How much does it cost to move house?

Moving house is a big decision and with so many different stages and costs involved, it’s natural to feel a little overwhelmed. To help you work out a budget, we’ve broken down the costs that you can expect to pay during both your house move and when you arrive at your new home. From stamp duty to conveyancer fees, through to removal costs, and energy deals, we hope you find it useful…

The major upfront costs of buying a house

There are a number of upfront costs involved in buying a property that you’ll need to make sure you can afford. These include:

Stamp duty

Stamp duty is a government tax that you might have to pay if you buy a property or piece of land in England or Northern Ireland over a certain value.

The current Stamp Duty holiday applies to properties worth up to £500,000, and will last until 30 June 2021. After this date, there will be no Stamp Duty on properties up to £250,000 until the end of September, at which point standard Stamp Duty thresholds will apply again.

Below are the Stamp Duty rates up until 30 June 2021:

Property priceStamp duty rate
£0 – £500,0000%
£500,001 – £925,0005%
£925,001 – £1.5m10%
£1.5m and above12%

You can find out more about Stamp Duty rates in our article Stamp Duty explained, or you can use this Stamp Duty calculator on the Gov.uk website to work out how much you’ll need to pay.

If the property you’re buying is in Wales, you’ll pay Land Transaction Tax instead of Stamp Duty, and in Scotland it’s the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax.

A deposit for the property you’re buying

When buying a property, you’ll need to put down a deposit to bridge the gap between the amount that your mortgage provider is willing to lend you and the value of the property you’re buying. Generally speaking, the larger your deposit the more likely you’ll be granted a mortgage and the lower your interest rates could be.

Usually, you’ll need a minimum of 10% of the value of your property for a deposit, although some lenders may be prepared to accept a 5% deposit. For example, if you were buying a £300,000 house, you’d need between £15,000 and £30,000 for the deposit. However, it’s important to remember that if you don’t have a strong credit score, you’ll likely need to provide more.

There are government schemes available to help those with small deposits, such as the recently announced Mortgage Guarantee Scheme. This enables first-time buyers or those looking to move up the property ladder to put down a 5% deposit, and the government will guarantee some of their mortgage so that if the homebuyer defaults on their mortgage, this will reduce the lender’s losses.

Mortgage costs

There are various fees that you’ll need to pay when taking out a mortgage. These can include:

  • An arrangement fee. This is the fee for the mortgage product, sometimes called the completion fee. Arrangement fees can range from £0 to as much as £2,000.

  • A booking fee. This is sometimes charged when you apply for a mortgage deal. Usually varies between £99 and £250. It’s usually not refundable, even if your mortgage falls through.

  • A valuation fee. The fee that you pay your mortgage provider to value your property to make sure it’s worth the amount you intend to borrow. This can vary between £150 and £1,500 depending on the property value, though the average fee will be around £200 to £300.

If you pick a mortgage that comes with a fee that you can’t afford to pay for upfront, you’ll usually be able to add it to your loan. However, it’s important to note that this will probably end up costing you more in the long run because you’ll have to pay interest on it for the life of the mortgage. You can compare arrangement fees and mortgage deals using this Mortgage comparison tool.

House survey fees

The valuation survey that your mortgage provider carries out will only consider how much the property is worth. Therefore, it’s definitely worth arranging a professional survey of your property before you buy it to give you a clear idea of its condition. Paying for a good survey could save you money on repairs in the future as it will highlight any structural issues or problems like damp, cracks, or mould.

Surveys can be expensive, with prices usually ranging between £300 for the most basic home condition survey to around £600 or more for a full structural survey. But while having a survey can add a significant cost to the already expensive process of buying a house, it’s usually well worth it as it’ll provide you with reassurance that you won’t be hit with any unexpected repair costs when you move in.

Conveyancing fees

You’ll need to hire a property solicitor or licenced conveyancer to deal with the legal process involved with buying a home, known as conveyancing. They’ll deal with the drawing up of contracts, and will provide you with legal advice, carry out local council searches, handle the Land Registry, and transfer the funds to pay for your property when the deal completes.

Conveyancing costs can be split into two main sections:

  • Legal fees. Your solicitor will charge you either a flat fee or a percentage of the value of your property you are buying. You can usually expect to pay between £500 and £1,500 depending on the property value, its location, and the complexity of the transaction. Costs will be higher if you are selling a property as well as buying one.

  • Disbursement fees. These cover the registration of the change in ownership of a property with the Land Registry as well as the local searches carried out to identify any circumstances that could negatively affect the property you’re buying, for example flood risk. Disbursement fees usually range between £250 and £450.

Your conveyancer has a very important role to play in the house moving process, so it’s key to choose carefully. Solicitors are generally more expensive than conveyancers because they’re qualified lawyers and can provide a full range of legal services. On the other hand, licenced conveyancers specialise in property but are unable to handle complex legal matters.

You can find out more about finding the right solicitor or conveyancer for you in this article by the Money Advice Service, and if you’d like to compare quotes you can use this tool on Reallymoving.com.

Estate agent’s fees

If you’re selling a house as well as buying, then you’ll also have Estate Agent fees. Fees can vary depending on which agency you decide to sell with and any added fees you chose to pay for such as professional photography, but are typically a percentage of the property value and range from 1% to 2% (plus VAT) or sometimes more.

Costs to consider for your moving day

Removal costs

The costs of removals will vary depending on the size of the property, how much furniture you have to move, and what kind of service you’d like; for example whether you’d like the removal company to pack for you too or just move.

If you don’t have that much to move and have some friends who are willing to help out, you could consider hiring a van and doing it yourself to save some cash. However, if you’ve got quite a lot to move, it’s advisable to use a removals company.

In 2020, Reallymoving.com estimated the average costs for home removals covering a 10 mile distance:

Size of the propertyAverage removals cost
One or two bedrooms£300
Three bedrooms£458
Four bedrooms£682
Five bedrooms£871

To find a good removal company, it’s always worth checking independent reviews, having a look at the company’s trading history and longevity, as well whether it’s a member of the British Association of Removers, or if it offers a dispute resolution via the Ombudsman Services.

You can use this tool on HomeOwners Alliance or this one on Reallymoving.com to compare house removals quotes. Simply enter the size of your current property, the postcode of each property, your estimated moving date, and it will draw up a range of different options.

It’s also a good idea to check whether the removal company you hire is insured. And if you’re doing the removal yourself, it’s worth thinking about arranging insurance cover. Many home insurance policies will cover your move, especially if you employ a professional removals company, so it’s worth checking your existing cover.

Self-storage costs

If there’s a delay between moving out of your current property and into your new home, then you might need to put some of your belongings in self-storage.

There are a few factors to consider when shopping around for self-storage, including the location of the storage facility, its accessibility, and standards including level of security.

The price of self-storage will vary depending on a few factors including the size of the unit, its location, replacement value, and length of use. However, as a general guide, the Self Storage Association’s 2020 annual industry report marked the average self-storage rental cost at £23.11 per year per square foot.

To find a storage unit near you and get a quote, you might like to use this tool on Safestore.

Cleaning costs

It’s likely that your house will need a thorough clean once you’ve moved all of your belongings out of it, but this is probably the last thing you want to be doing in the midst of a house move. And if you’re moving from a rental property, it’s important that you leave it clean and tidy in order to avoid any additional charges from your landlord.

With this in mind, you might be interested in paying for a professional cleaner to clean your property before the new tenants arrive. End of tenancy cleaning costs will usually vary from £110 for a studio flat, up to £250 for a four bedroom house. And for regular house cleaners, average prices usually range between £10 and £20 per hour but will vary depending on the type of cleaning required and location of the property. You can browse different services and find cleaners near you on websites such as Bark.com and Proactive Cleaners.

Ongoing costs once you’ve brought your home

Unfortunately, once you’ve settled into your house, the costs don’t end there. There are a range of regular outgoings that you’ll face in order to maintain your property.

Water, gas and electricity bills

Water, gas, and electricity bills can be expensive and while you can’t avoid them, there are ways that you might be able to reduce your energy bills. You’ll find useful advice and guidance on how to do this in our articles: Save money on your energy bills and How to reduce your water bills.

You can also use our energy comparison tool to compare energy tariffs and find the best deal for you.

Maintenance, redecorating and repairs

A survey should have picked up any problems in your new property which you’ll need to fix immediately. If you need to find a recommended tradesperson, Checkatrade is a good and reputable site.

Even if there are no immediate repairs required, it’s a good idea to budget for potential maintenance work in the future; for example if your roof needs repairing, if there’s a leak, or there are any issues with the boiler.

If your new home needs redecorating, it’s working considering whether this is something you could do yourself. Many people end up spending a lot more than they initially expected when paying for redecoration, so doing it yourself could help you cut costs. If however, you need more significant work done, you can find a reputable local tradesperson and get quotes for the job using this tool on Checkatrade.

Buildings and home contents insurance

If you have a mortgage on your property, you’re legally required to have buildings insurance. Buildings insurance covers the physical structure of your home and protects it against hazards such as fire, flooding, and subsidence.

There’s no legal requirement to have home contents insurance, but if you’re considering going without it, you’ll need to consider carefully how you’d replace all your possessions if, for example, they were destroyed in a fire. Home contents insurance is designed to help protect the contents of your home against loss or damage inside your home (and outside your home depending on your level of coverage). It covers furniture, clothes, electronics and other possessions which aren’t structural features of your home.

Buildings and home contents insurance policies can be bought separately, or together as combined home insurance, which you can find out more about in our essential guide to home insurance.

As of January 2021, the average premiums for home insurance policies – covering building and contents – stood at £144, which was a rise of 26% in four years from £115 in 2016. Of course, the price will depend on factors including what it is you’re insuring, the property value, when it was built and from what material. You can use this comparison tool to help you find the best deals. For a limited time only, buy your home insurance policy via Rest Less and you’ll receive a free £20 Amazon voucher*. Terms and conditions apply.

Life insurance

If you’re taking out a mortgage to buy your home, it’s a good idea to arrange life insurance as this will ensure any dependents will be able to pay it off in the event that you die before repaying the whole amount.

You can find out more about life insurance in our articles Different types of life insurance explained and Why life insurance matters. You can also compare different life insurance policies by visiting our partner, ActiveQuote.

Council tax

Council tax is a tax that has to be paid by property owners. It can range in price from a few hundred pounds for small properties situated in lower cost local authorities, to several thousand for larger houses in expensive local authority areas.

You can find out how much you’ll need to pay by checking your council tax band here on the Gov.uk website.

Telephone, broadband, and television costs

The majority of UK households pay for some form for a television, broadband, and telephone service.

Paying for all three services in a bundle as a single fee can sometimes be more convenient and help you to save money, but you can keep all the products separate or bundle just two together if you’d prefer.

Costs usually range from between £25 to £50 per month for telephone, broadband and television bundles, but will vary depending on the level of service that you want; for example, whether you want only the basic TV channels or the full works.

You’ll also find useful guidance and advice on how to find the best deals in our article: How to find the best broadband deal and you can compare deals using this broadband deals, digital TV and phone packages comparison tool.

If you live in a leasehold property

If the property you’ve brought is leasehold, you’ll likely have to pay an annual ground rent and service fee to the freeholder. You may also have the responsibility to contribute to work on  common areas or to the building structure.

You can find more information about leasehold properties in our article Buying leasehold property: how to avoid the pitfalls.

Other potential fees to consider

  • Residents’ parking. In many towns and cities, if you need to park your car on the street you’ll need to pay an annual fee and get parking permits for any visitors.
  • Service charges. If the property you’ve brought is a serviced apartment, you may be required to pay a regular service charge.

Final thoughts…

Moving house and running a home can be expensive so it can be helpful to consider all the costs and plan ahead to avoid any unwanted surprises. Knowing exactly what costs you’re likely to have to pay and planning your budget in advance means you can get on with enjoying the excitement of moving into a new home.

Have you moved house recently, are in the process of moving, or are thinking of doing so soon? Have you got any other tips you’d like to share? Join the discussion on the Rest Less community forum, or leave a comment below.

Links with an * by them are affiliate links which help Rest Less stay free to use as they can result in a payment or benefit to us. You can read more on how we make money here.

See deals from the whole of the market to find out what you could save. Or, if you’d like to talk to someone, you can get high quality, fee-free mortgage advice from Fluent – our experienced broker partner.

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