How much does it cost to move house?

11 min Read Published: 09 Feb 2021

How much does it cost to move house?Moving house is a major event and one that doesn't come cheaply. As well as a probable increase in your monthly bills there are other payments to factor into your budget when moving house. In this article, we detail the costs of moving house for both first-time buyers and existing homeowners.

How much does it cost to buy a house?

The costs when buying a house fall into three main categories; mortgage costs, legal costs and taxation costs. We break each of these down below.

Mortgage costs

There are a number of costs involved in obtaining a mortgage and the amount of each fee differs between lenders.

Booking fee

This fee is paid at the time of the mortgage application to secure the funds while your application is being processed. This fee is typically in the region of £200-£300 and is generally non-refundable if your application is unsuccessful.

Arrangement fee

This fee varies between lenders and products but can be as much as £2,000. In some cases, the fee can be added to the loan amount but this will increase your monthly payments. Always check the arrangement fee as some mortgages will have a lower interest rate but a higher arrangement fee which makes the low interest rate mortgage more expensive over the mortgage term.

Mortgage admin fee

Some lenders will charge this fee for the administration involved in opening a new mortgage account. The amount charged will be in the region of £100-£300.

Mortgage broker fee

If you use the services of an independent financial adviser or mortgage broker to arrange your mortgage you may be charged a fee for the service. We have teamed up with Habito an online mortgage broker that does not charge a fee for their service.

Survey fee

All mortgage lenders will require a survey to be carried out on the property by a qualified surveyor. This survey will confirm if the price you are paying for the property represents reasonable value compared with similar properties.

A HomeBuyer Report is the type of survey normally requested by a lender and the cost will depend on the value of the property and will typically be in the region of £400-£500. If the property you are purchasing is old or in poor condition then you may want to instruct a full structural survey which will provide a comprehensive evaluation of the property indicating any areas of poor repair or structural weakness. A full structural survey could cost £1,000 or more in addition to the cost of the Home Buyer report that the lender will require.

Legal costs

To deal with the legal aspects of your house purchase you will need to use the services of a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer. The solicitor costs will be in the region of £1,000-£2,000.

Taxation

You may be required to pay land tax, more commonly referred to as stamp duty. We have summarised the current stamp duty rates below.

Stamp Duty

Stamp Duty Land Tax is payable in the following circumstances:

  • purchase of a freehold property
  • purchase of a new or existing leasehold
  • purchase of a property through a shared ownership scheme

The amount of Stamp Duty payable will depend on the date of completion of the property purchase and the purchase price of the property as follows.

Stamp Duty rates to 31st March 2021

  • purchase price up to £500,000 - Nil
  • part of the purchase price between £500,001 and £925,000 - 5%
  • part of the purchase price between 925,001 and £1.5 mill. - 10%
  • part of the purchase price over £1.5 million - 12%

Stamp Duty rates from 1st April 2021

  • purchase price up to £125,000 - Nil
  • part of the purchase price between £125,001 and £250,000 - 2%
  • part of the purchase price between £250001 and £925,000 - 5%
  • part of the purchase price between £925,001 and £1.5 million - 10%
  • part of the purchase price over £1.5milion - 12%

First-time buyers relief from 1st April 2021

  • purchase price up to £300,000 - Nil
  • part of the purchase price between £300,001 and £925,000 - 5%
  • part of the purchase price between £925,001 and £1.5 million - 10%
  • part of the purchase price over £1.5 million - 12%

Summary of costs when buying a property

Estimated costs when purchasing a £250,000 property 

Fee category Fee Fee amount Notes
Mortgage costs Booking fee £300 varies between lenders
Arrangement fee £2,000 could be added to loan
Mortgage admin fee £200 usually added to loan
Mortgage broker fee £0 online mortgage broker Habito charge no fees
Survey fee £500 based on purchase price
Legal costs Conveyancing £1000 for legal work involved in house purchase
Searches £350 fee for local searches
Land Registry £200 registration of ownership
Chaps £35 fee for transfer of funds
Total cost £4,585

Costs are estimated based on a purchase price of £250,000

How much does it cost to sell a house?

The costs when selling a house fall into three categories; estate agent fees, energy performance certificate fee and legal fees. We break each of these down below.

Estate agents fees

Around 95% of all house sellers use an estate agent to market their property. In recent years a new breed of estate agent has appeared who transact their business totally online with no high street presence. Online estate agents tend to charge a lower fee as they have lower overheads but not having a high street presence can result in a less effective service for a seller.

The fees for selling a property with a high street estate agent will be 1%-2% of the marketing price and is only payable if the property is sold. Online estate agents tend to charge an upfront fee of £500-£1,500 which often works out cheaper than a high street agent if they go on to sell the property. Obviously, if an online agent fails to sell the property and the seller decides to then go with a high street agent they could end up paying two fees for one sale.

Before deciding which estate agent to use when marketing your property I would suggest reading our article "Find the best & cheapest local estate agent in seconds"

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) contains information regarding the energy efficiency of a property together with recommendations on how to reduce energy costs. An EPC must be obtained prior to the property being marketed with costs between £50-£100; most estate agents will arrange for this certificate to be produced on behalf of the seller.

Legal costs

The conveyancing cost of selling a property will be £1,000-£2,000 depending on the property value but if you are buying and selling you should try and negotiate a discount on the total fee.

Summary of costs when selling a property

Estimated costs when selling a £250,000 property 

Fee category Fee amount Notes
Estate agent £3,750 1.5% of purchase price
EPC £75 legal requirement for all house sales
Legal costs £1,000 for legal work involved in house sale
Total cost £4,825

Costs are estimated based on a sale price of £250,000

Additional costs to consider when moving house

There are other additional costs to consider when moving house such as:

Insurance

Building and contents insurance

The lender through whom you arrange your mortgage will require the property to be insured and will normally state the sum assured on the mortgage offer. The contents within the property should also be insured to protect your possessions.

Life insurance

You will probably be offered life insurance when you arrange your mortgage but you are not obliged to take them up on their offer. We recommend reading our article "Should you buy life insurance through a mortgage broker?" before deciding.

Removal costs

If you are a first-time buyer you may be able to move all your belongings yourself but if you already own property don't underestimate the amount of belongings you will have to deal with when moving house. Employing the services of a removal company will make the already stressful job of moving house a bit more bearable. Removal firms will assess their charges taking into account how much they need to move, the distance between properties together with the accessibility of each property. It is well worth getting two or three quotes before deciding who to use.

Storage

If you are downsizing or have belongings that you may not keep long term then it may be worth renting a storage space. The rates are quite reasonable for short-term storage as most have deals for the first 8 weeks or so. Having accessible storage is especially useful while you are making your final decision on what to do.

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