The cost of moving house – and how you can make savings

This is how much you'll spend on relocating, and some ways you can make it cheaper!

Thinking about moving house? It’s important to consider the real cost of moving house and what to budget for. According to MyBigMove.co.uk, the average cost of moving house is around £10,000, which may come as a shock if you’ve never considered it before.

So in order that you don’t get any nasty surprises, we’ve come up with this essential guide, covering everything you need to know about legal fees, conveyancing, stamp duty and surveyor costs. We’ve also found some clever ways to cut the cost of moving. Let’s start with the main things you can expect to pay out for.

Related: 10 things that will put off buyers when you’re selling a house

1. Conveyancing

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.

2. Estate agents

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.

3. Stamp duty

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:

Property price bracket: £0-£125,000
Stamp duty rate: No stamp duty payable

Property price bracket: £125,001-£250,000
Stamp duty rate: 2 per cent

Property price bracket: £250,001-£925,000
Stamp duty rate: 5 per cent

Property price bracket: £925,001-£1.5 million
Stamp duty rate: 10 per cent

Property price bracket: Over £1.5 million
Stamp duty rate: 12 per cent

For example, the stamp duty on a £300,000 property would be £5,000. The tax rate is 1.7 per cent.

4. Valuation fee

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.

5. Surveyor’s fee

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.

6. 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.

7. Removal costs

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.

How to save of the cost of moving house

If you’re stretching your budget to the limit to get your dream home, you’ll want to keep any moving costs to a minimum. Luckily there are plenty of ways you can get those bills down.

We’ve got our own golden rules for you to follow, and have also added some cracking advice from the penny-pinching gurus at Promotionalcodes.org.uk.

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 providers

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.

4. Eat all your food beforehand

Bringing food from your old house isn’t just a transportation expense. Moving fresh and frozen groceries comes with the risk that they could spoil, or leak and damage your things, causing you to have to fork out on replacements. So eating everything up beforehand makes much more financial sense!

5. Sort out your packing materials months in advance

You could just head to your nearest self-storage facility and buy all the boxes and bubble wrap you need… but it will cost you. Instead, head to you local supermarket and ask if they have any boxes they can give you for free. As they get deliveries every day, it’s more than likely they’ll have some going spare.

‘Use the materials you already have wisely, too,’ says Darren Williams of Promotionalcodes.org.uk. ‘Bedding, towels and clothing make great padding for fragile items or awkwardly packed boxes that rattle around during transit.’

6. Use freezer bag for nuts and bolts

Disassembling furniture to move it might seem like a good idea… until it gets to the other end and you realise you’ve lost a crucial nut or bolt and can’t put it back together again!

You can therefore save yourself from having to buy new furniture by popping every screw or pin or bolt in a freezer bag. Then tape the bag to the corresponding piece of furniture. When you come to rebuilding everything, you’ll have exactly what you need to hand.

7. Redirect your post

Avoid late-payment charges and prevent your personal details from falling into the wrong hands by having your post redirected.

Prices start from £33.99 per last name, and you can have post redirected for 3,6,9 or 12 months As Darren says, ‘being a victim of fraud could cost you a lot more’.

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