How to save money on a house move

House prices are continually on the rise, making it harder and harder for first-time buyers, but there are other, easily-forgettable costs which are piling up just as quickly. A recent study from Lloyds Bank showed that the moving costs themselves are getting more expensive, going up by 9% to nearly £11,000 this year.

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This means after years of saving for a mortgage deposit, movers still may not be able to afford to leave their likely-overpriced rented digs. So if the moving can cost nearly as much as the house, what can you do to save on a house move?

Shop around for removal firms

There’s nothing to stop you from move what you can by yourself, apart from the effort, time and general bother. Still, clear that first hurdle, and you can easily hire a smaller removal van, which can transport the bulk of your goods at a lower price. Yet, given the wealth of choice and the impending exasperation of the whole moving process, it’s understandably tempting to just use the first removal company you find in the phonebook or, more likely, on that modern phonebook known as the Internet.

Think of it as if you were a foodie; you’re hungry, but you can’t be bothered to cook anything new for yourself, so what do you do? Scan TripAdvisor to find the best reviewed, and therefore most delicious, place to eat. The same applies to people moving house (movies?)—once you’ve hit your limit on packing boxes and loading cars, shop around for the most effective and reliable removal firm. There has been a recent rise in comparison sites like AnyVan, which show users the most affordable removal services in your area, and are sorted based on reviews and ratings.

Find a lower-fee estate agent

Estate agent fees are the main culprit behind the high cost of moving house, so make sure you do what you can to bring them down. The fees, I mean, not estate agents. Otherwise we’d all be glorified squatters. The HomeOwners Alliance says more expensive estate agents are not necessarily better, so there is no need to worry about lower prices being shorthand for shoddy service.

If your dream house is exclusive to one particular agency, make sure you haggle to bring the fees to an absolute minimum. If this doesn’t work, the least you can do is ask these clever questions to find out exactly what the estate agent plans to charge you, as sometimes their fees can seem to come out of nowhere.

Think carefully about where you’re moving

If you’ve ever seen an episode of Escape To The Country, you’ll know that house prices can vary depending on where you are in, well, the country. For example, you may have heard that prices are pretty steep in the capital at the moment. Lloyds Bank’s research found that moving in London can cost up to £31,000, a 68% rise over the past 10 years. So where should you move to if you can’t afford to pay what is possibly your entire salary up front? Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland—anywhere that isn’t England, basically. These places have seen almost no increase in the cost of moving since 2006, meaning moving to these areas should be relatively cheap, as long as you keep all of these other factors in mind.

Don’t forget the legal fees

Useful advice if you are buying a house or if you are on trial, which hopefully you won’t be if you pay your legal moving fees. But freedom doesn’t come cheap. If your house costs over £125,000 you will have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax—a price levied on expensive properties. The amount of Stamp Duty increases in line with the cost of your house, but it never reaches more than 12%.

Even if your house costs a measly £124,999.99, you won’t have to pay Stamp Duty, but you’ll still have to get a licensed conveyancer to handle the legal formalities involved in a house purchase, such as transferring deeds and leaseholds. The key thing to remember is that, much like a grand, licensed conveyancers don’t come for free. So much like with removal firms, shop around to find best value conveyancer for your budget.