How much does it really cost to move house?

by PropertyBlawg on March 13, 2013

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Author: property news author Frances MacDonald has plenty of experience with buying and selling houses, but here she councils people about those hidden costs – such as stamp duty and solicitors’ fees for moving house – that can come as a nasty surprise when the larger amounts have already been agreed.

When you’ve saved enough for a deposit and can start the search for your new home, it’s usually a cause for celebration. Before you start making plans for your monthly decorating budget however, it’s a good idea to plan for the move itself. Payments like solicitors’ fees, stamp duty and surveys all need to be considered, on top of the mortgage.

Knowing what’s involved can make the whole process run a little smoother, so here is a list of the major fees involved with moving house.

If you’re a first-time buyer, you should be prepared for what seems like a lot of upfront costs. Setting up a new mortgage will normally incur arrangement fees (up to £2000) and booking fees (usually between £100 and £200 but these may be already included in the arrangement fee) and a small valuation fee to corroborate how much the property is worth.

The good news is that you won’t need to pay these start-up fees when you buy another home, but watch out for transferral or exit fees on some mortgages – check the small print to see where you stand on this.

Estate agents’ fees are charged according to the cost of your new home so usually around 1 to 3 per cent but these can be negotiable so compare as many local companies as you can. Similarly with solicitors’ fees, it’s important to shop around and make sure any quotes include disbursements and things like search fees to check for planning, drainage and land registry issues in the new area. You can expect to pay between £350 and £1000 in legal charges when buying a new house and this may increase if you’re selling at the same time.

Stamp duty can be a substantial chunk of money but it is calculated according to house price and so if you’re buying a home under £125,000, the fee is waived. After this, it’s around 1 per cent for up to £250,000 and 3 per cent for up to £500,000.

All properties should be surveyed before purchase and this can be a question of £300 for a basic report and £500 for a full structural survey. These costs are priceless as they can highlight any problems with the building, saving you much more in the long term.

Remember to factor in practical things like removal services, as well as the changes to your regular bills at the other end, such as buildings and contents insurance and council tax. Buying a new home may come with charges you hadn’t foreseen but so long as you do some estimates first and prepare yourself for the overall cost, there shouldn’t be any unexpected surprises in the mail.



Property Law Blogger at PropertyBlawg
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