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11 Sep 2019

Revealed: the cost of moving house tops £10,400

Unexpected moving costs could add thousands to your bill

You may be able to afford the deposit and mortgage payments on a new home, but what about the other costs of moving? New research reveals unexpected bills can adds tens of thousands of pounds to the cost of buying - and these extras need to be paid upfront.

Homeowners now pay £10,414 on average to move home, or £24,585 within the capital, according to reallymoving, which links buyers to conveyancing and removals firms.

The news is more positive for first-time buyers, however, who pay just £1,613 on average to move home across the UK, or £5,684 in London.

The cost of moving includes stamp duty, estate agent fees for your old home, conveyancing, surveys, removals and an Energy Performance Certificate. It doesn't include the cost of your new home.

Here we explain the different costs involved when moving and how you can save money.

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How much does moving house cost?

With the average cost of a home in the UK averaging £216,096, according to Nationwide, you might think buyers could stomach an extra £10,414.

However, while the cost of a property can be largely covered by a mortgage, moving costs need to be paid upfront.

These are reallymoving's estimated average moving costs, based on first-time buyers paying £180,000 for a property and previous homeowners paying £292,500.

Cost of movingHomeownersFirst time buyers
Stamp duty£4,625£0
Estate agent fees£3,356£0
Energy performance certificate£55£0

The cost of moving has barely changed since 2018, aside from rising house prices driving up stamp duty, reallymoving found.

However, the number of properties changing hands has fallen by around 12.4%, according to government figures, meaning fewer people are moving. And while political uncertainty surrounding Brexit may be to blame, the high cost of moving may also be convincing people to stay put.

So, what are the costs involved in moving home?

Stamp duty

By far the biggest upfront cost of buying a home is stamp duty.

The rate of stamp duty you pay is dependent on the price of the property and so will vary widely from reallymoving's average of £4,625.

In England and Northern Ireland, you won't pay anything on the first £125,000, then a tiered rate applies. First-time buyers don't have to pay stamp duty at all on the first £300,000 of a property's value, providing the property cost less than £500,000.

Stamp duty in Scotland is known as the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) and in Wales the Land Transaction Tax, and buyers in these countries pay slightly different rates.

You can work out how much you'd need to pay for stamp duty using our stamp duty calculator.

Estate agent

Using an estate agent to sell your old home will cost you £3,356 on average, according to reallymoving, but, like stamp duty, the exact figure will depend on the property's price.

In its calculations, reallymoving assumed estate agents would charge 1.18% of the property price plus VAT, but fees could be higher or lower. You'll pay this out of the proceeds of the sale.

Some estate agents now charge a flat fee to sell your property, regardless of the property's value, which could work out cheaper.

First time buyers won't need to worry about estate agent fees because these are paid by the seller.

Conveyancing, surveys and certificates

Transferring legal ownership of one property to another requires a conveyancer or property solicitor (this works differently in Scotland).

On average, conveyancing costs £1,490, according to reallymoving, a figure which includes disbursements and expenses, of which there can be several.

Solicitors may charge extra for dealing with leasehold properties or Help to Buy properties. Sellers also have to pay for an Energy Performance Certificate.

You may also choose to pay for a RICS or RPSA survey, although these are not mandatory.

These surveys can uncover structural problems within the property and ongoing legal issues, potentially saving you thousands of pounds in the future.

Removals company

The costs don't end with the paperwork, unfortunately.

The larger your home, the more you'll pay for removals. You'll have to pay extra if you want more help carrying items, need help packing, or you're moving a long way.

The average figure of £480 from reallymoving, for instance, was for a two-bed property moving less than 30 miles.

Reallymoving found that removals were most expensive in the East of England (£576) and least expensive in Northern Ireland (£325).

If you've not got many possessions and feel energetic you could save money by renting a van and doing the moving yourself.

You can use these estimated cost figures to compare quotes:

One bedroomTwo bedroomsThree bedroomsFour bedroomsFive bedrooms
Hiring a van£100£200Not recommendedNot recommendedNot recommended
Removals company£400£500£800£1,000£1,200+
Help packing£150£200£250£350£400