There are lots of hidden costs involved in buying and selling a house. If you’re a first time buyer they’re probably things you’ve never even thought of. Here, I’m going to uncover all you need to know about stamp duty, surveys and legal fees so that you don’t get any nasty surprises. Recent research has showed that whilst it is still expensive, the cost of moving has decreased significantly over the last ten years. This is largely because many competitive quotes are now available, so as with anything, you must make sure you shop around.
Conveyancing and Estate Agent Costs
Conveyancing is the action of preparing documents for the conveyance of property. Fees are now nearly 10% cheaper than they were 10 years ago. As an estimate, expect to pay about £570 based on the average house price of £167,000. If you also Sell A House Online, you might be able to negotiate with your solicitor a package deal, as there will be less work for them to do.
Calculate what 1% – 4% of the price of your house sale is and expect your estate agent to charge you that amount. They work on commission, so if you choose a sole agent you may pay less, but it could limit to number of people that come to view your property. As a way of saving money many people are now choosing to advertise the sale of their house on an independent website such as Housenetwork. However, if you choose to go down this route you will have to put in a lot of work yourself arranging viewings and you will also pay a small fee for joining the site.
It’s never a good idea to purchase a home without getting a building survey done. There could be many problems with a property that are unidentifiable to you, but won’t be to a professional chartered surveyor. The last thing you want is to buy and move in to your new home only to find you then need to spend a fortune fixing problems that you didn’t know were there. The cost of a building survey varies, largely depending on area. For example, building surveyors in Cambridge charge and average of £200 where in London it’s more like £400.
Stamp duty is a tax you pay to the government for them to change the documents that specify who owns a property. In 1999 1% stamp duty had to be paid on all properties that cost between £60,000 and £250,000. So on a house that cost £150,000 you would pay £1500 – not an affordable amount to many! In 2010, stamp duty got suspended for first-time buyers as long as the property they purchase costs £250,000 or less. Any house bought for less than £125,000 attracts no stamp duty. So at least these changes have made things slightly easier for people.
If you are using a removal company, there are many things that will affect how much they charge you such as the time of year, the distance you are moving and the number of items you have to move. Therefore, there is lots you can do to reduce the cost. Firstly, de-clutter your home. Your quote is based on volume, so be brutal and throw out anything you’ve not used in the last 6 months. Secondly, book early. Removal companies will often charge you more when you book last minute, because they know you have no option other than to pay it. Avoid moving on a Friday, especially before a bank holiday, as these days cost more. Get at least 3 quotes from removal companies so that you can select the best price. Do make sure however, that whoever you choose is a member of the British Association of Removers. That way you’ll be sure they are insured for your contents and will abide by the strict code of practice.
Doing it yourself will obviously remove a large proportion of this cost, but it can be much more stressful and you’ll still need to hire a van/lorry (unless you have a friend that has one prepared to do you a favour!) and remember to factor in the cost of petrol.
So, if you tot it all up you’re looking at spending an average of about £5000 on top of the deposit you put down on your property. No wonder so many of us are struggling to get on and stay on the property ladder!