How much does moving house cost?

Mortgage deposit is only one of various fees to consider when buying a new home

Removal van being loaded with boxes
Other moving costs include legal, estate agent and surveyor fees
(Image credit: Getty Images/Maskot)

Property prices are usually the main concern of would-be buyers, but moving home means paying out for lots of other up-front costs too.

Analysis of latest data shows that the cost of moving rose to a record high of more than £14,000, on average, last year. Beyond the deposit, there are “more costs to save for than you might imagine”, said Which?, including legal and surveyor fees.

But budgeting properly can help home-buyers avoid “nasty surprises” further down the line, the consumer guide site added.

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The average UK house price is £286,896, according to latest Halifax market data. Unless you have that much cash sitting around, you will probably need a mortgage to buy a property.

To get a mortage, you’ll need to put down a deposit to bridge the gap between the amount that your mortgage provider is willing to lend and the value of the property. “Generally, the bigger the deposit you can pay, the more likely you are to be given a mortgage (subject to a mortgage affordability assessment), and the lower your interest rate is likely to be,” said Money Helper.

On average, the required deposit will be at least 5% to 20% of the purchase price – which can represent a hefty amount of money. A 20% deposit on a £286,896 home, for example, would cost around £57,000.

Mortgage fees

Buyers should be aware of several different fees involved in getting a mortgage, “including the arrangement, valuation, broker costs and interest”, said The Money Edit.

The total cost will depend on the type of mortgage and the provider, but along with monthly repayments, there may also be a booking fee of between £99 and £250, an arrangement fee of up to £2,000 and a mortgage valuation fee of at least £150.

“You can usually pay these upfront or add them to your mortgage,” added the site, “but if you do this you’ll also pay interest on the repayments.”

Stamp duty

Stamp duty is a tiered tax on land and property transactions, but “not everyone has to pay it”, Which? said.

Reforms introduced last year mean that first-time buyers do not pay any stamp duty on the first £425,000 of a property's value. The previous threshold was £300,000.

Existing homeowners buying a new property to live in pay no stamp duty on the first £250,000; 5% on the amount between £250,001 to £925,000; 10% between £925,001 and £1.5 million; and 12% on the remaining amount above £1.5 million.

Landlords and second homeowners have to pay an extra 3% when buying a property that they do not plan to live in.

For a £286,896 property, a first-time buyer would pay no stamp duty, while someone moving to their next home would pay £1,844. A landlord buying an additional property to rent out would pay £10,451, according to the Money Helper stamp duty calculator.

Legal fees

You'll need to pay a solicitor to oversee all the legal work associated with buying a home.

This includes conveyancing, “checking paperwork is in order and checking whether environmental factors, planning permission issues or other hidden nasties could cause you problems”, said MoneySavingExpert.

Some lenders may cover these fees, “but only if you use one of their chosen solicitors”, the site added. Otherwise, expect to pay between £800 and £1,500, depending on the purchase value.


A house survey is a detailed inspection of the condition of a property. “It will tell you if the property is worth the price you have agreed to pay for it and whether you face any major repair bills,” said the HomeOwners Alliance.

The cost depends on the type of survey chosen and the value of the property.

For example, if the property is worth £200,000 and you want the most basic RICS Home Survey Level 1 – a report identifying visible defects and areas that need investigation – it could cost around £400.

A full level 3 structural survey – a thorough investigation of the property and estimates of the cost of repairs – usually costs £500 or more. On a £1 million home, the cost could be upwards of £1,500.

Estate agent fees

If you sell your home through an estate agent, you will need to pay a commission or fee for their services. This covers listing your home, taking pictures, arranging viewings, helping with negotiations and seeing the deal through to completion.

Most estate agents charge you a percentage of the sale price of your home, which you pay once you’ve sold. “A good ballpark figure for a sole agency contract, which is when just one estate agency markets your home, is between 1% and 2% of your sale price,” said Zoopla. But you could have to pay up to 3.5%, “especially if you want a service with all the bells and whistles”.


Once your property purchase completes, you need to arrange to move your belongings from your current home to your new one.

Removal costs will depend on the distance travelled, the volume of items, the location, and the services you require such as packing, storage and rebuilding. According to CompareMyMove, the average removal company costs for a three-bedroom house and travelling 50 miles total £806, rising to £1,181 with packing and furniture dismantling services included.

Check if your removal company has insurance covering your items during the move. Your home insurance policy may provide cover too.

Don’t forget the extra costs

Extra potential costs include cleaning your old home or your new one. When moving from a rental property, your contract may require you pay for a professional house cleaning service when you leave.

The average full house cleaning service cost is £14.50 per hour, according to Checkatrade, “and you’re looking at an average deep cleaning time of six hours for a one-off clean”.

You may also need to budget for extra childcare, or kennels for a pet, while you move and unpack, and for takeaways for a day or two if you don’t have time to cook. “These costs can all add up so make sure you include them in your budget,” said Money Helper.

Marc Shoffman is an award-winning freelance journalist, specialising in business, property and personal finance. He has a master’s degree in financial journalism from City University and has previously written for FTAdviser, ThisIsMoney, The Mail on Sunday and MoneyWeek. This article is based on information first published on The Week's sister site, The Money Edit.

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Marc Shoffman is an NCTJ-qualified award-winning freelance journalist, specialising in business, property and personal finance. He has a BA in multimedia journalism from Bournemouth University and a master’s in financial journalism from City University, London. His career began at FT Business trade publication Financial Adviser, during the 2008 banking crash. In 2013, he moved to MailOnline’s personal finance section This is Money, where he covered topics ranging from mortgages and pensions to investments and even a bit of Bitcoin. Since going freelance in 2016, his work has appeared in MoneyWeek, The Times, The Mail on Sunday and on the i news site.