Here is the cost of moving house - everything you need to know about legal fees, surveys and stamp duty
Thinking about moving house? It’s important to consider the real cost of moving house and what to budget for. Check out our essential guide and uncover everything you need to know about legal fees, conveyancing, stamp duty and surveyor costs.
This is when you hire a solicitor to act for you when buying or selling a property and will, on average, cost between £500 and £1,500 (including VAT at 20%) depending on the type of property you are buying. They will also conduct local searches, which will cost you between £250 and £300.
If you’re selling a house at the same time, you may be able to negotiate a package deal with the solicitor.
When searching for a solicitor, a personal recommendation goes a long way – ask friends and family if they can put you in touch with a firm they enjoyed good service from. If you’re hunting for a solicitor yourself, make sure they are accredited by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Agents work on commission and you can expect them to charge between 1% to 3% of the price of your house sale (this is only paid by sellers, not buyers). Remember to add 20% VAT to this amount. Choosing a sole agent will decrease the amount of commission you pay, but may limit the amount of people that will view your house.
In terms of fees, estate agents charge a percentage fee, which can be anywhere between 0.75% and 3% plus VAT of the agreed selling price for your home, depending on the type of contract you opt for.
To save money, some sellers choose to advertise their home through independent websites, but you’ll have to put the work in yourself and arrange viewings, and there will be a small fee to join the site. Do not be shy about negotiating fees, most agents are prepared to be flexible.
Stamp duty is the tax payable to the government for changing the documents that specify who owns a particular property. You must pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) if you buy property or land over a certain price in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Today, the current SDLT threshold is £125,000 for residential properties (both freehold and leasehold and when buying a property through a shared ownership scheme) and, due to changes announced in the autumn statement, rates will now now apply only to that part of the property price that falls within each band.
Here’s a handy calculator from the Money Advice Service:
Minimum property price | Maximum property price | Stamp duty rate
£925,001-£1.5 million 10%
Over £1.5 million 12%
For example: The stamp duty on a £300,000 property would be £5,000 – the tax rate is 1.7%.
Depending on the mortgage you go for, you may have to pay the bank a valuation fee for them to assess how much they are prepared to lend you for the property. This can vary from £150 to £1,500 depending on your mortgage product.
Before the sale goes through, you need to have your property checked by a surveyor. This flags up if there are any structural issues with the property. You can pay anything from £250 to £600 plus for different surveys, which differ in detail. The most basic – and cheapest – is called a home condition survey. Paying for a good survey could save you money on repairs further down the line.
Electronic transfer fee
This covers the cost of moving the mortgage money from the bank to the solicitor. Expect to pay around £50 for this.
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When using a removal company, there are many factors that will affect the overall cost, including the distance you are moving, the time of year and the amount of stuff you have. Removal firms charge more at weekends and at the end of the month.
For a rough idea of cost, a survey by Compare My Move found that the avg 3 bed move costs £1,192.67, plus additional charges for packing materials, special care items and access issues.
Follow these three golden rules to get the best deal:
1) Declutter your home
Removal quotes are based on volume so the more you take with you the more you’ll pay. Be brutal – if you haven’t used something in the past two years it’s unlikely you’ll do so in the future.
2) Book as early as you can
Providers often charge more for late bookings as they know you’ve got less room for manoeuvre. Book moving services in plenty of time, particularly conveyancing as the full process can take between eight and 12 weeks from the time you instruct a property solicitor to completion.
TOP TIP: Avoid Fridays, particularly before a bank holiday, as these are the most expensive days.
3) Compare quotes
Get three quotes from removal firms for the best price and use one that is a member of the British Association of Removers as they will be insured for your contents and abide with by its strict code of practice.
DIY removals will obviously be cheaper, but far more stressful and there’s still the hire costs and petrol to take into account.