How much does it cost to move house? Hidden costs and money-saving tips

The buying and selling of property are the biggest transactions most of us will make in our lives. When we’re dealing with the sorts of numbers involved it can feel a bit like dealing with Monopoly money, so it’s easy to forget about the very real house moving costs that mount up aside from the actual sale and purchase price.

For first time buyers and sellers, the process can be a complete unknown and even if you’ve bought and sold before, costs can change but so can the landscape too and with it comes opportunities to save.

Here’s a quick guide to what to expect when you’re putting your house on the market as well as buying and moving home, from the inescapable fees and hidden costs, to the areas where you might be able to save.


Estate agent fees

The onus is on the seller when it comes to agent fees, so if you’re a first-time seller it’s new territory. Agent fees are generally charged on a percentage basis and can range between 1% and 3%.

With the average house price in Bristol at around £320,000 (£224,000 nationally), that could be a fee of over £9500. Of course, every agent is different and as one Bristol estate agent told us “every agent that walks through your door will be desperate to sell your house” so don’t be afraid to negotiate.

Solicitor fees

Solicitors will carry out the conveyancing work associated with the sale and purchase of your home. Fees range from £500 (sale only) up to to around £1800, if you’re selling and buying, be sure to negotiate a good deal for dealing with the whole process.

Be aware that you’re not obliged to use the solicitor recommended to you by your agent, ask around for personal recommendations or use a comparison site to look for the best deal for you.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

It’s a legal requirement to obtain this document before you sell, and you could be fined for not having one. Expect to pay between £60 and £120, your estate agent may offer to do this for you but you’re free to do this yourself. Find out more here.

Getting sale-ready

Before it’s even time to put your house on the market, there are hidden costs in getting ready to sell. You needn’t spend a lot but giving a fresh coat of paint to tired walls and doors and sprucing up the garden can all help add value, and help you sell faster too. Have a read of our guide to getting your house sale-ready.


Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

Aside from the purchase price, your largest outgoing will be stamp duty. Properties in England and Northern Ireland under £125,000 are Stamp Duty except, then 2% up to £250,000, 5% up to £925,000 and 10% up to £1.5 million. You can use the Government’s Stamp Duty Calculator to work out exactly how much you’ll pay.

Survey costs

Surveys are important for highlighting potential, and costly issues, especially if you’re buying an older property. Costs range from £250 for the most basic Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Condition Report, through to around £400 for a Homebuyers survey up to £1000+ for a full structural survey.

Although a survey sounds like another large cost, it could save you a fortune further down the line, and may even give you some negotiating power before you complete the sale.

Mortgage fees

Depending on who is arranging your mortgage, the fees involved may vary. Brokers will generally charge a fee of up to £500 and most lenders will insist on a mortgage valuation, so expect to add another £150 to £1500 (depending on the price of the property). You’ll also be asked to pay an arrangement fee, which can be anything up to £2000, however it’s common for lenders to allow this to be rolled into your mortgage repayments.

The Money Advice Service has a useful guide to other hidden costs.


Even after you’ve completed, make sure you’ve saved enough for that celebratory bottle of bubbly by factoring in the actual house moving costs associated with actually moving home.

Removal costs

Often forgotten about until it’s time to pack, costs for removals services can vary from a few hundred to over £1000 and even more if you’re moving a long distance. Boxes and bubble wrap can be bought online but a better (and more sustainable) idea is to head down to your local supermarket to see what they’re throwing away.

If you’re moving locally, look online for your local van hire or ‘man and van’ service and as always there are comparison sites for removals too. For large item deliveries, why not try out the transport marketplace Shiply to request competitive quotes from nationwide delivery companies.

New home kitty

Unless you’re lucky enough to move into a home which has been fully decorated to your own personal taste, it’s likely that an empty house is going to want to be given a bit of TLC. Decorating and cleaning are part and parcel of moving in, as are trips to furniture stores when you realise your old furniture no longer fits!

Set up shop!

Use your big move as an opportunity to recoup some of those hidden house moving costs, it’s the ideal time for a clear out, so see what you can sell on eBay or Gumtree, you might be surprised!


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