Buying a home is likely the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make, so it’s important to understand the costs involved in moving house.
There are plenty of things that can affect the cost of buying a home. They can usually be sorted into two categories:
Stamp duty is a government tax that's paid on houses sold for £125,001 or more in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. The amount paid is determined by the property price and rises as certain thresholds are exceeded. There's a higher rate levied on additional residential properties such as holiday homes and buy-to-let homes.
A mortgage provider won't lend you money without doing a valuation of the property. Fees for this vary significantly – anything between £150 and £1,500. It's possible that the provider will incorporate this fee in the overall cost of the mortgage, meaning you won't see it listed as a separate charge.
A survey can be an invaluable part of the house-buying process, helping to highlight any issues with a property before you commit. The more comprehensive the survey, the more you pay; a basic survey may cost about £250, a full structural survey could be over £1,000.
Getting the legal side right is vital when buying or selling a property and you'll need to hire a solicitor or licenced conveyancer. They'll make local searches to check for any issues surrounding the property purchase; expect to pay between £250 and £300 for this.
The other legal fees are on top of this and are more expensive. The actual cost will vary depending on the property and the solicitor or conveyancer, but you're likely to be looking at somewhere between £500 and £1,500 (including VAT at 20%).
Some mortgage lenders will require you to have home insurance in place as a condition of lending you money, which can cost around £176 a year on average.
You can either get buildings insurance on its own, or a combined buildings and contents insurance policy (you can also get contents-only insurance, which is handy for renters).
First-time buyers shouldn't have to worry about this as it's only paid by those selling a house. The amount paid is down to a negotiation between the seller and the estate agent, but typical costs would be between 1% and 3% of the sale price, plus 20% VAT.
You're likely to need a minimum of 5% deposit to get a mortgage, but remember that, if you can increase that, you should get access to more mortgage providers and better rates.
The actual amount will, of course, depend on the price of the house, but to consider the example of a £150,000 property a 5% deposit would be £7,500; a 10% deposit would be £15,000; a 20% deposit would be £30,000.
It's possible that you could arrange removal costs for as little as £300, but – depending on how far you're moving and how much stuff you have – prices could run into thousands of pounds.
Consider that firms typically charge more at weekends and at the end of the month, and think about whether it's possible to move your goods yourself.
You might not be able to move all of your belongings into your new property in one go, so you might need to find a company to temporarily store them while you get your new place sorted.
The cost of temporary storage depends on how long you’ll use it for, how big a storage space you need and the area you live in. It can cost from around £22 for one week on average, but your local rates will likely vary.
Until you get around to updating your address with the various companies and services you use, you can have your post redirected by Royal Mail. This costs from £33.99 for three months.
If you’re moving out of rented accommodation, you might need to pay for an end-of-tenancy property clean. Or you might just want to spruce up your property for its future owners.
Those services cost around £139 on average. If you want to save a bit of money and don’t require a professional cleaner, you could try giving your house a deep scrub yourself.
If you’re moving from rented accommodation or your family’s home, you might need to get some furniture for your new home. This can quickly get expensive.
Even if you have a limited budget, it’s usually worth putting more money towards items that you spend a lot of time using – for example, your bed and perhaps an office chair if you work from home. If something isn’t necessary to have straight away, wait until after the move, when you have more savings to spare.
It’s important to look at all your options to find the right mortgage for your circumstances.
When you apply for a full mortgage, it can affect your credit rating and leave a mark on your credit history that other lenders can see.
But you can use a search (like ours) that lets you compare a range of mortgages that you’re likely to be accepted for before you apply.
The average price paid for home insurance purchased annually in November 2021 by type of cover. For buildings and contents insurance, it was £175.79. For buildings insurance only, it was £129.62. For contents insurance only, it was £76.76.
Storage costs. Checkatrade.com. Retrieved April 2022.
Mail Redirection. Post Office. Retrieved April 2022.