What is the true cost of selling a house? What do estate agents charge? How about solcitors? And are there ways you can save money? These are some of the many questions sellers have when looking to move on. We look at these questions and more in our latest blog.

Selling can be a headache

cost of selling a houseThinking about selling a house can daunting. There are so many things that can cause worry before you even think about where you may move to next.

Usually, people use an estate agent to organise their sale. While there are many online estate agents these days offering to sell for just £800, sellers still often prefer to use a traditional ‘high street’ agent, working from a fixed office. Perhaps this is because there is a level of local trust. High street agents’ fees are usually higher than an online agent, However, their services tend to be more complete in helping the seller. For example they can really help in the event that you have a failed house chain. Here their exeprience can prove invaluable.

But according to consumer advice service Which? high street agents’ fees may be as much as £3,500 for the average property. Or perhaps even more.

Late in 2019, Which? released a report into the true cost of selling a house in the UK. Their report included a table of various costs a seller would face when they put their house on the market. They based their research on a house for sale at £234,853, the average price for a house in Britain last August. And they found that estate agents would charge £3,593 (based on a 1.5% fee including VAT).

The strangest thing is that there is a wide variation in the amount estate agents will charge. Ultimately it depends on the size of your house, location and the services you want.

Advice website moneysavingexpert.com also found selling fees can be steep. In their recent guide to selling a property, the website found estate agents’ fees ranged from £2,034 to as much as £8,136, based on a property worth £226,000.

Selling your house yourself

Rather than use an estate agent, some people may take a ‘DIY’ route and market their house themselves. While this could mean large savings, it creates a lot of work. Moneysavingexpert.com advises: “One downside to private selling is that you can’t advertise on PrimeLocation, Rightmove or Zoopla. Unless you already have a private buyer lined up, you need to advertise your property yourself.”

People who choose ‘DIY’ selling need to use their local networks, websites, social media and conventional advertising. But, let’s be honest. Do you really have the time, knowledge and energy to sell your house like this?

Dealing with solicitors

Hiring a solicitor, or licenced conveyancer, is another fixed cost of selling a house. The Which? guide found conveyancing (legal) fees ranged from £400-£1,870.

To reduce fees, moneysavingexpert.com says don’t automatically use the estate agent’s recommended solicitor. Get at least four quotes, use the Law Society’s ‘find a solicitor’ tool and don’t feel you have to use a local solicitor. Use the web to research the best price and service for you.

Another tip is not to rush into using a solicitor who offers a rock bottom price. Yes, solicitors can often be pricey. But there’s usually a reason if they offer very low prices.

The hidden costs of selling a house

Don’t overlook other expenses when you add up the cost of selling a house. These days, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a must. These rate each building in levels of energy efficiency from highly efficient to inefficient. Each certificate is valid for 10 years.

This article in the Evening Standard Homes & Property guide provides some advice on EPCs. An EPC will cost between £50-£100 depending on location, something else to think about.

Hiring a removal firm can also hit you in the wallet. While you could pack up your own house, hire a van and make the move yourself, this is heavy, tiring work. The Which? research, updated last year, found removal companies cost between from as little as £45o up to £1,440 for the average sized house.

Smaller, ‘man with a van’ outfits should cost less than bigger, more corporate movers. But check your removals team is professional, well insured and can meet your needs.

Another way of selling your house

If you’re worried about the cost of selling a house, there is an alternative. This could be ideal if you simply want to make a quick sale and move on.

Cash house buying companies have been around for some years and offer a fast way of selling your house. They remove the hassle we’ve written about above and can cut the cost of selling a house. Some will make you a cash offer within just 24 hours and you could complete a full sale within 28 days.

But do take care when you choose a company that can buy your house. Not all may be quite what they seem. Some may not actually have the finances to buy your house.
A good house buying company should treat its customers fairly. It should be open and transparent throughout the selling process.

Look for one that charges no estate agent fees and pays for your legal fees. A cash house buyer should be regulated by the Property Redress Scheme and have signed up to the Trading Standards Approved code. Take the time to look at what their customers have said about them, too.

In summary

For most people selling a house is something that only happens every once in a while. With this in mind it makes sense that you take the time to research the whole process and work towards ensuring you have the best agent, solicitor and removals firm in place. If you have any questions regarding just how quick you could sell your property simply contact one of our team.

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