It’s no secret that there are plenty of additional fees to deal with when buying a property besides the actual price of the transaction, from stamp duty to property search fees and survey costs.
But there are lots of fees to take into account when selling a property as well. You need to consider the costs that could be involved in holding a vacant property too if the house is left empty incurring costs.
The biggest expense for most of us when selling a house is the cost of an estate agent. The idea is that you tap into their experience of the area and sales technique in order to get the best possible price for your property.
But that service does come at a premium. According to Which?, the typical fee for a high street agent is around 1.3%, though many charge 2% or more. That can result in a significant outlay.
Increasing numbers of people are turning to online estate agents, which promise to sell your home for a flat fee. While this is cheaper than using a high street agent, you may have to pay more for additional features, like having someone else handle viewings on your behalf.
It’s also worth noting that the Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a large number of complaints against online agents over the last year or so over spurious claims made in their promotions.
Just as you have to cough up fees for a host of property searches and to handle the legal aspects of buying a property, you also need to hand over the money for similar services when selling your home.
These fees are sadly unavoidable, and will tend to set you back the best part of £1,500, though the more complex the transaction, the higher those fees are likely to be.
It’s now a legal requirement for anyone selling their home to sort out an energy performance certificate (EPC).
As the name suggests, this essentially sets out how energy efficient the property is. You’ll be given a letter rating - properties with an A are the most efficient, moving down to G for the least efficient.
Your estate agent will likely offer to arrange this for you - the tests are carried out by domestic energy assessors - but this will usually be more expensive than if you book in an assessment yourself. You can expect to pay upwards of £50 for an EPC, though it’s worth remembering they are valid for a decade.
Getting someone to buy your property is just the start; you also need to clear out everything in there and move it to your next home.
The cost of a removals firm will vary depending on where the property is and just how much stuff you need to move. You can try to cut the cost by doing it yourself, though that does mean you are responsible for ensuring those beloved belongings don’t end up getting smashed in transit.
Early repayment charges (ERC) may be payable when you clear the mortgage. These are usually charged during the initial fixed or tracker period of a mortgage. So for example, if you have a five-year fixed rate, then you’ll probably have to pay an ERC if you pay the mortgage off during those first five years.
They generally work as a percentage of the outstanding balance. So using that five-year fixed rate example, it’s not uncommon for the ERC to be 5% in the first year, 4% in the second year, and so on down to 1% in year five.
Once you have finished that initial fixed or tracker period and moved onto your lender’s standard variable rate, you usually won’t be charged an ERC.
You may however be hit with an exit fee from your mortgage lender. This is to cover the administration costs of closing your mortgage account.
Thankfully these are nowhere near as costly as an ERC, generally costing around £100.
If the property you are selling is an investment property, then you may also face a capital gains tax bill.
Everybody enjoys a capital gains tax annual allowance. This is basically what level of profit you are able to make through the sale of an investment before having to pay any tax, and for the 2018/19 tax year it stands at £11,700 profit.
The tax you will have to pay on profits above this level depends on your income tax band. If you’re a basic rate taxpayer, you’ll have to pay 18% tax, while higher and additional-rate taxpayers will have to pay 28% tax.
Finally not every property sale completes and you need to be aware, how many property sales fall through.
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