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Cutting the cost of moving home

Young couple having just moved inAs anyone buying a new house will testify, the expense of upping sticks can soon mount up. But follow these top tips and you could save a significant amount of money.

New figures from Halifax show the average cost of having your home surveyed is more than £500, while removals can cost more than £1,100.

On top of this, you will also have to fork out for estate agency fees, conveyancing costs and stamp duty.

'Extra costs add up'

"Moving house can be both expensive and stressful,” says Kate Rose, head of household services at

"Most people remember to take into account the larger fees such as surveys and stamp duty, but are often surprised at how quickly the other extra costs add up.

"By the time you factor in a removal company, a mountain of cardboard boxes, minor repairs to the old house – not to mention new furniture for the new house – the costs can quickly run into the thousands."

But it’s not all bad news, as there are plenty of simple steps you can take to ensure your house move doesn’t break the bank.

Get a good deal on your mortgage

First off, you should ensure you get the best possible deal on your mortgage.

When choosing a home loan, it’s essential that you consider the total cost – and that means rate plus fees.

Look out for lender offers

Before choosing a lender, carry out a little research, as some banks and building societies will offer to pay a chunk of your stamp duty for you.

Stamp duty kicks in at 1 per cent for properties between £125,000 and £250,000, rising to 3 per cent for properties between £250,000 and £500,000, and then increasing to 4 per cent between £500,000 and £1million.

Other lenders will offer cash back to help with moving bills – so make sure you find out what’s up for grabs.

Halifax, for example, recently launched a new mortgage offering £500 to homebuyers to help with the cost of moving home - this is available until 5 April.

Keep down conveyancing costs

When you move house, you will have to instruct a solicitor or licensed conveyancer, but costs will vary, so get a selection of quotes.

This cost will cover the conveyancing, as well as "disbursements", such as local authority searches and Land Registry fees – plus VAT at 20 per cent.

But don’t automatically opt for the cheapest quote, as you need to make sure you’re getting the right service for your needs.

Choose the right survey

Once you’ve got your offer accepted, it’s vital to get a survey - there are essentially three types to choose from.

The mortgage valuation survey is carried out for the lender to ensure the property is worth the purchase price.

But as this won’t pick up on any structural defects and faults, it’s essential to get a private survey as well.

The two options are either a homebuyer survey or a full structural survey.

The former is more detailed than the basic home condition survey, and will pick up concerns such as damp and subsidence - it will usually cost around £500.

The full structural survey is the most expensive, and can cost around £1,000, but is generally only required on large properties that need renovation.

If the survey does throw up any significant issues, you can then use these problems to try and negotiate a little more off the asking price.

Reduce removal costs

If you’re set on using professional removal men, shop around to get the best price you can.

Also check exactly what you’re getting for your fee, such as whether the service includes packing, as well as insurance for any breakages.

Equally, one of the simplest ways to make some big savings is by hiring a van and doing it yourself – or by enlisting the help of family or friends.

Use the house move as an opportunity to de-clutter, as moving things you no longer want or need is a waste of time and money - consider advertising goods on eBay to make a little extra cash, or give them away to Freecycle.

Moving home checklist has just launched HelpMeMove, a free, interactive moving home checklist.

The all-in-one tool provides users with the recommended times to arrange all aspects of their move.

You can use the tool to help find conveyancing firms, mortgage deals and registered removal firms – as well as man-with-van options.

The tool can also guide you through the process of switching household services such as gas, electricity and broadband.

It also comes with an iPhone app so you can keep up-to-date on what needs doing when.

Esther Shaw

Esther Shaw

Esther Shaw is a regular contributor to and is the former deputy money editor at The Independent and Independent on Sunday. Before that, she worked as a money and City reporter on The Daily Express and Sunday Express.
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