What Fees Do You Pay When Selling A House?

RAH Blog
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5 May 2023
by Redmayne Arnold and Harris

Selling a house is an exciting but complex process that involves various fees and costs, and it's essential to clearly understand these expenses to ensure you are financially prepared and can make informed decisions. From estate agent fees and solicitor fees to EPC costs, removal or storage costs, CGT, and potential additional expenses for repairs, renovations, and marketing, navigating the fees associated with selling a house can be overwhelming.

This guide will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the fees and costs you may encounter when selling your house. We will discuss the different types of fees, how they are calculated, potential additional expenses, and the importance of budgeting and planning. With this knowledge, you can confidently approach the selling process and avoid any financial surprises along the way.

Estate Agent Fees

When selling a house, one of the primary costs you'll encounter is estate agent fees. Estate agents act as intermediaries between you, the seller, and potential buyers, helping you market and sell your property. Estate agent fees typically consist of a commission based on a percentage of the sale price and marketing costs.

The typical percentage-based commission for estate agent fees ranges from 1% to 1.5% of the final sale price. However, it can vary depending on the location and value of the property, as well as the specific services provided by the estate agent. For instance, in prime London areas, estate agent fees can be higher, while in more affordable regions, they may be lower. It's essential to clarify the commission rate with the estate agent upfront and understand how it will be calculated based on the final sale price.

In addition to the commission, estate agents may charge marketing costs, including expenses such as professional photography, floor plans, virtual tours, advertising, and other promotional materials. These costs are typically in addition to the commission and can vary depending on the marketing strategy and level of exposure you want for your property.

Remember that the lowest commission rate doesn't necessarily translate into the best service or results. It's essential to consider the reputation, experience, and track record of the estate agent, their marketing approach and their network of potential buyers.

Solicitor or Conveyancer Fees

A solicitor or conveyancer fees typically consist of legal and administrative costs associated with the sale process. Legal costs may include services such as handling title deeds, reviewing contracts, conducting property searches, and preparing legal documents. Administrative costs may cover tasks such as liaising with the buyer's solicitor, managing the exchange of contracts, and transferring funds.

The fees charged by solicitors or conveyancers can vary depending on factors such as the transaction's complexity, the property's location, and the services provided. It's essential to obtain multiple quotes from different solicitors or conveyancers and compare their fees to ensure a fair and competitive price. Be sure to ask for a detailed breakdown of the fees and any additional charges to understand what you're paying for clearly.

In addition to the basic legal and administrative costs, there may be additional charges that you need to be aware of. For example, search fees are typically incurred for property searches such as local authority, environmental, drainage and water searches. Land registry fees may also apply for registering the sale of your property with the Land Registry.

Budgeting for solicitor or conveyancer fees and any additional charges associated with their services when selling your house is essential. Obtaining multiple quotes, comparing fees, and understanding the breakdown of costs can help you make an informed decision and ensure that you're getting the best value for your money while safeguarding the legal aspects of the sale process.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Costs

EPC costs can vary depending on factors such as the size and location of your property and the assessor you choose. The cost of an EPC is typically a one-time fee, and there are no ongoing costs associated with it. The qualified assessor's rates usually determine the price for an EPC, and obtaining quotes from different assessors to compare prices is essential.

When obtaining an EPC, it's crucial to ensure that the assessor is qualified and accredited. EPC assessments can only be conducted by qualified assessors registered with an approved accreditation scheme, such as the Energy Performance Certificate Register. It's essential to check the assessor's credentials and ask for proof of their accreditation to ensure you get a valid and reliable EPC.

EPCs have a validity period of 10 years, so if you've obtained an EPC for your property in the past, you may not need to get a new one if it's still valid. However, suppose you've made significant changes to your property that could affect its energy efficiency, such as installing insulation or upgrading heating systems. In that case, obtaining a new EPC is advisable to reflect your property's updated energy performance.

It's worth considering that the energy efficiency rating of your property, as indicated in the EPC, can impact potential buyers. A low EPC rating may deter potential buyers or affect the value of your property, as it indicates higher energy consumption and running costs. In some cases, improving the energy efficiency of your property, such as installing insulation or upgrading heating systems, may be necessary to increase its marketability and achieve a higher sale price. However, it's essential to weigh the potential costs of improvements against the potential benefits and seek professional advice if needed.

Removal or Storage Costs

There are different removal or storage services options, ranging from full-service removals to self-pack and self-move options. Full-service removals typically involve a removals company packing, transporting, and unpacking your belongings, while self-pack and self-move options require you to pack and transport your items yourself. The costs for removal or storage services can vary significantly depending on the level of service you choose.

When budgeting for removal or storage costs, it's essential to consider factors that can affect the cost. For example, the distance of the move can impact the cost, with longer distances generally costing more. The volume of items to be moved, including furniture, appliances, and personal belongings, can also affect the cost, with larger volumes generally resulting in higher costs. Additionally, the timing of the move, such as moving during peak seasons or weekends, can impact the cost of removal or storage services.

To effectively manage removal or storage costs, planning and obtaining multiple quotes from different removal or storage companies is advisable. Comparing quotes can help you find the best deal for your budget and needs. When getting quotes, provide accurate information about the volume of items to be moved, the move's distance, and the movement's timing to receive accurate estimates.

It's also important to carefully review the terms and conditions of the removal or storage contract, including any additional charges or insurance coverage. Some removal or storage companies may charge extra fees for packing materials, packing services, or insurance, so it's essential to be aware of these potential costs upfront.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

CGT is a tax on the profit made from selling an asset, such as a property, that has increased in value since it was purchased. Understanding CGT and planning for potential liabilities can help you effectively manage this expense and avoid unexpected tax bills.

CGT may apply when you sell a property, not your main residences, such as a second home, rental property, or investment property. If the property has increased in value since you acquired it, you may be subject to CGT on the gain or profit made from the sale.

The rates for CGT depend on your overall income and the type of property being sold. For residential properties, the basic rate for CGT is 18% for individuals with lower incomes and 28% for individuals with higher incomes. For non-residential properties, the rates are 10% and 20%, respectively.

Several factors can affect the amount of CGT payable, such as the purchase price, sale price, allowable deductions, and other exemptions or reliefs. For example, certain costs associated with buying, improving, or selling the property may be deductible, reducing the overall CGT liability. Understanding these factors and seeking professional tax advice is essential to calculate your CGT liability accurately.

Planning for potential CGT liabilities is crucial when selling a property. Estimating the potential CGT liability based on the current tax rates and allowances and budget for this expense accordingly is essential. Seeking professional tax advice can help you effectively manage CGT and identify strategies to minimize your tax liability, such as using exemptions or reliefs.

Other Potential Costs

These additional expenses may vary depending on the condition of your property, the marketing strategies you choose, and the preferences of potential buyers. It's essential to be aware of these potential costs and budget them to avoid surprises during the selling process.

  • Repairs, Renovations, or Staging Costs: To attract potential buyers and fetch a higher price for your property, you may need to invest in repairs, renovations, or staging. This can include fixing any structural issues, updating outdated features, or enhancing the curb appeal of your property. These costs can vary greatly depending on the extent of the work needed, and it's essential to budget for these expenses when planning to sell your house.
  • Professional Photography, Floor Plans and High-quality visuals can significantly impact the marketing of your property. Hiring a professional photographer, creating floor plans, or investing in virtual tours can showcase your property in its best light and attract more potential buyers. However, these services can come with additional costs, and it's essential to consider them when budgeting your selling expenses. Many estate agents (including us) include these in their commission rates.
  • Marketing Expenses: In today's digital age, marketing plays a crucial role in selling a house. Online listings, print advertisements, and other marketing strategies can help expose your property to a wider audience, but they can also come with costs. It's important to consider potential expenses for marketing when planning to sell your house and choose the marketing strategies that align with your budget and target audience.
  • Property Valuation or Survey Costs: In some cases, potential buyers may request a property valuation or survey to assess the condition and value of the property. These costs may need to be borne by the seller, and it's essential to be prepared for such requests and the associated expenses. Obtaining multiple quotes and understanding the potential property valuation or survey costs can help you plan and budget accordingly.

Selling a house involves various fees and costs that can impact your overall expenses. From estate agent fees and solicitor fees to EPC costs, removal or storage costs, CGT, and potential additional costs for repairs, renovations, marketing, and property valuation or survey, it's crucial to be aware of these expenses and budget for them to avoid any surprises along the way.

Planning and budgeting for these costs are essential to ensure a smooth selling process and avoid financial setbacks. Seeking professional advice from qualified estate agents, solicitors, tax advisors, and other experts can provide valuable insights and help you make informed decisions. Obtaining multiple quotes from different service providers can also help you compare fees and choose the most cost-effective options.

At RAH, we understand the importance of transparent communication and financial preparedness for our clients. We are here to provide expert guidance and support throughout the selling process. Contact us today to discuss your specific needs and get a clear understanding of the fees and costs associated with selling your property. With proper planning and professional assistance, you can confidently navigate the selling process and achieve a successful outcome.

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