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What are the costs of selling a home?

What are the costs of selling a home?  

For those who have little experience in selling a house, learning about the additional costs that are often associated with the process can turn the situation into a cost-prohibitive nightmare. But what are the costs of selling a home?

What costs are involved with selling a home? ­­­­­

There are three main costs that most vendors will find themselves being responsible for before a sale can take place.

Of course, depending on the circumstances there are likely to be other charges that are entirely dependent upon your situation but nearly all sellers will find themselves enlisting the services of the following:

An estate agent will be the first port of call for many sellers, acting as a hub of information in an effort to guide you through the house-selling process2. While estate agents tend not to be thought of very highly by many – due to the publicity surrounding the immoral behaviour of a small percentage of agents who try to make a quick buck – the majority of agents are trustworthy individuals who specialise in helping venders sell their home fast in their chosen area3.

While there are numerous national agencies who offer ‘region-specific’ representatives who are marketed as experts, it can often be very hard to prove the credentials of these individuals- whereas most local independent agents have managed to stay in business over the years due to a strong reputation and repeated recommendations within the local community2.

Estate agents are used by over 95% of sellers2 and are – more often than not – paid by the seller as a percentage of the selling fee, usually between 0.75% and 2.5% (plus VAT), but usually around 1.5% (plus VAT) 1. So, for a £150,000 house, the fee would be £2,250.

This system works well for agents and sellers alike as the less valuable a house is, the cheaper the estate agent fee. This approach is made all the more intriguing thanks to the prevalence of agents today who will only charge a vender if an actual sale is achieved1.

Of course, no buyer in their right mind would consider buying a house unless they had access to the full legal details of the house. This is why buyers will always find themselves contacting a solicitor or conveyancer, who are able to carry out searches for legal documentation that will help them to buy with confidence4.

As a seller, however, you will also need to pay legal fees to a legal representative to make sure that there the sale is carried out in the correct manner5. Conveyancing, however, is an extremely competitive sector and there have, in recent years, been a rising number of complaints from consumers regarding both the level of honesty and quality of service provided by less reputable firms1.

An independent property expert is likely to advise you to contact an independent solicitor or conveyancer directly, not to solely rely on the advice of a lender or estate agents5. While it is a grey area from a legal perspective, there are many examples of companies providing kickbacks to one another in an effort to corner the market6.

Once hired, a solicitor or conveyancer will guide you through the following documentation once you have accepted an offer on your home:

  • The TA6 form that will detail all an information that could affect the value of the property in the future including contact details, boundaries, disputes, complaints, proposed developments and existing utility access7.
  • The preparation of information related to the status of the title-deed – i.e. whether it is freehold or leasehold. If your home is leasehold, however, be prepared to pay a higher fee due to the extra administrative work. This information is included in either a TA7 or TA9 form7.
  • The TA10 form will detail what is and what isn’t included in a sale. This can include fixed appliances such as ovens and fridges7.
  • The TA13 form details everything related to the finalisation of the transaction including a declaration that the buyer will not inherit any claims for liability, and when the contracts will be signed, and the keys handed over7.

As mentioned earlier, it is often a good idea to hire and pay for independent conveyancer fees for this service, likely to be in the region of £500£1000 (inclusive of VAT) 1.

One of the most important figures to identify while attempting to sell a house is the most suitable asking price. While many estate agents will be able to provide you a ballpark estimate, this figure can be heavily affected by features that may only be obvious to a chartered surveyor.

Ignoring the advice of a surveyor and prioritising your estate agent’s estimate is never a good idea as estate agents may overstate the value of your home in order to gain your business, making your home harder to sell and costing your more in the long run.

A chartered surveyor uses various methods of arrive upon an asking price that is reasonable given the current market conditions. It is somewhat unsurprising therefore that there are occasions when a seller is upset that their home has not increased in value as they expected8.

The methods employed by a surveyor will include, but are not limited to:

  • Evaluating nearby sold house prices by comparing the house with similar properties in the same area that have recently sold9.
  • A structural report that will relay any information that could affect the value of the home. These can include the presence of dampness, structural movement and subsidence, as well as the condition of the roof and its supporting structure9.
  • The study of maintenance and upkeep that has been invested in the property9.
  • The value of, and quality of an extension9.

It is also important to state that a surveyor is not responsible for unidentified faults that are inaccessible. A quality surveyor of experience, however, is likely to mention possible issues that could be present based on the other information they have gathered.

Luckily for a seller, the cost of a valuation is much less than the costs of a Homebuyers Report – which is likely to be commissioned by a potential buyer1.

While certain independent surveyors will provide a fixed fee valuation, most jobs will be quoted for based on the value of the property – so expect to pay anything between £150 for a smaller home, up to £1,500 for a larger equivalent1.

Who pays stamp duty when selling a house?

Thankfully, stamp duty is not a cost that is attributed to the seller. Stamp duty is effectively a tax on the preparation of documents related to a house sale and is only relevant for a buyer who is buying a house worth more that £125,00010.

Is there any tax to pay when selling a home?

The necessity of a tax payment is entirely down to the situation of the individual who is selling.

The only tax that may need paying – other than VAT for employed services – is Capital Gains tax, and is a tax imposed on the rise in value of your house during your time of ownership11. This tax is not payable if the following applies to you:

  • The house being sold is the only home you own, and it has been your main residence since your purchased it11.
  • It has not been split and let out (this does not include a lodger, or roommate) 11.
  • It has not been used solely as business premises11.
  • The entire grounds (including all buildings) are less than 5,000m2 in area11.
  • It was bought solely to be flipped for financial gains in the short-term and not a residence11.

If these conditions do not apply to you, then you can enjoy Private Residence Relief and there is no charge11.

What are the other costs involved with selling a home?

Rather annoyingly – as many with experience of selling will be aware – there can be smaller costs that the seller is liable for, and these can often add up:

Energy Performance Certificate fees

An Energy Performance Certificate is a small survey that focuses on the environmental impact of your home. Brought into law on 1st August 200712, an EPC is carried out by an individual known as a Domestic Energy Assessor who uses software to give a house a score out of 100 based on its construction type, heating systems, loft and wall insulation, secondary heating appliances and glazing standards12.

When these certificates were introduced, a survey was likely to cost in the region of £120 (plus VAT), but as many estate agents have an individual on staff with the qualifications to perform the survey, the cost can often be as low as £30 to £40, and a generous agent will likely waive the fee. It is also worth noting that if an EPC has been performed in the preceding ten years, and there have been no structural changes that would affect its environmental impact for better or worse, then an EPC is not required12.

Removal fees

A seller can often be forgiven for forgetting to include the cost of removals into the house-selling equation as the focus required to obtain a sale makes the need to physically move your belongings a distant second priority.

Luckily, removal companies are a dime a dozen and tend to be experts at moving large items at high speeds with no damage. While you may occasionally hear about an individual hiring a van for the day and employing a few friends to help them out – for the sake of avoiding stress, most people will hire specialists.

Of course, the cost associated with removals varies on the amount of time needed to shift all your possessions. If you travel light, you will find yourself paying a little as £250, but if you plan on bringing your extensive collection of 1800s oak furniture., however, you could find yourself paying as much as £4,000 to £5,0001 – or sometimes even more.

Mortgage fees

If you have an existing mortgage, the chances are high that your lender will hope to keep your custom by allowing you to switch your mortgage to your new house with minimal stress. If you have found a more competitive quote for a mortgage from another lender on your new house, on the other hand, you will most likely find yourselves having to pay your original lender a mortgage exit fee13. This charge can often be contested but is predominantly in the region of £50£3001 depending on the small print in your original mortgage contract.

General cleaning fees

You didn’t think someone would buy your house without a little tidy-up, did you? As with so many purchases, the first taste is in the eye, and a messy home can often deter even the most enthusiastic buyer.

Yes, you can hire a team of cleaners for the day – and no-one will judge you if you do – but if you’re willing to put in a little elbow-grease, this is one part of a house sale that you can save money on.

So, how much does it really cost to sell a house in the UK?

Ultimately, the process of a house sale can be more expensive than many of us are led to believe. It is for this reason that so many sellers are so stubborn to listen to an agent advise them to lower their asking price – every penny counts.

There are, of course, many ways to avoid these costs – such as selling a house directly yourself instead of enlisting the services of an agent, or even carrying out removals and cleaning services themselves. But for the sake of ease, many vendors will pay for these services merely to avoid the accompanying stress – and the stress of needing to sell, especially when time is of the essence can often be too much to bear.

If you do need to sell your home in a short time frame, however, it is important to know the alternative ways available to you, and one of the fastest growing options for those who do not have the time to engage in the traditional house selling process is via the use of house buying companies such as National Homebuyers.

House-buying companies do not need to rely on lenders like an average buyer, and use their capital to purchase your home for cash directly, with many transactions completed within two weeks from the first point of contact, meaning that there is no waiting around for viewings, no charges for valuations or estate agents, and more importantly – a fast house sale.

House-buying companies are also a great option for those who simply can not sell their home due to construction or location-based issues, helping those who have struggled to find a buyer in the past.

Would you prefer to avoid the costs associated with selling a home? Why not ask National Homebuyers for advice, as we buy any house. Call 08000 443 911 or request a call back to find out how much you could get for your property before it’s too late.

Sources:

1 Brazg, G. (2018). Complete Guide: The Cost of Selling a House. Available: https://www.theadvisory.co.uk/house-selling/cost-of-selling-a-house/. Last accessed 10th Nov 2019.

2 Woollsey, N. (2018). How to choose an estate agent. Available: https://moneyfacts.co.uk/mortgages/guides/how-to-choose-an-estate-agent/. Last accessed 10th Nov 2019.

3 Cheek, N. (2011). Are estate agents really that bad? Available: https://conversation.which.co.uk/money/estate-agents-bad-trust/. Last accessed 10th Nov 2019.

4 What Mortgage. (2018). Top five tips for choosing your conveyancer. Available: https://www.whatmortgage.co.uk/feature/top-five-tips-choosing-conveyancer/. Last accessed 10th Nov 2019.

5 Anon. (2015). Conveyancing process explained for sellers. Available: https://hoa.org.uk/advice/guides-for-homeowners/i-am-selling/conveyancing-made-simple-for-sellers/. Last accessed 10th Nov 2019.

6 Kirkman, W. (2018). Is your property lawyer getting a kickback? New rules force conveyancers to disclose referral fees. Available: https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-6218909/Solicitors-referred-estate-agents-arent-telling-clients-paid-recommended.html. Last accessed 10th Nov 2019.

7 Cheung, C. (2019). Conveyancing. Available: https://www.which.co.uk/money/mortgages-and-property/first-time-buyers/buying-a-home/conveyancing-ag3rw2q052kz. Last accessed 10th Nov 2019.

8 RICS. (2019). The myth of ‘down valuation’ – does it truly exist?. Available: https://www.ricsfirms.com/glossary/the-myth-of-down-valuation-does-it-truly-exist/. Last accessed 10th Nov 2019.

9 McNulty, F. (2018). Legal Q&A: How does a surveyor value a property? Available: https://www.homesandproperty.co.uk/property-news/legal-qa/how-does-a-surveyor-value-a-property-a122566.html. Last accessed 10th Nov 2019.

10 Admin. (2019). Stamp Duty: The basics. Available: https://www.postoffice.co.uk/mortgages/stamp-duty. Last accessed 10th Nov 2019.

11 Government. (2019). Private Residence Relief – Capital Gains Tax when you sell your home. Available: https://www.gov.uk/tax-sell-home. Last accessed 10th Nov 2019.

12 Government. (2019). Buying or selling your home – Energy Performance Certificates. Available: https://www.gov.uk/buy-sell-your-home/energy-performance-certificates. Last accessed 10th Nov 2019

13 Maundrell, H. (2018). Can you reclaim your mortgage exit fees? Available: https://www.money.co.uk/guides/can-you-reclaim-your-mortgage-exit-fees.htm. Last accessed 10th Nov 2019.

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