Process and costs of moving home

New horizons, fresh challenges: moving home can be an exciting time in anyone's life. But it's costly too, so it makes sense to know what you're letting yourself in for. Moving to a new home in retirement needn't be daunting, as long as you understand the costs and keep a firm hand on your finances.

Costs of moving home

How much does it cost to move home?

Moving house can be an exciting prospect, but as you reach later life it’s going to bring some fresh challenges as well. If you’re selling up to downsize, you’ll probably need to consider getting rid of any furniture that won’t fit in your home. If you’ve never tidied your attic, clearing it could be hard work in itself. So, here are some of the costs to consider when thinking about selling up and buying a new home:

Legal fees

You will need to pay a solicitor or conveyancer to carry out the legal work when buying and/or selling a property. They will perform local searches, which will cost you £250 - £300 and check whether there are any issues with your onwards property, if you have one. On top of this, the legal fees are typically £850 to £1500, including VAT at 20%. 

Stamp duty

This is a government tax payable on increasing portions of the property price above £125,000 when you buy a residential property. How much you pay will depend on the value of your home as there are different bands dependent on the property value. It can be anything from up to 2% (for homes worth £125,001 to £250,000) to up to 12% for anything worth more than £1.5 million. There are different rules if you’re buying your first home and the purchase price is £500,000 or less.

You’ll usually have to pay 3% on top of the normal stamp duty rates if buying a new residential property means you’ll own more than one. You can find out more about this on the GOV.UK website. 

Estate agent’s fee

When you market your house, you’ll generally need an estate agent’s help. They typically charge anything from 1-3% of your final sale price, plus 20% VAT.

Removal costs

Unless you get help from friends or family, it’s likely you’ll need a professional removals firm or even a storage company, depending on your circumstances. Typically, removal firms can charge anything from £300 - £600, although you’ll usually pay more to move on a weekend or at the end of a month.


If you need to get a mortgage on the property you are buying, there could be additional costs – such as arrangement and valuation fees.

This is just a snapshot of what you could have to pay if you decide to sell. What you finally pay out could depend on where you’re moving to.

For example, will you need a survey on a new property? Are you moving far away? Many people decide to move abroad and this can bring additional costs with it.

Some people have to move because of health issues as they get older. You can learn more about the costs associated with care and retirement homes here.

No one likes surprises. And the costs of moving can soon add up, so it’s helpful to know that you have thought of everything. To give you a good indication of how much moving house is likely to cost you, why not check out this cost of moving calculator.

Useful websites