A guide to the costs of moving home
Both the buyer and seller will need a conveyancer (a solicitor specialising in property), whose fees will be between £600 - £900 excluding VAT. Buyers will also have to pay for various Land Registry searches, usually costing around £350. So a total legal bill, including the fees for searches, is likely to be in the region of £1,000 - £1,350.
Estate agent fees
The seller is responsible for paying estate agents fees, so these will not affect your budget for buying a new home.
As the buyer, you will be responsible for paying the stamp duty on the property. This is an incremental tax paid on all properties worth over £125,000. It's a significant cost, so do not forget to budget for it or you'll get a nasty surprise! Officially, it has to be paid within 30 days of purchase, but most solicitors expect the money for it before completion to avoid any nasty late-payment charges. There are a number of helpful calculators online to work out the fee that you'll face; as an example, a £300,000 property would carry a stamp duty of £5,000, for one worth £500,000, it'll be £15,000.
Removal firm costs
Budget around £2,000 for a removal firm to provide packing materials and move the contents of an average-sized family home. Of course, if you're moving from rented accommodation and have fewer possessions, you could get away with using a more basic service, such as a man-with-a-van. This will usually cost just a few hundred pounds. Be aware that some stuff may not survive the move: cheaper self-assembly wardrobes don't do that well with being carried up and down too many flights of stairs!
It's incredibly important to pay close attention to the fixtures and fittings that come with your new property. Think especially about the kitchen; if the appliances are free-standing, check to see if they are included. Make sure you know if you'll be needing to buy a new fridge or washing machine sometime soon. Another frequently forgotten item is curtains; if they're not included, can you reuse your current ones, or will you have to suffer the expense of buying more? Will you need a new wardrobe, or new shelving for your books and CDs? Also consider what work you might want to do, even in the short to medium term, on the property.
If you plan to redecorate, or if your new home needs new carpets, keep those costs in mind. Be realistic about what pieces of your current furniture won't fit in the new place; while this doesn't have to be an upfront cost, you may well find yourself spending significant amounts of money on new items for your home over the coming months. It's easy to be tempted on that “essentials-only” trip to a large furniture store and end up coming out with a van full of new Scandinavian flat-packs!