How to Minimise the Cost of Moving House

Although it can be a great step forward in your life, moving house can be costly. Between legal fees, time spent on viewings, and packing supplies, your money can end up being stretched very thinly!

We’re here to take the pressure off, and share some of our top tips on minimising the cost of moving house. While some moving costs are unavoidable, with a little extra planning, you can eliminate the unnecessary expenses, and invest that money in creating your dream home instead! 

What is the average cost of moving house in the UK?

The cost of moving house can vary based on a number of factors, but the most significant one is whether you are a first-time buyer, or have a house that you’re selling.

According to Which?, the average moving costs for a first time buyer in the UK come to around £2,082. This figure includes legal fees, a house survey, and the cost of removal. However, this does not include the deposit on your house, or other additional costs you may need to pay.

However, if you are also selling your current house, the average moving costs in the UK come to around £11,777. This is due to the addition of stamp duty, which is waived for first-time buyers but typically costs about £5000. This figure also includes estate agent fees, and increased legal fees for the selling of the existing home.

There’s no doubt that moving home can be costly. However, this is only an average and is bound to differ based on individual circumstances. Not to mention, there are a number of things you can do to minimise your overall moving costs.

What fees do you have when moving house?

The main fees that you’ll be expected to pay when you buy a house, are as follows: 

  • Solicitor or licensed conveyancer fees
  • Valuation fee on the home
  • Costs of a conducting a survey on the property
  • Stamp duty (unless you are a first time buyer, or the value of the home is below £125,000)

If you are selling your current home, as well as buying a new property, you may need to pay the following, in addition to the fees above.

  • Estate agent’s fee
  • Cost of cleaning or repairs around the house, prior to accepting viewings

How much do solicitors charge for buying a house in the UK?

Solicitor fees can vary, based on the value of the home, the experience level of the solicitor, and even the location of the property. Fees in areas like London or Manchester, with a higher cost of living, tend to be more expensive.

However, the average amount spent on solicitors fees in the UK is between £850 – £1,500, including VAT at 20%.

A pair of house keys are set beside a miniature red and white house on a light brown wooden tabletop.

20 Common Moving Costs to Plan For

In this section, we’ll cover moving costs that you should consider when making your budget for moving house. Planning for these expenses will help prevent any nasty surprises, and will mean that you’re well-prepared for the moving costs, even before you’ve put an offer in on your home. 

Here are 20 common moving costs to build into your budget.

Purchasing Costs

These are the standard fees, legal and administrative, that you’ll need to cover when buying a house.

1. Solicitor’s Fees

A solicitor, or licenced conveyancer, is the person who will help you to navigate the tricky legal process of buying a house. They will file paperwork on your behalf, liaise with the seller’s solicitor, and provide legal advice and support throughout the entire purchasing process.

2. Chartered Surveyor’s Fees

If you’re taking out a mortgage to buy your house, before this is approved, it’s likely that your lender will want a survey to be carried out on the property you’re planning to buy. This involves a property expert visiting the home, to ensure it’s in good condition, and flagging any issues they may have seen.

Although this is an essential step of securing a mortgage, conducting a survey is still important, even if you’re not borrowing money to buy the house. The surveyor will make a report on the condition of the home, enabling you to make an informed decision about whether you want to continue with the sale. 

This can also give you an opportunity to negotiate on the price, if the property is in need of extensive repairs. So, although it costs to hire a surveyor, it can actually save you a lot of money in the long run!

3. Valuation Fee

Similar to carrying out a survey on the home, having the property valued is an essential step if you wish to take out a mortgage. This is to ensure that you are not borrowing more money than the property is worth.

However, this is also helpful to know if you’re not borrowing any money, so you can be sure the property is a good investment, and you’re not being overcharged.

4. Stamp Duty

If you’re a first time buyer, or are buying a property that’s under £125,000, you won’t be required to pay stamp duty. However, if these criteria don’t apply to you, you will need to pay stamp duty, which is a tax on the transaction. Stamp duty varies, and can be between 2% to 12% of the overall purchase price.

5. Fixed Rate Mortgage Fees

When you take out a mortgage, the interest you pay on the loan can fluctuate based on market conditions. You can protect yourself by taking out a fixed-rate mortgage, where the interest rate will be frozen for a period of time – often the first 5 years.

However, to secure a good interest rate, your lender may ask you to pay an up-front fee to receive this rate. This normally ends up saving you money in the long-term, as you will pay back less in interest, but it does mean that you’ll pay a higher initial fee for your mortgage.

Moving Costs

Once the purchasing process is complete, and the up-front costs have been paid, this is where the other costs of moving come into play. Moving all your belongings, and your family, from one property to another is tricky, so it’s essential to plan for the costs you’ll incur along the way.

6. Van Rental

If you’re lucky, you may be able to move all of your earthly possessions in your car. However, if you have furniture to move, or want to make fewer trips, hiring a removal van is probably going to be your best option. Removal vans often come with straps to secure your belongings, and ramps for easy loading, which could save you a lot of time and effort throughout the day.

7. Movers

For an even smoother moving experience, you could even choose to hire a professional moving service. This does come with up-front costs for labour, but professional movers work efficiently, quickly, and you reduce the risk of injuries or broken furniture, thanks to their expertise.

A moving service is definitely a luxury, but if it’s one you can afford, many people have found that it made their moving day easier, and less stressful.

8. Time off work

Moving house is just as much of an investment of time as an investment of money. You or your partner may need to take time off work to attend viewings, sign contracts, and complete the move. Whereas you may be able to use annual leave, if you’re self-employed, moving day could cost you a day’s wages, at a time when costs are already high.

However, some organisations offer support for employees who are relocating for work, so if this is the case, it could be well worth enquiring with your HR department to see if they can assist you with additional time off. And some companies even offer moving allowances!

9. Packing

The cost of packing materials may seem negligible, compared to things like legal fees, but the cost of boxes, packing tape, and bubble wrap can really start to add up! Make sure to estimate how many boxes you’ll need per room, how many breakables you have, and budget accordingly.

Think carefully about your furniture, too – whether you’ll need to wrap it, and if you’ll need a dolly or another piece of equipment to move it.

10. Postal Redirection

Another small cost that’s worth remembering, is postal redirection. This is a service that automatically redirects letters or packages from your old address, to your new one. Although it’s vital to remember to register your change of address with anybody who may wish to contact you, such as your bank or GP surgery, there’s always one that slips your mind.

Postal redirection not only prevents lost packages, but will protect you from fraud, which can be a real risk if your post gets into the wrong hands.

A medium-sized white packing box sits open upon a white tabletop, in front of a white wall.

Costs for the Home

Once you’re in your new home, your things are safely packed away, and you have your furniture where you want it, there are a few more things which will help you to enjoy your new home to the fullest.

11. Home Insurance

Unlike car insurance, home insurance isn’t a legal requirement, but it’s much safer to make sure you have it in place before moving. Home insurance protects your home and its contents against theft, accidents, and damage. While shopping for quotes, look at the optional extras such as cover for replacement keys, and freezer contents in the event of a power cut. 

Although you want to get the best deal, make sure you get the most suitable cover for you and your family, even if it isn’t necessarily the lowest price.

12. New Furniture

Most people end up investing in a few new pieces of furniture when they move house. Whether they find that certain pieces don’t fit due to their size, or they’d just prefer to go with a new interior design style, there are plenty of reasons to invest in your home by choosing some new furniture. 
Whether you want to treat yourself to a new bed, furnish your guest bedroom with a 4-piece furniture set, or pick from a range of fantastic storage items, Big Furniture Warehouse has you covered. We pride ourselves on selling stylish furniture, at prices that are affordable for everybody.

13. New Appliances

If this is your first house and your previous white goods belonged to your landlord, you may find you need to acquire all the mod cons to make your first property into your first home. When you’re given an inventory of the house by your solicitor, check to see whether the cooker is installed, or whether you’ll need to buy a new one and pay to have it connected.

Some sellers are willing to leave behind white goods, like refrigerators and washing machines, if their new property has them built in. This can be negotiated into the price, and will save you from needing to get these things delivered.

14. Keys Cut

Once you move in, the seller should hand over all the keys they have to the property, including keys for windows, cupboards, and any outdoor buildings specified in the deed. But if the previous tenant lived alone and only needed one key and a spare, you may need to get more keys cut, depending on the number of people in your household.

Most locksmiths recommend one key per member of the household, a spare key to be kept somewhere safe on the property, and another spare to be left with a relative, or somebody that you trust.

15. Repairs

Although most building issues with your new property should be picked up in the survey, it’s very common for older houses and properties to need standard maintenance and repairs within the first year of you moving in. This is standard wear and tear that won’t be covered by most home insurance.

Squeaky hinges, broken bathroom tiles, or even a leak in the roof could rear its head within your first year at the property. Therefore, it’s worth putting some money aside for general maintenance around the house, and having a simple set of tools for everyday DIY. Some jobs, such as plumbing or wiring, are best left to professionals, but standard home maintenance is a great skill that will save you plenty of money over your lifetime.

Unseen Costs

Unseen costs are the things that you may never even consider when you’re planning your move. Because every house move is different, the moving costs are likely to vary. Here are a few pesky, unforeseen costs that you may want to factor into your budget for moving house.

16. Childcare or Pet care

If you’re moving at the weekend, you may find it easier to make sure your little ones and furry friends are out of the way! As well as adding to your stress by chattering away, it can be dangerous having little ones about when you’re carrying heavy boxes or moving furniture up and down the stairs.

Pets are also well-known for getting underfoot, or making a run for an open front door. You may find it worth it to get a childminder, or pop your pets into a kennel for the day. At least then you can focus on the tough task of moving, without your mini-me getting into trouble and opening up your carefully-packed boxes.

17. Deposits

If you’re moving out of a rental property, one of the most common times you’ll end up with torn carpets, marks on walls and chipped paint is when you’re moving in or out. Accidents happen, and most landlords are understanding and will take into account standard wear and tear. But if you’re relying on getting that deposit back, taking special care while moving could ensure you have that extra bit of cash to spend on your new house.

18. Lost items

It happens every time: something will always go missing in the course of a move. No matter how organised you are, when moving all of your worldly goods from one house to the next, it’s inevitable that things get misplaced, forgotten, or just vanish into thin air.

We recommend keeping a close eye on your valuables by packing them into a backpack and keeping them close during the move. But don’t be too quick to replace things until every box is unpacked! Things tend to get jumbled around, and although your kids SWEAR they packed their toys into one box, there’s every chance it will magically turn up in another.

19. Takeaways

Whether you’re waiting for your cooker to be connected, haven’t had chance to stock up the fridge, or you’re just exhausted after a full day of moving, it’s always a good idea to budget for a moving day takeaway. 

Although it may sound frivolous, planning to order from your favourite takeaway gives everybody something to look forward to at the end of the day. If your kids are feeling frustrated, or your partner’s feeling the stress, reminding them of the incoming pizza or Chinese can be a great way to keep those spirits up. And after all the hard work, you’ll deserve a reward!

20. Self-Care

Again, this may sound a little frivolous to some, but the fact is that moving house frequently features highly on lists of the most stressful life events. Many rank it even higher than undergoing surgery, or losing your job!

This could mean you spend a little more in the following weeks on small acts of self-care. You could treat yourself to coffee and cake after sorting out your home insurance, buy a notebook to start journaling, or book a family holiday, so you have something to look forward to when all the madness dies down.

Although it’s important to budget during and after moving, make sure you don’t neglect yourself. Self-care spending doesn’t have to break the bank, and it can be as much of an investment in your future happiness as buying your dream home.

A fair-haired woman in a blue t-shirt enjoys a cup of coffee by a window in a café.

What is the cheapest way to move house?

The cheapest way to move house is to:

  • Plan in advance. Ask for quotes from solicitors and estate agents in plenty of time, to get the best deal.
  • Create a moving budget. Even if you don’t stick to it strictly, this will keep you on track. 
  • Avoid unnecessary costs. Consider whether there are things that you could borrow or rent, rather than buy.

5 Ways to Minimise the Cost of Moving House

1. Shop around for the best deals and quotes

Whether it’s for the property you’re buying, the solicitors, or the conveyancing service you’re using, be sure to shop around and compare like-for-like quotes to ensure you’re getting the best possible deal. This will require some advance planning.

For instance, if you have an offer selected, without having found the right solicitor, you may need to go with the one with the best availability, which is not likely to be the most affordable option. Don’t end up paying out of pocket, just so you don’t slow down the sale! Having a solicitor instructed, or at least in mind, can save you both time and money once your offer is accepted.

2. Collect packing materials

Once you know you’re planning to move, it’s a great time to hang on to any bubble wrap from packages, or collecting newspapers from family and friends so that you can save on packing costs. You can also wrap breakables like crockery or glassware in t-shirts, and pack them alongside cushions. This means you can transport your belongings in fewer boxes, while saving money on materials!

3. Sell anything you don’t want to take

Before you move house is the best possible time to declutter. Not only can you sell your unwanted items and add that money to your moving budget, but you can cut down on the amount of clothes, toys, and furniture that you’ll need to move. 

Be ruthless, and consider whether an item is used, worn, or treasured enough to make it worth taking to your new home. Shed yourself of any broken appliances, clothes that don’t fit, or furniture that never gets used. eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and Gumtree are all great places to rid yourself of things you don’t want for a little extra cash. 

4. Reach out to friends and family

Most people understand the strain that moving house can put on you, and you may find that your friends and family are eager to help. Whether they watch the kids for the day, or pitch in with the packing and moving, many hands make light work where moving house is concerned. Just be sure to give your heartfelt thanks – and a cup of tea never goes amiss, either!

5. Get great bargains on your furniture at Big Furniture Warehouse

One of the best ways to make sure your home is kitted out with great furniture to match your style, is to shop our full selection at Big Furniture Warehouse. Great quality pieces, at affordable prices, you can shop for the kitchen, living room, bedroom, and even your garden.

Decorating your new property doesn’t need to break the bank. Visit our website to browse by room, or visit the Big Furniture Warehouse blog for more exclusive tips and tricks for your home.

A living room with pine and white-painted furniture, including a bookcase, TV stand, sideboard, and coffee table.

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