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Buying a house: why you might need an extra £10,000 in savings

Moving bills increase by 30% in the space of a decade

From estate-agent fees to removal firms, the additional costs of moving house now top £10,000 – a figure that many homebuyers underestimate by a third.

New research by Post Office Money found that home movers need £10,132 in savings on top of their deposit, with costs rising by 30% in the space of a decade. But many have budgeted too little to cover their costs.

Here, we explain the key additional costs you should take into account when moving home, and offer tips on how to stick to your budget.

  • If you’re moving home and need help finding the right mortgage, call Which? Mortgage Advisers on 0800 197 8461 or fill out the form at the end of the article for a free call back.

The costs of moving house

A new study by Post Office Money outlines how buyers are unprepared for the spiralling costs of moving from one property to another.

The research claims that while the overall cost of moving has increased by 30% in the past 10 years, eight in 10 homebuyers underestimate how much they’ll need – and some budget for less than half of the required amount.

The table below shows a breakdown of the five main additional costs of moving home.

Service and bills Approximate cost
Stamp duty £2,019
Estate-agent fees £4,815
House surveys £600
Conveyancing £1,619
Removals £1,079
Total cost of moving £10,132
Source: Post Office Money


How to save money when moving home

These costs might sound a bit scary, but there are ways you can cut down on extras and stick to your budget.

As a starting point, follow these tips:

  • Get plenty of quotes and be prepared to negotiate: Whether you’re choosing an estate agent, surveyor, conveyancer or removal company, it’s important to get several quotes before agreeing a deal. Do your research, take recommendations from friends and family and be prepared to haggle for the best price. This is especially important when it comes to estate agents, as the market is very competitive and fees can vary significantly.
  • Watch out for the small print: When you obtain quotes, make sure they’re for like-for-like products, as the way fees are charged can vary. For example, some estate agents will push deals that tie you in for a set period (known as sole agency contracts), while others operate models where they charge upfront fees regardless of whether the home sells. Likewise, some conveyancers will charge a percentage fee, while others will charge a set amount.
  • Make sure you’re choosing the right product: Ensure you’re getting the service you require, without expensive and unnecessary additions. For example, a full structural survey might seem a safe bet, but the majority of homes don’t actually need this level of scrutiny – similar to hiring a lorry to move the contents of a one-bedroom flat.
  • Prepare a budget in advance: Don’t let additional costs be an afterthought. Instead, think of things like stamp duty and agent fees as part of the process (like a deposit). Preparing a checklist of all the fees you’ll need to pay well in advance and building them into your overall budget will stand you in good stead.
  • Plan your move: Removals are one area where you may be able to cut down on costs, especially if you don’t have many belongings. Get ahead of the game clearing out unwanted items and packing smaller belongings yourself. Simple tasks like acquiring discarded cardboard boxes from supermarkets rather than buying from professional removal companies can cut your costs.

Find out more: discover what you need to budget for with our full guide on the cost of buying a house

Moving house checklist

One top of the above costs, it’s important to ensure that you move or settle any utility bills and insurance plans before buying your new home.

From taking meter readings to having your mail redirected, there are many things you can do to minimise the chances of a missed bill.

You can find out which administrative tasks you’ll need to take care of – and when you should do them – by downloading our moving house checklist.

Mortgage tips for home movers

We’ve discussed additional costs, but what about the most expensive part of buying a home?

If you’re still planning your next step up the housing ladder, make sure you’re in a position to secure the right deal when you come to move home.

  1. Weigh up the pros and cons of your current mortgage deal: When moving home, you’ll need to decide whether to take your mortgage with you (known as porting) or get a new one. Not all mortgages are portable, and some come with high early repayment charges (ERCs) should you decide to pay off the mortgage during its fixed introductory term. Speak to your provider to discuss your options.
  2. Get advice from a whole-of-market broker: There are over 6,000 mortgages out there, so it’s not always clear where to find the right deal. A whole-of-market mortgage adviser can locate the right product for you and walk you through the application process.
  3. Choose the right introductory term: The majority of people take out fixed-rate mortgages, where the rate is set for a specific number of years (two or five being the most common) before reverting to the lender’s standard variable rate (SVR). Five-year fixes are becoming popular with buyers and remortgagers, but consider how long you’re intending to live in the property, as many of these products have ERCs.
  4. Look beyond the initial rate: Some mortgages with attractive initial rates come with high fees (of up to £2,000), so they might not be all they seem at first glance. All deals should include overall representative costs (APRCs), which show the rate of interest you’ll pay over the whole term of the loan, including any fees.
  5. Be proactive: If you’re taking out a fixed-rate product to make the most of low initial rates, you’ll need to set a reminder in your calendar to remortgage when the deal expires. Otherwise, you risk being transferred on to your lender’s standard variable rate, which can cost you thousands of pounds more each year. You can usually agree a new mortgage six months before the end of your fixed term.

Find out more: learn about how to pick a mortgage in our guide on finding the best mortgage deals.

Advice on your mortgage options

If you need some help finding the right mortgage when moving home, call Which? Mortgage Advisers on 0800 197 8461 or fill in the form below for a free call back.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

Which? Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited.

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