How to stay savvy about the hidden costs of selling a home
UK homeowners may be bracing themselves for a quick sell with news of a property price year-on-year fall for the first time in more than a decade.
Across the UK, house prices fell by 1% on average, which marks the first annual decline since December 2012.
Against a backdrop of high-interest rates and a cost-of-living crunch, some homeowners will likely be looking to force through a sale before prices fall further.
If this is the case, it’s important to stay savvy about the hidden costs of selling a home – the average cost of selling rose 21% last year to £14,207 based on an average sale price of £300k.
Estate agency experts, Watermans, share some hidden costs to consider when putting your home on the market and moving.
Estate agency fees
On average, estate agency fees typically range between 1% and 3.5% of your home’s sale price. However, you can find some estate agents who may offer a flat rate.
Fixed fee agents will generally work out cheaper, but you’ll likely have to pay upfront – regardless of whether it sells fast or slow and above or below the asking price.
While it may be tempting to choose an agent taking the smallest slice of your sale price, this may not always be advisable or profitable in the long run. Better estate agents may command higher fees but may also be able to attain a higher asking price. When choosing a fixed fee agent, there is also zero incentive for them to get you a higher sale price.
The good news is that the UK typically offers the cheapest estate agency fees in the world with most agencies offering under 3% and often between 0.75% – 1% of the agreed sale price in Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife.
Which estate agent you decide upon may well be decided by their respective expertise in certain areas or property types.
Statistically, the average conveyancing costs for selling a home are £2,003, although this may vary widely depending on location and property type.
Conveyancing is often one of the main sticking points during property sales, with the process typically taking eight to 12 weeks to reach completion.
Tzana Webster, an expert in House Valuation in Edinburgh, advises: “Selling your home can be one of the biggest milestones in your life but also a daunting task – particularly during the conveyancing process.
“House sellers should look for a service where all of the fees are transparent and explained to you at the outset, meaning that you won’t be surprised with unexpected costs that you haven’t budgeted for.
“Speak with the solicitor and the estate agency to ask them to provide you with a detailed quote of all costs included in the sale and marketing before going ahead with the service.”
The majority of solicitor estate agents work on a fixed rate, meaning they can quote a fee to you for the work involved in the purchase.
To minimise costs, you won’t see extra charges coming through to register Notes of Interest on your behalf or for giving you advice about a property.
Home report surveys
When selling a home in Scotland, you will need to provide a valid Home Report Survey, which is made up of three parts:
- Single survey and mortgage valuation report
- Energy Performance Certificate
- Property questionnaire
The cost of the HR survey varies depending on the value of the property but can range from £350+VAT at the lower level and upwards of around £800+VAT for higher value homes.
The Solicitor / estate agency arranges this on behalf of a seller and can help with all aspects of the appointment and completing the Property Questionnaire.
Lastly, the final step towards your new life is to transport your possessions to your new home.
Those with smaller-sized properties may be able to ask a friend or rent a van to do it yourself, while those with more belongings may prefer to enrol a professional removals company.
Prices will typically vary depending on the size of the required vehicle, the distance between your two homes, the time of week and the contents of your belongings.
Did you know that removal costs are cheaper if you choose to move midweek – or indeed, any other day than a Friday?
Typically, Friday is the completion date for moving house. The risk of moving on a Friday arises when money hasn’t cleared in your solicitor’s account by 5pm – meaning you’ll not be able to get into your new home until the next business day which is Monday.
This would mean having to find last-minute alternative accommodation for over the weekend if the sale isn’t completed in time. So if you can, arrange your moving day as Monday-Thursday to avoid the Friday rush. And always make sure you shop around through price comparison sites to get the best quote.