Moving house is an exciting time, but it can also feel daunting because there are so many costs involved. There’s the deposit, solicitor fees and stamp duty costs, and once you’re through all of that you have to figure out how much a moving company costs.
Keep your fears at bay by figuring out everything you’ll need to cover. Once you know what to expect, you can set out a detailed budget and then plan how to meet the various costs of moving.
Our guide below breaks down all the costs you need to cover when you buy a house. Have a read now so you can start planning for your new home.
What costs are involved in moving?
When looking at the costs of moving it’s important to factor in every expenditure you’ll need to cover, both before and after you move house.
Upfront costs to budget for
There are a few costs that are due fairly quickly once you start the process of buying a house so make sure you can cover them before making any offers.
Once you’ve found your dream home, you’ll need to pay a deposit to secure it. Whilst your mortgage can cover the rest of the cost, the deposit has to be paid upfront. The minimum amount you’ll pay is 5% of the property price, however, paying a larger amount could get you a better deal on your mortgage (and mean that you’ll borrow less overall).
Your mortgage lender needs to be sure that you’re paying the right amount for your new home, so they’ll arrange for a valuer to go out and assess the property you want to buy. You’ll may have to cover the cost of this, but not always so check if it’s covered by your mortgage lender or not. The amount the valuation fee costs largely depends on how much the property’s worth. For example, a house worth £300,000 would have a valuation fee between £100-£200 whilst a property worth £800,000 might have a valuation fee of £450.
The majority of people buying a property in the UK have to pay stamp duty. However, if you’re a first time buyer and the property you’re buying is below £300,000, then you won’t have to pay any stamp duty at all.
The amount stamp duty costs depends on several factors; your personal circumstances, the price of the property you’re buying, and the location of your property. If you’re not sure how much stamp duty you’ll have to pay (or if you’ll have to pay it at all) it’s worth using our Cost of Moving Calculator, which will figure it out for you.
Stamp duty has to be paid within 14 days of your completion date, so make sure you keep that money safely put aside. Your solicitor will make the payment to HMRC for you.
Scotland and Wales have slightly different thresholds, rates and names for stamp duty (for example, in Wales it’s called Land Transaction Tax).
Conveyancing / legal fees
Whilst you don’t have to have a solicitor when you move house, it’s a good idea to hire one to make sure everything’s done properly. Also, if you’re getting a mortgage your lender is likely to insist that you use a professional in order to protect their interests. Solicitor costs for house purchases vary, but they tend to fall between £500-£1,500.
Conveyancing solicitors (specialists in the legal side of moving house) deal with all your paperwork, checks and land registry documents etc. It’s worth choosing a solicitor that offers a “no sale, no fee” service, just in case the sale falls through. Also, try to find one that has fixed fees (that include everything) so you’re not surprised by extra costs further down the line.
Shop around to make sure you’re getting a reasonable deal and that you find a good solicitor that doesn’t confuse you with jargon.
There’s no legal obligation to have a survey done when you buy a property, but it can save you money in the long run. The benefit of a survey is that it will show up any existing issues or upcoming problems with the property and save you from a nasty surprise later on.
If you choose to have a house survey done, there are different levels to choose from so make sure you only pay for what you need. If the property is very old or has a significantly high value, it’s worth having a more thorough survey. However, if the property is relatively conventional and in good condition, then you only need the most basic survey. The cost of a level 1 survey is £400-£900.
Estate agent fees (when selling a home)
If you’re selling a property before moving then you’ll have to pay estate agent fees once the sale completes. These fees are normally between 1-3% of the property’s sale price, so find out what percentage your estate agent uses before signing up with them.
Many lenders charge arrangement fees so these need to be factored into your budget (these can be paid upfront, or added in with your mortgage).
It’s important to work out your monthly mortgage payments before you start looking for a house so you know the price limit you can stretch to. Don’t forget to factor all moving costs into the total amount you’ll need. Some costs can be rolled into your mortgage, but by doing that you’ll increase the amount you’re borrowing, the interest you’ll pay and your monthly payment amounts.
Most mortgage lenders insist that you have buildings insurance, and it’s worth getting because it covers your home for fires, floods and storm damage. It’s often recommended that you get contents insurance too (to cover anything that’s stolen from your property) but there’s no obligation to have it.
If you already have insurance policies on your existing home, contact your provider so that the policies get transferred across on moving day. Bear in mind that the insurance rates may be different for your new home and that you may also need to pay an administration fee.
Redirect your post
If you’re worried about missing important documents or bills in the post after you move, it could be worth using a mail redirection service. You can choose plans that cover you for 3, 6 or 12 months, and fees start at £33.99.
How much do removals cost?
We’re often asked how much a moving company costs, but the answer varies depending on your circumstances. To give you an idea, a three bedroom house removal service might cost £800-900 (on average) whereas a one bedroom property might cost half that amount.
Removals costs are calculated by looking at:
- the volume of belongings you’re moving
- when you’re moving
- any extra services you want
- where you’re moving to
When choosing your removal service, have a think about how much furniture and how many boxes you’re taking with you. If you live in a flat and don’t own too much, then a man with a van could be your best choice as it’s a lot cheaper than a removals service. However, if you’re moving from a large four bedroom house there’ll be a lot of stuff to move, so a professional removal service will make it much quicker and easier. Ask family and friends for their recommendations, and shop around for the best quotes.
Removal companies offer additional services, which cost more, but can be useful. Services include dismantling and reassembling furniture, and packing, where they box up all your belongings for you.
How much removals cost is also affected by how far you’re moving; moving right across the country will be more expensive than moving just down the road. Some companies base the transport cost on miles, whilst others charge by the hour.
Tips on how to save on moving costs
Whilst some costs are fixed (like stamp duty) there are still several ways to cut down the cost of moving house.
Ask friends and family to help
If your friends and family can help to shift all your belongings on moving day, then you’ll save a lot of money on removal costs. If you can’t move it all in one day, you could gradually move things out and store them in a friend’s garage, which can save on storage costs too.
Give yourself enough time to plan ahead so that you’re not doing everything last minute because it’ll leave you with fewer options (which are likely to be the most expensive options).
Shop around for providers
Compare providers to get the best quotes for the services you need. Estate agent fees, conveyancing fees and insurance costs can vary quite a lot. Always get several quotes and find out exactly what’s included as well as when the costs are due. It’s also worth looking at third party reviews of the services you need to see if previous customers rate them well.
Save yourself packing space and reduce removal costs by getting rid of anything you don’t need. Take unwanted items to charity shops and/or get some extra money by selling expensive items online.
Plan ahead and start storing packing materials early, and ask for spare boxes at the supermarket rather than buying packing boxes. You can use suitcases to pack things up in as well; use towels and bedding to protect delicate items, and newspaper for crockery instead of expensive bubble wrap.
Choose when to move
If you’re able to move mid-week it will save you money on removal costs because it’s less popular than weekends. Try not to move in the school holidays if you can help it, as again, the costs are higher as it’s a more popular time to move.
Use up food
Plan your meals to use up all your chilled, frozen and store-cupboard food in the weeks before moving. This saves on waste and means that you don’t have to move heavy boxes of tins with you. Prepare some food for moving day so that you don’t have to buy takeaways and keep your kettle handy for a cup of tea or coffee when you get into your new home.
When considering how much it costs to move house it partly depends on how much you’re willing to do yourself. Whilst there are some fees you can’t escape (like stamp duty) there are definitely ways to save money and reduce costs if you’re organised and shop around.
The various costs involved can make the thought of buying a property feel overwhelming. However, preparing yourself with a full, detailed budget now means you know exactly what you’re dealing with and where you can save money. Once you have your budget in place and know you can cover the costs, it’s time to get excited about buying your new home and start looking for it.
If you’re thinking about moving house, get started now by finding out what your property’s worth with our free property valuation.