How To Keep The Costs Of Moving Home Down

How To Keep The Costs Of Moving Home Down

With new research suggesting that costs are rising, estate agents Tepilo look at how home movers can keep the price of moving to a minimum.

As we outlined in a recent blog, moving home can be a tricky, stressful process if the correct steps aren’t taken to make things as smooth as possible. We looked at how forgotten items, left behind as home movers packed up in a hurry, could prove costly.

But how much does moving home actually cost? The latest research from Post Office Money has revealed that two thirds of would-be buyers are underestimating the cost of relocating.

The study - Cost of Buying & Moving – was carried out by Post Office Money in conjunction with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr). It found that the combined ‘additional costs’ of moving home, such as estate agent fees and conveyancing costs, have risen by a quarter since 2006 and now sit at an average of £9,472.

These costs, though, could have been higher had it not been for recent government intervention. The removal of the unpopular ‘slab-style’ stamp duty system at the end of 2014 meant that land tax bills fell significantly. By changing the system to ensure that all homeowners were charged at a percentage of the price paid for their property, average stamp duty costs were drastically slashed, down from £4,227 at the end of 2014 to just £1,774 at the end of last year.

The increased moving costs do, however, need to be taken into consideration by home movers. Surveyors’ costs have leapt the most in the last decade or so, rising by 53% from £498 to £764, while conveyancing costs have increased by 37% in the same timeframe, up from £1,138 to £1,558. Average estate agent costs, meanwhile, have reportedly risen by 31% since 2006, up from £3,279 in 2006 to £4,310 in 2016. Stamp duty and removals costs have seen much smaller increases.

While not paying surveyors’ and conveyancing fees is not an option, there is nothing stopping you shopping around for the best possible deal. Speak to your agent, who will be able to recommend the best person for the job – in many cases, this doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive. As for estate agent fees, well, one popular move in recent years is for people to turn to online operations, such as Tepilo, where fees are much lower but the service offered is much the same.

With estate agent costs going up considerably since 2006, it’s certainly something that home buyers and movers may wish to consider.

What’s more, money can potentially be saved when it comes to removals. Depending on how many possessions you own, it may be possible to move off your own back, negating the need for the hiring of a removal firm. If you do decide to take the DIY approach, make sure you pick the right-sized van – too big and you’ll have a load of wasted space; too small and you’ll have to make too many journeys back and forth. Removal vans also tend to be cheaper on weekdays and outside of peak times.

If you want to call the experts in, it is once again a wise move to shop around a bit and, where possible, haggle with removals firms for a better price. In many cases, you will find they can be accommodating. Don’t take the first quote that comes your way from the first removal company you speak to, as you may not be getting the best possible deal. While it’s only likely to shave a few quid off your removal costs, it’ll still make a difference. If you can rope in family and friends to help you out, this is also likely to prove a cost-effective move.     

While the cost of moving has increased over the last decade, and even over the last year, it is down from the heights of 2014 – largely due to stamp duty reforms – any may fall further still as time passes by. Even if the average figure doesn’t, there are ways and means to reduce your costs if you’re clever, prepared and organised.

It’s a wise move to overestimate your costs, and then work backwards from there. If you give yourself plenty of wriggle room, you’re likely to be pleasantly surprised if costs come in lower than you’ve budgeted for.

Unsurprisingly, home movers in London and the South East face the biggest bills, with the capital far and away the most expensive place to move home. What’s more, home movers in London are also the most likely to underestimate costs, setting a budget of around £8,800 when some £26,600 is likely to be needed once all costs are factored in. Of course, London is a big place and moving costs vary from location to location, but just as London is an expensive place in which to buy a home, it is also an expensive place in which to move.

Even then, planning ahead, factoring in the various costs from an early stage (to avoid any rushed, last-minute bills) and being thorough and resourceful when it comes to researching conveyancers, agents and removal firms, will all help to keep the dents to your bank balance to a minimum.

Moving home isn’t a particularly cheap process, but with forward planning, outside the box thinking and detailed preparation, costs can be kept to a sustainable level.