Moving house - the costs

Thursday 11 February 2016, 09:30 AM

Sam Barratt
Financial Journalist , Freelance

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Spring is the perfect time for a fresh start, with the number of property sales picking up at this time of year as more of us look for our dream home.

But, if you're yearning for a new address, it's sensible to weigh up the costs of moving before you start looking in the estate agents' windows.

Buying a property isn't cheap and you'll fork out plenty of cash without any guarantee you'll even end up owning it.

Among the costs you'll need to consider are:

  • surveyor's fees, typically costing anything from £250 to a couple of thousand depending on the detail you want.  
  • conveyancing fees, which will include all the necessary searches as well as the legal paperwork, and will set you back anything from £750 to £2,000.
  • a valuation fee of anything from £150 to £1,500 if you're using a mortgage to fund the purchase.

Once the deal's agreed, you'll also need to pay stamp duty. This is based on the value of the property above £125,000 and you'll pay 2% on anything between £125,000 and £250,000; 5% on anything between £250,000 and £925,000; 10% between £925,000 and £1.5m and 12% on anything above that. So, for a £350,000 house, you'll pay £7,500 in stamp duty.

Selling costs  

You'll also need to factor in the cost of selling if you already own a property. Unsurprisingly the biggest expense you'll face is the estate agent's fees - typically between 1% and 4% of the selling price. Based on the average property price of £288,000, this is a fee of anything from £2,880 to £11,520. 

It's possible to ditch these chunky fees by going with one of the online estate agents services such as Purple Bricks or eMoov. These promote your property through sites such as RightMove and charge less than £1000.

However if you sell, you'll also have to pay for conveyancing, adding up to £1,500 to the total expense, and an energy performance certificate, costing between £50 and £100.

The removals people will also want their slice, typically anything from £400 to £2,000. Their fee will depend on how much you're moving and how far, how much notice you give them, the day you want to move (weekends are more expensive) and even the time of the month, with costs increasing towards the end of month.  

This cost can be slashed by doing it yourself. Unless you have lots of burly mates, it'll make for a long and tiring day but hiring a van (and supplying free beer and bacon butties) will only set you back a couple of hundred pounds.

In total, and assuming you move from a property worth £288,000 to one worth £350,000, you could be looking at costs of anything from £14,000 to more than £27,000.

Running costs

And it doesn't necessarily stop there either as you may need to factor in some of the additional expenses of living in a new home. If it's bigger you could face higher energy and council tax bills and, depending on the area, you may also have to pay more to insure it. You might also face higher commuting costs or need to factor in a longer school run.

If you've plumped for a bigger mortgage, as well as budgeting for larger repayments you might also want to top up your protection. If you've already taken out cover, you can use the guaranteed insurability option to increase the sum assured to cover your new financial position.

With this, you won't need to provide further medical evidence but, as the cost of cover has fallen over the last few years, it can still be well worth getting independent advice to be sure you have the best value and most appropriate cover.

Thinking of moving? Speak to us about your protection requirements - call one of our experts on 0800 316 3166.