Selling your house can be a daunting prospect when you start to add up all the things you need to pay for, but you mustn’t let that get in the way of your dream move. The key is to plan ahead, set realistic expectations and then come up with a plan that will give you plenty of leeway.
That way you can make adjustments as you go without having to worry about your overheads squeezing you out of the market. To get you off to a fast start, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide that also covers the price ranges you can expect to pay. Let’s dive right in…
Cost of selling a house across the country
Property prices vary substantially across the country with properties in the North regularly coming in at a third of the price of those in the most sought after areas of the South.
This complicates things in terms of your budgeting because you can also expect to pay different rates for things like estate agents, solicitors and other expenses.
You can’t simply multiply everything up by the difference in price across two different areas of the country, so what do you do? Our approach has focused on keeping things simple with estimated ranges and average prices for each expense. That way you can get a much clearer idea of what’s involved with selling your house.
Cost of real estate fees
Fortunately this is one of the easier things to estimate because estate agents typically charge commission based on the price of the house they’re selling. Why do they do it like that? The logic is that more expensive houses have a smaller audience and are therefore harder to sell so they want to charge more.
The average commission charged in 2021 was 1.18% (plus VAT) which may not sound all that much at first glance. With the average UK house selling for just over £251,000 in that period it adds up to an estate agent fee of £2,961.It’s a sizable expense and one of the largest you’ll have to pay when selling your house.
You can always shop for an estate agent who charges a lower rate of commission, just make sure that they have a track record when it comes to selling houses like yours quickly and efficiently. The last thing you want is to save a small amount of money on agent fees only to have the process take twice as long.
The cost of house tax when you’re selling
You may have to pay capital gains tax. What is capital gains tax and how much is it? Capital gains tax is a tax on the increase in value of your property over the period you lived in it. If the property value has fluctuated somewhat during your residency, don’t worry. You’re only taxed on the difference between what you paid for it and what you sell it for.
If you’re a basic-rate taxpayer you’ll pay 18% on your capital gains, and if you’re a higher rate payer you’ll be charged at 28%. Payment is due within 60 days of the sale, so it’s really important to make sure you have the money in the bank so that your stress-free move doesn’t turn into a drawnout battle with HMRC. There’s also a £12,300 capital gain available to you that’s tax-free, so make sure you remember this when factoring in your expenses.
The idea of being taxed when you sell your house may not seem fair because you’ve already been taxed on the income used to buy the house in the first place. While it’s natural to feel this way, staying compliant with the system is always the best approach and will allow you to make smart financial decisions moving forward.
One common legal way around capital gains is to show that the property you’re selling was the only property you owned for the duration of your residency. If you can do that then the chances are you can dramatically reduce your capital gains exposure.
If in doubt, the best approach is always to get in touch with a tax and legal professional who can advise appropriately. It might sound like another expense with a typical consultation costing upwards of £150, but it could save you thousands in the longer term.
In 2021 the average solicitor fee in the UK for a house sale was £1,500. This was fairly flat across the country and covers all of the legal checks and things like conveyancing that need to be done to make sure the deeds are accurately and legally transferred between the relevant parties.
Feel free to shop around for a cheaper rate and you’ll certainly find some options, but there’s unlikely to be solicitors who charge half as much yet still deliver the same quality of service. If in doubt, go for a mid-range price that you can comfortably afford and choose a locally based solicitor who’s easy to get in contact with.
By having the name and number of someone you can trust you’ll be able to save yourself a whole host of time, money and stress. It’ll also allow you to progress your sale nice and quickly so that other overheads, like potentially running two properties, don’t grow over time.
This is something that’s well worth considering from a budgeting point of view because you’ll want to leave some headroom for additional, unexpected expenses.
Is there anything else I need to budget for?
Something many people don’t think to budget for are the removal and cleaning costs involved with selling a house. The removal rates you’ll be charged will depend on your location, destination and size of house.
If you want to hire the vehicles yourself and do everything with family and friends, you could pay as little as £150 a day for transit or Luton van rental. If you want a full removal team to move you to the other side of the country, it’s always best to connect with the experts directly so they can give you a bespoke quotation for your consideration.
If you’re packing and loading everything yourself then you can expect to pay in the region of £200 for boxes, bubble wrap, tape and other packing materials. This will be enough to load up the average 3-bed family house, so you’ll want to add that to your budget sooner rather than later. Cleaning is also something that can get forgotten, especially if you’re moving on a deadline.
A local cleaning company will charge in the region of £10 per hour and could fully deep clean an average 3-bed property in 6-8 hours once all the furniture has been removed. Booking them in for the day after you move out so they can have a clear run at things would be the best approach.
Now that we’ve covered all the basics involved in selling, it’s over to you to start drawing up a detailed budget that allows you to plan the smart way. Do it step by step and before you know it you’ll be holding the keys to your new house in the palm of your hand!