (Level 2 Survey) and the Building Survey (Level 3 Survey)
    • Level 2 surveys are less thorough and on average costs start at around £400
    • Level 3 Surveys are much more detailed and are generally more expensive with costs ranging from £500-£1000. 

    Should I get a property survey?

    It’s definitely worth getting a home survey done on the property you plan to purchase, otherwise you may end up paying more than the survey would have cost on unexpected repairs and maintenance.

    You may also end up paying for a valuation, which proves how much the property is worth based on an expert surveyor opinion. This will be necessary if you're selling a Shared Ownership home, for example.  

    Legal fees for buying a house

    There are a number of different costs that you’ll have to pay when dealing with a solicitor, but these tend to break down into two categories: Legal fees and Disbursements. 

    Legal fees

    Legal fees will vary based on the complexity of the case and the value of the property, on average the costs can be broken down like this: 
    Property price band  Freehold  Leasehold 
    Up to £125,000 £730 £1,263
    Up to £250,000 £787 £1,309
    Up to £375,000 £875 £1,393
    Up to £500,000 £970 £1,422
    Up to £750,000 £1,090 £1,502
    Up to £1,000,000 £1,241 £1,651
    Up to £1,250,000 £1,650 £1,972
    Up to £1,500,000 £1,666 £2,268
    Overall £909 £1,360


    Disbursements

    Disbursements are made up mainly of paperwork which requires a small charge to be completed. The main disbursements you have to pay are these: 
    • Bankruptcy search (£2-£4 per person taking out the mortgage)
    • Land Registry office copies: (£4-£8) 
    • Electronic ID verification (£2-£18 per person taking out the mortgage)  
    • Local authority searches (£250-£450)
    • Water and drainage search (£30-£40 plus VAT)
    • Environmental search (£30-£35 plus VAT)
    • Telegraphic transfer fee (£25-£45 plus VAT)
    • Mortgage handling fee (£60-£80)
    • HMLR final search (£3-£7)
    • Land Registry Charge (£20-£1,105)
    You can see a complete break down of solicitors fees for buying a house with our complete guide.

    Removals company

    One of the last major costs you’ll likely have to pay is for house removals. Hiring a removals company generally varies from £550 to £1,300. Prices are calculated by how much stuff needs to be moved, how far they’re moving it and how long they’re busy for. 

    We have a full breakdown of the costs for removals on our guide.

    The costs people usually forget

    Everyone works out the cost of the house, and maybe they’ve thought about conveyancing costs and removals. But what about the disbursements that come with your conveyancing? Will you require any extra searches?

    Some of the often forgotten about costs are: 
    • Maintenance and Repairs – Your survey should have highlighted any issues that may have already existed, but small issues always pop up here and there. 
    • Home Insurance – Your mortgage provider will normally require you to get buildings insurance to make sure you’re covered in case of any unexpected damage to the property such as subsidence or fire. 
    • Council Tax – This will depend on where your property is and how much it is worth.
    • General running costs – Utilities such as gas, electric and water are going to be your main costs after the mortgage repayments so it’s good to plan ahead for these. 
    • Leasehold Costs – If you don’t own the freehold on your property then you’re going to have to pay ground rent on your property. 
    If you're selling your home to move to another, you'll also pay estate agent fees. They often take a percentage based on the sold price of your home. But other online estate agents can provide services for a flat fee. Have a look at our article on estate agency fees.

    The cost of moving as a First Time Buyer

    As a First Time Buyer, the whole process can feel a bit overwhelming, and prices can be unexpected. But don’t despair!

    As a First Time Buyer you’re likely to get a Stamp Duty break, if your property is under £425,000. Even if it’s over, but still under £625,000 you’ll get a discount on your Stamp Duty. That’s one less thing to worry about.

    First Time Buyers often don’t use a removals team and just call in friends and family to help transport items, although a removals team can reduce the risk of items being damaged.

    How to work out your moving costs

    It’s easy to work out your moving costs using our Moving Cost Calculator – you put in the value of your property and the distance you’re moving, and we’ll work out the rest.

    Also, our calculator uses our prices on reallymoving so they already take into account the cheaper prices we can find by using comparisons. It’s great because there are no nasty surprises – you can work out all your costs in advance.

    The additional costs

    There are some moving costs that aren’t completely necessary but might make life easier and are important to be aware of.

    Professional cleaning services

    For example, you may want a professional cleaner to clean your previous property before you leave (especially if you were renting and want your deposit back). You might also want your new property cleaned before you arrive.

    Locksmith

    On the day, many people get a locksmith out to change the locks on their new property to ensure they feel safe. You may also want another pair of keys cut.

    Unexpected removal costs

    You will have had a valuation from your removals team, who will have visited and assessed how much stuff you have, how long it will take to move and give you an approximate cost. However, there can be cases where you end up paying more for removals.

    For example, if there is a hold up with the exchange, you may be left waiting for keys. Or you may be in a chain, waiting for the people in your new property to leave. You will be charged for the removals team’s time, so try and limit opportunities for this.

    Also, making sure you have fully packed and are ready to go when the team arrives will stop unexpected charges.

    If you have items that need to be disassembled or reassembled, mention them early on, as there may be an extra fee for this.

    Redirecting mail

    Another service that you will most likely want to pay for is redirecting your mail. This can cost from £36-£76 depending on how long you would like your post redirected for.

    How to make sure you don’t pay more than you should

    It seems obvious but compare everything! Compare the mortgage deals available, check with different lenders. Compare your surveyors, conveyancing solicitors and removals. You can also use our Moving Cost Calculator to feel prepared for your home move and understand how much you will need to budget.

    The cost of moving house FAQs

    Do I really need a solicitor to sell or buy my house?

    Although it is not legally required for you to use a solicitor or conveyancer when you are selling or buying a property with cash, it is still highly recommended. They are professionals with the knowledge and expertise to make sure the process runs smoothly.

    How can I reduce moving costs? 

    Comparing services and prices at every step of the way will make sure you find the best deal suited to your move. Making sure everything is organised and avoiding delays can help keep the costs down too. Follow our money saving tips for other ways to cut costs during the removal process.

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