What is the real cost of moving house? A checklist to help you budget

Moving house is an exciting time, but unfortunately, it can also be an expensive time. As well as some significant upfront costs, there are a few hidden smaller costs that can sometimes be overshadowed by some of the bigger and more obvious ones. It can make it hard to keep track of them and budget properly when buying, selling and moving house. To help, take a look at this easy checklist of all the costs of moving house to help you plan and budget ahead of time.

Cost of selling and buying a house

The first part of the process, buying and/or selling your home, is when you’ll see some of those bigger costs. While they can be scary, it’s important to know what you’re dealing with so you can make sure you have the right budget.


You’ve probably already saved your deposit if you’re on the hunt to buy a new house, but if it’s early doors and you want to budget early then don’t forget that you’ll need a good deposit to get the house of your dreams. You’ll need at least 5% to 20% of the purchase price of the house, and the amount you save will affect the mortgage you can get. The more you have, the better/

Stamp duty

If you’re a first-time buyer and the property you want to buy is less than £300,000, then you’ll be happy to know you don’t need to worry about this. If your dream home is more than that however or you’re not a first-time buyer, then you’ll have to budget for stamp duty. The cost of this varies on a sliding scale depending on the price of your home, but you can the government’s Stamp Duty calculator to help you figure out the true cost. Stamp duty applies to homes in England and Northern Ireland, although properties in Scotland and Wales have their own tax rates and system that you’ll need to be aware of.

the costs of moving house

Property valuation fee

The valuation fee is what your mortgage lender will charge you to assess the value of the property which will determine how much they are willing to lend you. Again, the fee can vary by the mortgage lender and is additionally based on the value of the property so check what it is for you. If you’re lucky, then you might have a mortgage product that doesn’t charge a valuation fee so you can rest easy.

Other mortgage fees

There a wide range of mortgage products out there depending on your lender and what property you want to buy or whether you’re a first-time buyer. This means that fees and costs can vary considerably as well. Look out for special offers for specific mortgage products for your circumstances that could waive some fees and help save you money. Mortgages fees can typically include a booking fee up to a couple of hundred pounds, an arrangement feed of up to £2,000 and the mortgage valuation feed (see above).

Surveyors fee

While you may not like the idea of shelling out for a survey of your home it’s vital that you do. It could potentially save you a lot more money and stress later on. A surveyor will check the property you want to buy to ensure that there aren’t any problems with the building so there are no nasty repair surprises later. Survey vary in cost depending on how detailed they are from a basic condition survey from around £250 to a full structure survey that can cost more than £600. Paying for a good one though could save you a lot later.

Legal fees – conveyancing/solicitors fees

There is a lot of legal work when selling and/or buying a home so you’ll usually need a solicitor or licensed conveyor to carry out the work for you. Predictably, these fees entirely depend on the solicitors you choose and this is often influenced by your local area. They can range anywhere from £800 to £1,500 and more. As well as general legal work, they may also carry out additional work like local searches which check if there are any local plans or problems can cost you more as well.

how much does it cost to move house


If you already have a home then you will already have building and probably contents insurance too. Lenders usually require you to have this and it’s important for protecting your new home against unexpected accidents or disasters. You may be moving to a more expensive property however or maybe your home is even older or newer which can change the type and cost of insurance you need. If you’re a first-time buyer, then you’ll need to make sure you include this as a completely new cost with all the others.

Estate agents fees

If you’re selling a home then you’ll also have estate agents feeds to think about. These fees will depend on the estate agents so have a look in your area to see what kinds of price there are. The final fee is negotiated when the property is put on the market and it is always a percentage of the sale price plus 20% VAT. In the UK these fees usually range from 1% to 3% and you can usually haggle a little to get the final percentage down.

Costs of moving house on the day

The costs of actually moving into your new home are usually the costs that people forget about or don’t think about until the last minute. Not budgeting for this process from the outset can make things extremely tight later on so it’s important to make a note of what you might be needing to pay out now and save accordingly.

Removals company

Depending on the size of your home and how much you need to know you’ll probably want to hire a moving company to help you. Some people choose to try and do this process alone by simply hiring a van, but along with all the other stress of moving house, this can be exhausting and much more time-consuming. Additionally, a good moving company will have professional experience to help you pack and move your items properly and minimise any breakages along the way.

There a few different levels of removals service you can get depending on how much you have to move and what you’re willing to pay. You can use a basic man and van service which will leave you entirely responsible for packing up everything and helping to move things onto the van and into the new home. You’re charged by the hour with a minimum of usually at least 2 hours, so the more organised you are and the quicker can get the move complete the less you’ll have to pay.

Alternatively, you can save yourself even more hassle and pay for movers to help you pay, from dismantling and wrapping furniture to even helping you back fragile items like tableware. It may cost more, but it might just what you need after organising a stressful move. Whatever service you choose, the final costs will depend on how much you have, the size of the removals truck you need and how long the company expects it will take. Make sure you’re clear about what you have to the removals company when getting a quote so that there are no costly surprises later. Get a few quotes and then have the final company come around to actually see your belongings to make sure you budget properly.

Packaging supplies

All those belongings need to go somewhere. People often forget about the cost of boxes and other packing supplies you may need. You can find cardboard boxes around for free in some areas, but we always recommend using proper removals boxes including wardrobe boxes for your clothes. Bubble wrap is also a good idea for fragile items but you can always use towels and other soft linen to protect some items. Packing tape is another additional cost to think about.

Removals insurance

Every good removals company should have their own insurance but check the terms of your moving company if you have one and look at any other additional insurance you might need to protect your belongings.

Storage costs

You may also need storage depending on the timeline of your move and how much you have. Storage can be a great way to sell your property and become even more attractive buyers with no chain to help you buy the house of your dreams. It always means you can move quickly during the buying process, another attractive quality in today’s market. You can find a lot of affordable local storage and some even have special deals to help you save even more. At Space 4U, we even offer a free pick-up service with selected units so you could save on some moving costs.

Cleaning costs

If you’re moving from a rental property then you’ll definitely need to leave the home clean and tidy as not doing so could cost you your deposit depending on your tenancy agreement. Get some quotes from some local cleaning companies, prices will depend on the size of the property and level of clean needed.

Postal redirection

Don’t forget to redirect your mail! If you don’t you could miss important documents or they could fall into the wrong hands. Royal Mail has a reliable redirection service with costs varying depending on whether you want to redirect for 3, 6 or 12 months and starting from just £39.99.

Extra moving day costs

Depending on your circumstances you may have other moving day costs to think about. This might include:

  • Childcare costs
  • Time off work
  • Pet care costs
  • Food and living costs – takeaways, etc

Want to know about moving house costs?

Our expert storage team know a thing or two about moving house so if you’re still not sure how much the moving day might cost you then we’ll be happy to help.

Packing Pug

I'm Percy the Packing Pug. What I don't know about self storage isn't worth knowing! Check out my latest blog posts for top tips on storage solutions near you.