Guide to the cost of moving house

There’s no doubt that getting the keys to your own place is one of life’s great milestones, and of course, a significant financial investment. To help you make your money go further, we’ve put together a guide to the various costs of moving house.

How much does it cost to buy a house?

In 2009, the average price of a semi-detached house in the UK was around £150,000, and by 2019, it had comfortably broken £220,000 [1]. But these headline figures don’t tell half the story, as what really matters when it comes to the cost of moving house is your ability to borrow (typically 3 to 4.5 times your annual household income), the size of your deposit (often at least 5% of the property value), and whether you meet the lending criteria, based on factors such as your credit history.

Many of the costs of moving house will be one off payments. But unless you’re buying a house outright, the biggest cost – your mortgage – will be ongoing. Try our mortgage borrowing calculator to work out your monthly mortgage repayments.

What are the main moving costs?

Aside from your deposit and the amount you borrow, here are some of the main areas of spending you’ll need to budget for:

Cost of moving house for homebuyers

Mortgage fees

In order to access the best deals, there are often mortgage fees when buying a house. Every lender has different criteria, but when you take out a mortgage you will either pay a product fee upfront, or higher interest rates over the long-term. Some buyers like to pay a mortgage broker to find the right deal, but alternatively, you can select a product directly through lenders like YBS.

Here are some approximate fees and charges when you take out a YBS mortgage.

Name Service Cost (approx.)
Product fee The amount you pay to secure a particular mortgage deal Typically ranging from £0 - £1995
Standard valuation fee A charge for our work undertaken when valuing a property £145-695 (or higher for properties exceeding £1m)
Funds transfer fee Electronic transfer of funds to your conveyancer £35 [2]

Further fees are payable depending on the nature of your transaction; for example, you’ll pay a Property Assessment Fee of £85 if the valuation is carried out without an internal inspection. You’ll also pay a small charge if you request duplicate documentation.

Solicitors fees

Legal fees are one of the main costs of moving home. And while legally you’re not obliged to hire a solicitor or conveyancer, the DIY approach isn’t recommended. Buying a property involves a number of legal processes – from Local Authority searches to fraud checks – and you’ll want to ensure that your new home is lawfully yours. Ultimately, your solicitor or conveyancer will oversee the bank transfer with YBS or the relevant lender, so this is one moving cost that’s definitely worth it!

What are the typical legal fees when buying a house? It depends on the value of the property, how complicated the purchase is, and the payment structure of the firm undertaking the legal work. But for most properties, you can reasonably expect to pay £1,000-plus in legal costs.

Property survey

A property survey is a visual inspection and report that highlights any defects with a home that you and your lender should know about before agreeing to the purchase. Unless you want to take a huge risk, surveys are one of the unavoidable costs of moving house.

Here are the typical costs of a property survey depending on which option you choose:

Name Service Cost (approx.)
Condition Report Minimal survey £250
HomeBuyers Report Detailed overview – the most common survey type £500+
RICS Building Survey Comprehensive survey – useful for unusual or historic properties £500 to £2000

While you might be tempted to save money by skipping the survey, this could be a false economy if you end up with a big repair bill further down the line. A property sale isn’t legally binding until the moment you exchange contracts, so even a ‘bad survey’ can potentially save you thousands if you decide to withdraw your offer, or revise your bid based on any increase in estimated repair costs.

Estate agent fees

Estate agents are ultimately paid by the seller, so this well-known moving cost only comes into play if you’re selling a property and moving on. Some estate agents charge upfront fees, but traditionally, you’ll pay a percentage of the final sale price. The amount you pay depends on how many estate agents you use.

Name Service Commission (approx.)
Sole agent One dedicated agent 1 to 1.5% + VAT
Joint sole agent Two agents, who may share the commission 2% + VAT
Multiple agents Many agents competing for the commission 2.5 to 3% + VAT

You may get cheaper fees if you use an online estate agent, but you won’t necessarily get the same dedicated support when it comes to things like arranging viewings, writing the property listing and negotiating with the buyer.

Stamp Duty

One of the most notorious costs of moving house is Stamp Duty – officially the Stamp Duty Land Tax. You’ll have to pay this levy if you buy a property in England or Northern Ireland (there are separate property taxes in Scotland and Wales). The amount of Stamp Duty you pay depends on the purchase price and your status as a buyer. Find out how much you might pay using our Stamp Duty Calculator

Purchase price Current Stamp Duty rate
£0-125,000 0%
£125,001-£250,000 2%
£250,001-£925,000 5%
£925,001-£1.5m 10%
£1.5m + 12%

For the latest rates and exemptions, visit the UK government website.


Cost of moving house for tenants and homebuyers

Removals

The cliché is that moving house is one of the most stressful life events, but using a removal company can save you valuable time and energy. You can expect to pay a few hundred pounds, but the actual removal costs will depend on the size of the property you’re moving into. Many firms offer a packing service for an extra fee, which means you can enter your new home with all your possessions safely stored in the right rooms.

If you’re not moving straight away you could consider a storage service; the quote you receive will depend on how many containers you require and the length of time you need to store your possessions.

Type Cost (approx.)
Van only £100-200
1-bed flat From £195
2-bed house From £315
3-bed house From £450
4-bed house From £599
Home insurance

Protecting yourself with home insurance can feel like just another cost of moving house but it’s a no-brainer. Buildings insurance will give you financial cover if the structure of your property is affected by events like storms and floods, while contents insurance provides coverage for your possessions if they are damaged or stolen. Sources suggest that the cost for home and contents insurance would be in the region of £160 [3] for a year, though the actual amount can be affected by many factors. Of course, no one wants to fork out on extra fees when buying a house, but if you don’t have the right coverage in place you could face an expensive headache in the long-run.


Top 10 hidden costs when moving house

Buying a property comes with various fixed price tags – from solicitors’ fees to Stamp Duty. But are there any other less well-known costs to watch out for? We’ve put together the top ten hidden costs of buying a house or moving from rental accommodation.

  1. Waiting for the internet – It can take around two weeks to get the internet installed in a new property, or longer if you don’t have a landline. Watch out for inflated charges when purchasing additional data allowance.
  2. Car insurance – When you move property, your car insurance premiums can go up or down depending on how risky your new postcode is deemed.
  3. Lost or redirected post – If you’re expecting any valuables in the post, check that you listed the correct address for your next few online orders. You can use a Mail Redirection service to manage any post that comes to your old address – prices can range from around £30-300 for personal mail, you’ll pay per person and according to how far you’ve moved (I.e. within the UK, or abroad).
  4. Removal boxes – Even if you’re moving without using a removal company, you may have to spend money on boxes – this could cost around £70 for a 2-3 bedroom family home.
  5. Clutter – The more items you have to move, the more expensive your removal process will be. Declutter first.
  6. Damaged goods – Unless you have insurance in place, you run the risk of paying for damaged goods in transit.
  7. Cleaning the home – The average cost of a house cleaner in the UK is about £12-20 per hour – with regional variation. On average, a deep clean costs in the region of £250-400.
  8. Losing a deposit – For renters, a deposit is a not-so-hidden cost of moving house. Your landlord can withhold money from your deposit in justifiable circumstances; for example, if you owe rent.
  9. Cancellation periods – You’ll need to make sure that your bills are up to date so that you’re not overpaying once you’ve left the property.
  10. Tipping the movers – You may decide to offer a tip, but there is no set amount, and one alternative is to provide tea, coffee and snacks throughout the day as a friendly gesture.

How much will it cost to move in total?

There is no simple way to calculate the average cost of moving to a new house, as a lot depends on the purchase price, your deposit, the mortgage deal you select and whether you choose optional extras like hiring a removal company. But here is a table to help you work out the cost of moving house at a glance.

Types of cost Estimated costs
Purchase price £250,000 £350,000 £500,000 £750,000
Estate agent fees £2,500-£7,500 £3,500-£10,500 £5,000-£15,000 £7,500-£22,500
Stamp Duty £2,500 £7,500 £15,000 £27,500
Removal costs £195+ £315+ £450+ £599+
Mortgage product fees £0 - £1995
Valuation fees £145-695+
Other mortgage fees £35+
Solicitors fees £1,000+
Property survey £250-2000
Home insurance £160 a year (approx.)

Ready for your big move?

Once you’ve planned your budget and the wheels are in motion, moving house is one of life’s most exciting adventures. Get a lending decision online, or read more about how our mortgage deals work. Need extra support? Make an appointment to speak to one our mortgage advisers on 0345 166 9510.


Sources:

1 – UK House Price Index
2 – YBS Mortgage Charges
3 – Money Advice Service


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