House Moving Costs
Take a deep breath, because the actual cost of moving house may be more than you think. Let's break it down, so that you know exactly what you are facing before you embark on your exciting, but costly journey to your dream home. It's important to factor in all the different costs, so that you're not faced with a nasty surprise and have the budget to cover all eventualities. While most of the fees can be paid from profits on the house sale, some need paying up front.
In the decade to 2012, the cost of moving house in the UK has gone up by 70%, to an average of £9,000. In London, people pay as much as £19,500. These staggering figures are made up of several components. Estate agents' commission makes up the largest percentage. 3% of the agreed purchase is about standard, so selling your home for £250,000 will lead to an agent's fee of £7500. This comes out of the funds from the sale on completion, so you don't have to 'find' this money.
Next comes stamp duty. The good news for those dealing with cheaper property is that up to £125,000, you pay nothing. From £125,001 you pay 1% on your purchase, but 3% kicks in at £250,000. With the average price of a UK home now topping £238,000, this could well affect you. So if you buy a property for £250,000, you'll face a bill of a further £7500. That's fifteen grand without batting an eyelid.
First time buyers are definitely in the best position. Not having anything to sell, they don't pay the estate agent and typically buy cheaper, smaller flats or houses, avoiding the big stamp duty charges. Still, the average cost of that first move according to a Lloyds report in 2012, comes to £3,300.
The main costs then are in legal fees, surveyors, mortgage arrangement fees and removals. Luckily, this being a buyer's market as sales are so flat, everything is negotiable (except the Government: they wont do a deal on Stamp Duty). You should shop around for everything from estate agents to mortgages. Estate agents are keen for business, and so – for sole agency – may come down to 1.5% or even 1.25%. There are also fee-free mortgages, which could save you over £1,000. Some will even throw in a free valuation and survey.
Removals firms costed, on average, more than £1,100 in 2011 according to a reputable survey. However, there are many options out there to help you cut this cost. Consider using a man with a van service rather than a big name national chain, and you could at least halve this average. First time buyers or those moving from a one-bedroom flat may find it even cheaper to do it themselves, roping in family and friends.
Shopping around for the best prices and rates is absolutely essential to keeping your costs down. You can do this with absolutely every professional involved in your house move; even solicitors. Ask them for a full breakdown of every item and search. Some costs, like land registry are non-negotiable, but there are some items that are flexible, including hourly rates. You are in control. In Wales, for example, it's standard to include a coal mining search. But large swathes of the Principality have never been mined, so you can ask for this to be taken out!
Luckily, the HIPS or Home Information Pack has been scrapped. But as you can see, moving house remains an expensive business. So do your homework, get lots of quotes and remember that YOU are the buyer, and it's a buyer's market.