The Hidden Costs of Selling Your Home

From conveyancing to removal expenses, selling your house can be an expensive business. The average selling price of a house in the UK is currently just under £250,000 and even at this fairly modest level, the charges can really mount up. To help you plan your budget, we take a look at some of the hidden costs you could expect when selling your property, including:

• Home improvement costs
• Estate agency fees
• Costs of conveyancing or solicitor’s fees
• Stamp duty or Land and Buildings Transaction Tax
• For Scottish sellers, a Home Report
• Energy Performance Certificate
• Removal costs

Home improvements

Before you put your property on the market, you should prioritise any half-completed renovations such as the kitchen or bathroom: work in progress is almost certain to reduce the desirability of your property, and the price you can achieve. It also pays to take a careful look at your home from a buyer’s perspective to spot ways in which you can give it that ”kerb appeal”. This could be anything from a lick of paint for the front door to replacing a tired carpet in the living areas. It’s not possible to give an average figure for these expenses but you should certainly factor them into your calculations.

Estate agent fees

One major cost is the fee you pay to your estate agent. Typically, this can vary from between 1% to 3% of the total sale price of your property, according to YOPA, although we have heard of sellers paying as much as 4%. However, many estate agents have a minimum fee that they charge for lower value properties, so if you are selling a modest flat in an area where property is cheap, for example, you might end up paying an even higher percentage price than this. Don’t forget to add on VAT if this is not automatically included – it’s currently charged at 20%, so a 1.5% fee excluding VAT will actually be 1.8% once it’s added in. If you are selling a house s for £225,000, you are likely to be forking out just over £4,000 in estate agent fees, assuming a commission rate at 1.5% inclusive of VAT.

So what exactly do you receive for this money? In most cases, you should be provided with:
• Professional photos
• An accurate market valuation
• A floor plan
• Marketing and listing on property websites such as Zoopla or Rightmove
• Additional marketing, including emails and flyers
• Negotiating the best price
• Accompanying prospective buyers on visits

This sounds like quite a lot but bear in mind that some estate agents may add on extra charges for specific services such as glossy brochures or – if they are an online estate agent – accompanied viewings.

Solicitor or conveyancer fees

Conveyancing is the legal part of the house selling/buying process. You have three options for conveyancing:
• A solicitor
• A conveyancer
• You can even do the conveyancing yourself, although because of money laundering regulations and the fact that you are not insured if anything should go amiss, not many sellers choose to go down this route

Because property transactions can differ greatly as to the finer details, conveyancing fees also vary widely but usually range between £500 to £1500. This can also vary depending on whether you are being charged a flat rate or a percentage of the sale price.

EPC or Energy Performance Certificate

Nearly everyone selling a property is legally required to provide the buyer with an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate), which will confirm the energy-efficiency rating of the house being sold. Your property will be rated on a scale which ranges from A (the most efficient) to G (the least efficient). An EPC will be provided by an approved domestic energy assessor: the typical charge will be between £50 to £120 – so it pays to shop around for the best price.

Costs of removal

Whether you are moving your own belongings to another property or clearing a house ready for its new owners, you will need to consider removal costs. The cheapest way is to do this yourself, perhaps by hiring a van and asking friends and family to help, but for various reasons, this is very often not feasible. The fees charged by professional removal firms vary enormously so it pays to do a little research and obtain quotes from several companies.