How much does it cost to move home?

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Moving home costs money. Even if you're downsizing to save on the rent, you'll need some short-term funds to cover the costs of moving out.

If you're moving out on your own for the first time, haven't moved for a while, or you're going from renting to buying (or vice-versa), you may be unaware of exactly how many fees can be involved, and the cost to move.

This isn't a definitive list, though. You might not experience some of these costs at all – in fact, some of the more unusual ones may act as red flags to warn you away from a certain landlord or letting agent.

While you're searching

There aren't too many costs involved at this stage – you don't have to pay to view flats or houses, after all.

But remember: some estate agents won't always have viewings available at the times you want them, so depending on your working hours – and this can get trickier when you're searching with someone else – you might have to take time off to house-hunt.

Renting

The first thing you'll have to consider is the deposit – usually the equivalent of one month's rent. You will also have to pay your first month's rent up-front, and some landlords may ask that you pay your last month's rent up-front too – though the latter is very rare and quite outdated, so could be a warning sign.

To help prevent any potential disputes over your deposit when you move out, make sure the landlord or letting agency provides you with an inventory when you first move in. That way, you can check over the property together, and make notes of things like broken appliances and scuffs on the wall. Your landlord shouldn't be taking money out of your deposit at the end of your tenancy to pay for things that weren’t your fault.

Your deposit should also be kept safe by a protection scheme – like the aptly named Deposit Protection Scheme. If your landlord doesn't use a scheme like this, it's a sure sign that they need to be avoided. They ensure that landlords can't hold onto your deposit at the end of the tenancy, providing a neutral third party in the event of any disputes.

So effectively, you'll have to pay double the rent in your first month, though you will get half of it back when you move – provided you've not left any lasting damage that the landlord will need to repair.

More often than not, you will have to pay your new deposit before you receive the old deposit from your current home back – so you can't just rely on rolling the money over. You'll need the extra cash to hand.

Some landlords or letting agents will charge additional fees on top of your deposit –administration fees, inventory fees, tenant referencing and credit check fees are the most common.

Letting agents must clearly show their fees on their website, and in their offices – ask them in advance what the fees are, and if any appear further down the line, question them.

If you're at all unsure, find out more about tenants' security deposits and legal responsibilities here.

Moving

The very act of moving out costs. Once again, you may find yourself having to take time off work to do the job properly.

If you don't drive, have too much stuff to fit in a car, are moving too far for multiple trips to be practical, or are just unable to shift your furniture for whatever reason, you'll need to get some level of help with the move.

Whether it's a van rental, van-and-driver rental, or a full-blown removals company, the costs can add up. It could range from £20 per hour for a man-with-van, to £500 or more for a removals company to cover a two or three bedroom house.

Of course, don't forget packing materials too – if you don't have boxes and bubble wrap lying around, Amazon can often be your cheapest resource for buying in bulk.

Buying

We're sure you don't need us to tell you that buying a house is expensive – it's probably the biggest financial commitment you will ever make. If you're a first-time buyer, there's a lot of costs involved that you just might not know about. We've broken them down below, but remember that these aren't set in stone. They will vary depending on your area, the price of your property, and the individual rates of services you choose. Some you can choose to have rolled into your mortgage, but others will require paying up-front.

  • The deposit. Usually around 10% of the purchase price, though you can agree any amount with your mortgage lender. The bigger the deposit, the less your mortgage payments will be.
  • Legal fees. Buying a home may be the first time you've had to contract a solicitor (or a licensed conveyancer) – and they can be expensive. Solicitor's fees will vary, but you can expect to pay around the £1,000 mark.
  • Searches. Your solicitor will carry these out for you, but it's not included in their fees – you'll have to pay around £200 to £300 extra. Searches investigate issues outside of the property that may still affect it – planning permission for new developments nearby, the boundaries of the property's land, environmental issues, and so on.
  • Surveys. Before buying a home, you'll need to get it checked over – whether it's a simple survey of the general condition, or a full structural survey. These can cost between £350 and £700 – or much more, if you're buying a more expensive property.
  • Mortgage advisors. This is an optional cost, but many first-time buyers choose to get some help with arranging their mortgage from an advisor like the Mortgage Advice Bureau.
  • Land registry fee. This is a fee you have to pay to the government to register the property in your name – around £100.
  • Stamp duty. This is a tax that you must pay if your home costs more than £125,000. It's linked directly to the cost of your home – click here for a handy calculator to help you work it out.

So just how much does it cost to move home? It's a huge expense, but budgeting for some of the hidden fees that you may not have thought of will help keep you on track with your money in the long run. That way, you have money leftover for furnishing your property, as well as buying essential household appliances!

Want more tips on how to manage your money? Check out these money management tools or alternatively, head on over to our blog.

Remember, do not buy what you can’t afford, and think carefully before taking out a loan for any non-essential purchases.

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    How much does it cost to move home?