The cost of selling a house: a guide

Estate agent fees are just one of the costs you’ll face when selling your home. Let’s take a look at some of the others.

Estate agent fees are just one of the costs you’ll face when selling your home. Let’s take a look at some of the others.

Daniel Evans
Mortgages expert
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Last Updated 12 MAY 2022

What are the main costs of selling a home?

There are many costs when you sell your home, including:

  • Estate agent fees
  • Conveyancing fees
  • Energy Performance Certificate
  • Removal costs

Estate agent fees

When selling a home, estate agent fees are often the biggest expense. Typically a high street estate agent will charge you anything between 0.75% and 3% of your home’s sale price. The rate varies depending on the value of your property.

Online estate agents can often be much cheaper and typically offer a fixed-fee service rather than a percentage commission. This could range anywhere from £0 to £999 (or more if you’re selling in London). However, you’ll usually be expected to pay the fee upfront.

If you opt for an online agent to keep the costs down, make sure the package includes what you need, as these can vary considerably. Some offer no sale, no fee packages or add-on ‘hybrid’ services, such as accompanied viewings, which could increase the cost.

The most basic packages, at the very least, should include:

  • Photography
  • Floor plans
  • Advertising on the biggest house-selling platforms, for example. Rightmove and Zoopla
  • A ‘For Sale’ board, which they’ll put up for you

Conveyancing fees

Conveyancing covers the legal services involved in the transfer of land and property from one person to another. A solicitor or a licensed conveyancer is tasked with this process, which includes the exchange of contracts after a sale’s been agreed. Conveyancing fees could range between £850 and £1,500.

You should compare your options with care when choosing your estate agent and conveyancer – try to find out how long these individuals have been doing the job for and look for credible reviews online. Your estate agent may recommend someone to do your conveyancing, but you don’t have to go with the person they suggest.

In England and Wales, the process of conveyancing is managed differently than it is in Scotland. Read our guide to conveyancing to find out more.

Energy Performance Certificate

If you don’t already have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), you’ll need to get one before you can legally sell your home on the market.

An EPC has information about how energy-efficient your property is and the typical energy costs you should pay. Your estate agent can arrange for an accredited assessor to come to your home or you could choose your own provider.

There’s no fixed fee for an EPC. The cost depends on factors like the type of property you own and the number of bedrooms it has. You should expect to be charged anywhere between £35 to £120 for this service. Your EPC will remain valid for 10 years. To see if you already have an EPC, visit the energy certificate page on the UK Government website.

Removal costs

Removal costs can vary considerably, depending on the size of your house, how many belongings you want moved, how far you’re going and the type of service you want. Fees could range anywhere from £300 to well over £1,000.

If you want to keep the costs down or don’t have many belongings, you might want to opt for a basic service where you do the packing yourself. A full removals service, which typically includes packing materials, packing and unpacking, dismantling and re-assembly, will cost a lot more. Some firms also provide storage facilities if you’re not moving straight into your new home.

Most removals companies will also include insurance, but this can often be very limited regarding the level of protection they offer. Check whether your home insurance includes house removals or contents temporarily away from home cover – if not, you may want to add the extra cover to your contents insurance.

Unexpected fees

To ensure you know what to expect when dealing with any professionals who are helping you to sell your home, always ask for details of any fees upfront to avoid nasty surprises later in the process. Always check if any prices you are quoted include VAT too.

Get in touch on a regular basis with anyone who’s involved in selling your home, and keep copies (with dates) of any correspondence you have with them throughout the selling process. Be sure to include notes of any phone conversations you have, as these could come in handy if there’s a dispute later on.

Capital gains tax

There are times when you may have to pay capital gains tax on any profit you make from selling your property. Typically, you don’t need to pay this tax at the time you sell your home because you can claim private residence relief on any profit you make.

The times when you might be liable to pay capital gains tax are:

  • If you’ve let out your home to tenants – at any time during which you’ve owned it.
  • Selling a second home – for example, a rental property, holiday let or a place you bought for someone else to live in.
  • If you sell a property after you’ve inherited it.

Are there any other costs I need to consider?

There are a couple of other potential costs you should think about before putting your house on the market:

Preparing your house for sale

If you want to get the best price for your home, you should consider a few home improvements before putting it on the market. The costs involved in preparing your house for sale will vary depending on how much work needs to be done. This could range anywhere from a quick lick of paint to a full-blown roof replacement.

And if something crops up in the home survey, it’s likely your buyers may want to re-negotiate the price or ask you to fix the problem before they go ahead with the purchase.

Early mortgage repayment charges

If you sell your home while your current mortgage is still outstanding, you may be liable for an early repayment charge (ERC) under the terms of your mortgage agreement. This is likely to be the case if you’re still within the terms of a low-interest or fixed-rate mortgage.

An ERC is typically between 1% and 5% of the outstanding mortgage balance. The amount you’ll be charged usually depends on how close you are to the end of your mortgage term. The cost could run into thousands of pounds, so it’s something you should look into before you decide to put your home on the market.

If you want to avoid paying an ERC, you might want to see if you can port your mortgage – this means moving your existing mortgage to your new property. Whether you’ll avoid an ERC or be allowed to port your mortgage, depends on your provider and mortgage arrangement.

Your current provider may also be willing to waive the ERC if you re-mortgage with them instead of switching to another lender. Again, this depends on your provider and the terms of your mortgage agreement.

And remember, if you’re buying as well as selling, there will be separate costs that you will need to take into account – such as survey fees, legal fees, stamp duty and any costs related to getting a mortgage for your new property, if you need one.

Mortgage fees: porting vs re-mortgaging

If you’re on a particularly good deal with a low interest rate, it might be worth porting your mortgage if your lender allows it (most do).

If you’re looking to upsize to a more expensive property, you may need to apply for an increase to your existing mortgage. Or your lender may insist that you take out a separate loan for the extra amount – so you’re essentially paying for two mortgages. This will mean another round of arrangement fees to pay and, quite possibly, a higher interest rate.

Depending on your situation and the costs involved, it might make more financial sense to re-mortgage to a new deal, either with your current provider or another lender. Just remember, you’ll have to factor in the exit fee, arrangement and valuation fees for your new mortgage.

At this point it would be best to get expert advice from a mortgage adviser. They’ll help you do the sums and work out which option would be the most cost-effective.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

Expert mortgage advice

Our partners London & Country Mortgages Ltd (L&C)** offer fee-free, expert mortgage advice. They’ll do the sums and help you work out the best financial option for your needs.

**London & Country Mortgages Ltd (L&C) are a multi-award-winning mortgage broker with over 20 years’ experience in helping people secure their perfect mortgage. Advice is provided by L&C, who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (143002). L&C are not part of Compare the Market Limited. Compare the Market receive a % of the commission that our partner London & Country earns. All applications are subject to lending and eligibility criteria.

L&C will not charge you a broker fee should you decide to proceed with a mortgage.

Go to L&C mortgages

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to sell a house?

Buying or selling a home typically takes between two and three months. The process can take longer though, so make sure you plan well for the worst – properties that are being sold as part of a chain could take longer than three months. Unfortunately, these might fall through for a number of reasons – for example, if a buyer’s finances aren’t in order.

Find out more about the selling process in our step-by-step guide to selling your home.

What else should I consider when moving home?

Selling up and moving home can be stressful and costly, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead and get organised before you move out.

Among other steps, don’t forget to:

  • Sort out home insurance for your new place
  • Look around for a new energy deal
  • Find out what broadband deals are available at your new address
  • See if it’s worth changing your mobile phone deal if, for example, you can now get 5G or you are moving to or from a mobile blackspot
  • Update your car insurance – if you forget to tell your insurance provider that you’ve moved, your policy will be void and you’ll no longer be covered.

Our home movers hub can give you an idea of what you could be paying for bills in your new home.

Use our handy checklist for moving home to help you stay organised in the run up to moving day.

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