Understanding the Costs of Moving Home: Your Guide

Moving home is an exciting but complex process, that comes with a variety of costs. This guide aims to provide a thorough understanding of these expenses, from estate agent fees to the less obvious costs like utilities. Understanding these upfront can help you plan effectively, making your home move as smooth and stress-free as possible.

What is the cost of moving home?

The average cost of moving home in 2023 was £9,327.99 – according to Compare My Move. This took into account selling as well as buying a property. We can help guide you on costs to budget for as part of our service, but we hope you find the information below useful.

Costs to consider when moving house

1. Estate agent fees

If you’re selling a property, you’ll need to budget for estate agent fees. These are typically a percentage of the property’s sale price and can vary depending on the estate agent and your contract with them. 1% of the sale price, +VAT is a fairly normal amount, although some charge more, and some charge less.

Depending on how the market is doing, you may be able to negotiate the price, but bear in mind, it’s likely that your main aim is to attract the highest possible offers, so if you do negotiate, make sure you’re keeping your agent on your side.

2. Solicitor fees for purchasing

When buying a new home, you’ll need a solicitor to handle the legal work. This includes:

  • Legal Fee (for your solicitor’s time)
  • Leasehold Fee (if you’re buying a flat)
  • Acting for the lender (if you need a mortgage)
  • ID Verification
  • Local and environment searches
  • Telegraphic transfer (TT) fees
  • Registering your purchase with Land Registry

3. Possible additional legal costs

Some situations may incur extra legal fees:

  • Unregistered land: If the property you’re buying is on unregistered land, it will need to be registered by a solicitor.
  • Repaying existing mortgages or loans: If you have an existing mortgage or a loan against the property you’re selling, there may be extra legal fees to pay these off.
  • Indemnity Insurance: The enquiries your solicitor raises with the seller’s solicitor may highlight a lack of documentation for previously completed building work, or guarantees for the windows, which could cause you a significant cost in the future. Even if the risk is minimal, if the consequences are severe, your solicitor may recommend an insurance policy with a one-off cost to protect you. These typically cost tens or low hundreds of pounds.

4. Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

This is a tax you pay when buying a property in England. It varies depending on the property value and whether you’re a first-time buyer. The rate varies between 0% to 12%. You can find out more about it on the Government website, or use this calculator to quickly find out how much stamp duty you’ll need to pay.

5. Additional stamp duty

Buying a second home or a buy-to-let property? Expect to pay higher stamp duty rates, which vary between 3% and 15%.

6. Mortgage valuation fee

This is a fee charged by your mortgage lender to assess the value of the property you are buying. Most high street lenders will cover the cost of a mortgage valuation for a residential you’ll be living in, although some products carry fees.

Mortgage valuation fees are more commonly found on buy to let, or more specialist lenders, and they depend on the value of the property. If a mortgage valuation fee is payable expect to pay between £200 to £2,000, depending on the purchase price.

7. Property survey

You don’t need to have it done. In the long run though, it could save you a lot of money. It could even change your mind about buying. These reports highlight any issues identified with the property. This means you know what works need to be done and, potentially, you could renegotiate the price you’re buying your new home for.

These reports vary from around £400 for a basic one, to about £1,500 for a building survey. You can always ask us about the types of survey available. Further information on the types of survey available can be found on the RICS website.

8. Physical costs of moving

Don’t forget the actual move! This includes:

  • Removals people or van hire
  • Storage fees if there’s a delay in moving in

Calculating your house moving costs

Consider all of these factors when working out the cost of moving. Set up a spreadsheet and note down all your costs on there, as you come across them.

If you’re selling a property, start with the expected sale price.

  • Deduct the estate agent fees, including VAT, and the solicitor costs for selling the property.
  • Make a deduction for the repayment of any existing mortgages, secured home loans, or equity loans.
  • If there’s an early repayment charge on your existing mortgage, factor this in too.

What you’re left with is the ‘Total Funds Available’ to use for your onward purchase. From this, you’ll need to deduct:

  • Stamp duty
  • Solicitor costs
  • Searches and other costs incurred by the solicitor on your behalf
  • Survey
  • Removals
  • Broker fee

Lastly, it’s best to allow a little for contingencies. This might a relatively small amount to cover another survey if the first property wasn’t to be, floor coverings, curtains and a lick of paint when you move in. Some properties might need a new kitchen or bathroom, or require other more extensive improvements to bring it up to your intended standard.

After all these deductions, you’re left with your ‘deposit’. The purchase price, minus your deposit is how much you need to borrow from a mortgage lender.

Can a mortgage broker help with the costs of moving home?

Yes! A quality mortgage broker will guide you through these costs, help you understand how much you can borrowing, what your maximum purchase price would look like, and give you early sight of mortgage product options, so you know roughly what to expect your mortgage repayments to be.

Other costs of moving home. What else to consider?

1. Building insurance

If you’re buying a house, rather than a flat, you’ll need to have building insurance for your new home before contracts are exchanged. It’ll be your mortgage lender’s requirement and a key to protecting your home from mishaps.

2. Life insurance, critical illness and income protection

Life can will throw many of us curveballs, in terms of a short or long-term illness, a serious or critical illness, or the unthinkable. Protection policies provide financial security to you and your family should you be unable to work.

You can speak to us about your concerns – we’ll help you identify the risks and how they would impact your long-term financial goals. We walk you through the solutions, how to structure them, so they are as future-proof as possible, and what they cost monthly.

If you have cover already, we’ll review it and highlight if you’re paying too much or too little. We then apply to the appropriate provider on your behalf so that you and your family have the right amount of money, going to the right people, and at the right time.

3. Council tax changes

Check your new home’s council tax band. This could be quite different to your current home.

4. Mail redirection service

It’s important to update your addresses with your banks or building societies, credit cards, and for any other credit agreements you have, to avoid problems applying for credit in the future. If you hold a driver’s license, You can be fined up to £1,000 if you do not tell DVLA when your address changes.

In case you miss any other address changes, make sure your post comes to your new place. The Post Office offer mail redirection for your chosen duration and the costs start from £36.

5. Furniture and home improvements

The cost of new furniture or immediate home improvements often gets overlooked. Make sure you budget for items such as new curtains, carpets, or any repairs that might be necessary.

6. Emergency fund

It’s wise to set aside an emergency fund for any unexpected expenses during your move and soon after – whether it’s the car needing a trip to the garage, the boiler breaking down, or redundancy (something which you can insure yourself for). We advise that you should have at least three months’ wages as backup, but ideally 6 months.

7. Childcare or pet care

If you have children or pets, you may need to arrange and pay for childcare or pet care during the moving process. Completion of a purchase always happens during the working week so relying on family and friends may not always be an option.

8. Parking permits

If your new home is in a controlled parking zone, consider parking permit beforehand as it could be cheaper than pay and display.

Need to talk it through?

It’s really important to be prepared when moving home and consider all the costs that come with it. Get in touch with us and we’ll help you budget, find the right mortgage and help with insurance.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

Categorised in: Information and advice

This post was written by Steve Moses