What’s the Cost of Moving House?

Moving house is an exciting time, but with a range of different costs involved with the overall process, it pays to be prepared.

Updated: May 21, 2024
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

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It goes without saying that there are quite a lot of emotional and physical challenges that come with moving house, but as hard as it can sometimes be to put these aside, we generally need to focus on some of the financial aspects of moving, too.

In the UK specifically, you'll find that there are actually quite a few different factors that make up the total cost of moving house, from having to pay estate agent fees and legal expenses all the way to the removal company charges — not to mention that you need to pay stamp as well.

As such, the average UK house price/property price has a lot more variables than what might be immediately evident.

So, because there's quite a lot of conjecture around this topic, we'll be breaking down each financial element that you should probably consider before moving house throughout this article — ultimately with the hopes of better preparing you for this next step in your life.

1. Estate Agent Fees

First things first, estate agents fees are definitely one of the expenses you're going to have to get familiar with whenever you're moving house, as these are basically all of the payments that you make to the professionals who are helping you buy or sell your property.

Generally speaking, most estate agent fees tend to vary pretty wildly, but you'll usually always find that traditional high street estate agents charge a percentage of the overall sale price on the property.

Having said that, though, you can still find online estate agents that might just offer you a flat fee instead, so it's absolutely worth taking a look around for different estate agents before you hone in on one.

Ultimately, you're getting a more personalised service if you go down the high street estate agent route, but don't pass up on the lower price tag that online estate agents come with either.

2. Legal Fees

Next up, let's take a look at some of the legal fees involved, which are another fairly unavoidable part of the whole house-moving process.

You'll most likely have to deal with a solicitor or conveyancer at some point, and they're the people who are going to be handling all of the legal aspects of moving house — property searches, preparing contracts, and even just transferring ownership for instance.

Again, these professionals are naturally going to charge fees for any of their services, so you'll want to get some quotes as early in the process as possible so that you're able to budget properly.

Similarly to estate agent fees, legal fees are never normally set in stone, either, so it's definitely recommended that you ask for some kind of breakdown of their costs and if there are going to be any other additional charges that pop up further down the line.

3. Stamp Duty

On property transactions over a certain threshold, you'll actually have to pay stamp duty, which is a tax that's dependent on the value of the property.

The specific tax rates that apply vary across England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland, so keep this in mind when you're trying to work out the total price of moving.

Having said that, there are still plenty of online calculators out there that'll give you an estimate of what your stamp duty liability is based on the price of your property.

4. Mortgage Costs

Unless you're buying a property outright, it's more than likely that you'll need some kind of mortgage, and with this comes things like arrangement fees, valuation fees, and any other kinds of charges that your mortgage lender might impose.

As such, it's definitely advisable that you're looking at a few different mortgage deals so you're able to tell what the most cost-effective option might be for your particular circumstances.

Aside from this, though, you can always consider asking a mortgage broker to help walk you through some of the mortgage costs — giving you an idea of what the best deal is based on your financial situation and the property you're purchasing.

5. Council Tax

Moving forward, council tax is another kind of local tax that you're probably familiar with already — collected by your local authorities so various public services can be funded.

Just make sure that when you move house, you've informed the council about your change of address so you're able to be billed properly.

Generally speaking, council tax rates tend to vary based on where the property is located and its value, so be prepared to factor this into your monthly budget.

6. Ground Rent

Having to pay ground rent is yet another one of the recurring costs that you'll have to pay (to either the landlord or freeholder) if you're looking at a leasehold property in particular.

Try to have an idea of what the specific terms of your lease are before you fully commit and actually purchase this property — which means having an idea of what your overall ground rent obligations are.

Sometimes, you'll find that leases might even include ground rent as a fixed rate, but it's definitely not out of the question for them to have certain provisions to increase over time.

Ultimately, just try to factor ground rent into your ongoing budget as best as possible if you want to avoid any financial strain.

7. House Removal Costs

This is probably one of the most overlooked costs involved in moving — people don't always consider just how much the physical process of moving house costs, given that you actually have to hire some kind of removal company to properly move your belongings around.

Obviously, it's hard to give a specific figure for how much this sort of thing might cost because of how much it'll vary based on other variables.

Just as an example, though, things like the overall distance that you're moving, how many items you're bringing with you, and any other additional services you could need (such as packing and storage) are all going to influence the total amount that you end up paying.

The fact of the matter is that it's certainly not cheap, so you'd definitely want to obtain a few different quotes from several removal companies in order to get the best deal possible — it can always help to see what their reputation and customer reviews are like, too.

Having said this, though not everyone is able to, planning your move well in advance can give you a lot more time and options to find the right reliable removal company (at a competitive price, too). You're only really ever having to pay exorbitant amounts when you leave it to the last minute.

8. Buildings Insurance

Whenever you own a property, you're going to need buildings insurance so that you've got something that would cover the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home just in case it gets damaged by some kind of unforeseen circumstance — whether that's a fire, flooding, or some sort of natural disaster.

Although building insurance is more often than not a pretty strict requirement if you want to get your hands on a mortgage, that doesn't mean it's any less crucial to shop around so you can find the best deals, especially given how much insurance premiums tend to vary.

9. Storage Costs

This one's a little bit similar to the house removal section, and a lot of people tend to forget that you'll need to invest in some kind of storage space if there ends up being a gap between when you fully move out of your current home and into the new one.

Now, while some removal companies might be able to offer you storage services, for the majority of the time, you'll just need to rent a storage unit separately, which can obviously be pretty expensive depending on how long you're going to need it — a few weeks might not be a big issue, but several months is naturally going to be fairly unsustainable.

Additional Costs and Contingencies

We generally tend to think of some of the more obvious expenses when we're moving house — the ones we've mentioned, for instance, estate agent fees, ground rent, buildings insurance, etc. — but it's relatively important that you're not using up all of your budget on these things and that you're also saving a buffer amount.

You can't plan some of these unforeseen expenses, so you'd never want to be in a position where you couldn't afford to recover from them.

For example, one of the more common oversights can be needing to buy new furnishings or appliances for the house — of course, it's obviously pretty tempting just to bring everything over from your old house, but the size or even layout of your new home might be better suited to something new.

This might be something you'd plan for in advance if you've seen your new house and have envisioned where you'd put certain furniture already, but generally, making sure you're able to budget for some of these items can only ever be a good thing.

Finally, try not to forget about all of the small but still fairly significant expenses that easily slip past you — things like change of address notifications, packing materials, and even cleaning supplies, for example. These types of costs might all seem pretty insignificant individually, but seemingly minor costs can definitely add up.

It can always help to keep a checklist handy here, even some kind of budgeting app that you can use for incidentals like this that'll help you stay on top of your finances during the whole moving process.

Negotiating Costs and Saving Strategies

To wrap up the article in a proactive way, let's not forget that there are still plenty of strategic ways you can negotiate costs and potentially save a bit of money whenever you're dealing with some of the expenses we've mentioned.

So, let's walk through a few practical tips that should hopefully help you manage your expenses a bit more effectively:

Negotiate Estate Agent Fees

If you end up going to one of the more traditional high street estate agents, try not to be afraid when it comes to negotiating their fees.

You'd generally find that online estate agents have fixed fees, and you won't be able to barter with them the same way, but high street agents, on the other hand, are definitely a bit more open to discussions — especially if they believe it will secure your business.

Timing Your Move

Naturally, the exact time of year can actually have an impact on the total amount of costs you face, so try to move during off-peak times if possible, even mid-week, when removal companies offer slightly lower rates if that's more realistic.

Utilise Online Resources

Lastly, remember that there are quite a lot of different online tools and resources that you can use to estimate costs and compare prices — whether they're stamp duty calculators or budgeting apps.

Related Guides:


What Are the Average Costs Associated With a House Removal?

Are There Ways to Reduce House Removal Costs Without Sacrificing Service Quality?

How Can I Estimate Storage Costs Accurately?

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