How much does it cost to sell a house?

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The costs of selling a house is a complicated issue and no matter how much you read the article below you will still have to consider the costs that are associated with your individual deal.

While there are blanket taxes that are applied to all property sales and things that everyone has to pay for at the same rate,- there are too many things that are variable and optional.

So, read this article carefully and try to understand as much as you can. The more you understand this topic the more likely it is that you’ll be able to save some money on your deal.

What are the basic costs when selling a house?

The table outlines the basic costs that are typically associated with selling a house. These costs include an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which can cost anywhere between £35 and £150 plus VAT. 

Estate agent fees are also included, which can range from 0.5% to 3% plus VAT of the sale price. 

Conveyancing fees are estimated to be between £550 and £1000 inclusive of VAT. Finally, removal costs can range between £250 and £4000 plus VAT. 

It is important to note that these costs may vary depending on the size and location of the property being sold, as well as the specific estate agent and property lawyer chosen.

Table showing the basic costs of selling

Basic costs of selling a house
Item: Cost:
EPC £35 to £150 +VAT
Estate agent fees 0.5% to 3% +VAT
Conveyancing fees £550 to £1000 (inc.VAT)
Removal costs £250 to £4,000 +VAT
Capital Gains Tax (CGT) see notes below
Home Report (Scotland) £100 - £1,000+VAT

What additional costs are there for selling?

Further costs from selling a house include preparing the house for sale, which can vary depending on the work that is needed. 

A mortgage exit fee (MEAF) of £50 to £300 is typical, along with an early mortgage repayment charge of 1-5% of the loan amount. 

Incentives, capital gains tax (CGT), and the Home Report (Scotland) are also included which depend on the individual circumstances of the sale. 

The Home Report in Scotland can range from £100 to £1,000 plus VAT. It is important to note that these costs may vary depending on the size and location of the property being sold, as well as the specific circumstances of the sale.

Table showing the additional costs of selling

Additional costs from selling
Item: Cost:
Preparing house for sale Dependent on work needed
Mortgage exit fee (MEAF) £50 - £300 typical
Early mortgage repayment charge 1 - 5% loan amount is typical
Incentives see notes below
Capital Gains Tax (CGT) see notes below
Home Report (Scotland) £100 - £1,000+VAT

How can you estimate the costs of selling a house?

The table outlines an estimate of the costs associated with selling a house. These costs include an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which is estimated to cost around £85. 

Estate agent fees, which are estimated to be 1.18% plus VAT of the sale price, amount to approximately £3,186. 

Conveyancing fees are estimated to be around £650 and removal costs are estimated to be around £700. 

The total estimated cost of selling a house is £4,621. It is important to note that these figures are only an estimate and the actual costs may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the sale.

Table showing the estimated costs of selling

Estimate of the costs of selling a house
Item: Cost:
EPC £85
Estate agent fees (1.18+VAT) £3,186
Conveyancing fees £650
Removal costs £700
Total: £4,621

What do you have to pay for legally that increases the costs of selling your house?

There are a few different types of legal documents you have to have in place that cost money and add up to how much it costs to sell a house.

As part of building regulations and safety standards, some documents are enforced by others as a result of hiring professionals like estate agents and conveyancers.

Energy performance certificates (EPC)

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a document that shows the energy efficiency rating of a property and provides information on both the energy consumption and carbon emissions of a building.

The document is quite complex in nature because it shows the energy efficiency of a building and also shows the recommendations for the landlord in order to get their property even more efficient.

In the UK, this certificate is mandatory by law when a property is built, sold, or rented out and it is optional for those who own their own home and live in it. 

Typically, the cost of an EPC can range from around £35 to £120 but this very much depends on the size of the property and the amount of testing that is required as a result.

Estate agent fees 

Estate agent fees are usually charged at a rate of around 1% of the sale of a property and you can read more about them using our article on the topic.

Some estate agent fees in the UK are charged in a ‘no sale, no fee’ manner which is typical of sole agency services so the estate agent doesn’t get paid unless the property sells.

For instance, if you’re selling a house for £285,000, and the fee is around 1.42%, the estate agent fees would be approximately £4,000.

This is a notable cost when selling but the commission structure gives estate agents skin in the game.

Much like how you could go into shared ownership where a business owner gives up part of a business to show that they are invested in the deal.

This gives the estate agent a more heavy involvement in the deal and they could therefore help the sale of the property in most cases far more than  a buyer would be able to by themself.

However, because of the complexity of these charges, some people choose to forgo dealing with estate agents and instead choose to only use online listing portals to sell.

Online estate agents

Chances are, you have heard of online estate agents who list your property to a large audience without the need for them to be an individual or a physical location for the estate agent to be present.

For instance companies like RightMove or Purple Bricks are prime examples of an online estate agent who list properties for a much smaller fee than a physical estate agent would.

However, this means you have to deal with all of the management of sellers yourself including arranging viewings and making sure you conduct the right reference check on every seller.

For reasons like this, it is clear to see why most people opt to go for an estate agent when they sell a house and deposit the cost as it removes a lot of guesswork and headache.

Selling at auction

The idea of auctioning, which involves purchasing and selling products or services by putting them up for bid, is a very fast way to get a sale of a property.

Depending on the route you want to go down there are traditional methods of auctions where a property is sold at the fall of the hammer and then modern auction methods too.

Here, the exchange of assets and the signing of contracts must be finalised within 28 days of the auction date so there is still an opportunity for a buyer to change their mind.

All in all, it provides a way to get a guaranteed sale of a property without the need to pay for an estate agent, but it certainly comes with added risk for the buyer hence auctioned properties tend to sell below market value.

Conveyancer fees

Conveyancers are another word for a solicitor and a solicitor is usually needed to sell a house. They are usually trained professionals who will charge a fee as seen in the below table.

Solicitors may charge differently depending on whether the property is a freehold, leasehold or it has or doesn’t have a mortgage in place.

Table that shows the average conveyancer fees

Table of conveyancer fees
Property Cost
freehold + no mortgage £575 inc.VAT
freehold + mortgage £612 inc.VAT
leasehold + no mortgage £768 inc.VAT
leasehold + mortgage £805 inc.VAT

Costs of removal in a property

The costs of removing things from a house can vary a fair bit and ultimately comes down to the amount of furniture that is able to be removed from a property.

For example, there could be one property with very little furniture in it and then another one that has a lot of furniture where there isn’t much that needs removing so the removal costs will be significantly cheaper.

How can you find out the costs of removals?

Get a few different removals companies to perform a pre-move survey if you’re preparing to relocate. An assessor from the business will come to your home during this survey to evaluate your moving requirements.

After this has taken place, they will be able to provide you with a removal quote. Having someone visit your property is particularly helpful because they can see exactly what needs to be transported.

This allows them to identify any potential access concerns or objects that need additional care. The quote is based on the amount of stuff you need to relocate.

Just be sure to make sure you point out any objects you won’t be bringing with you to the assessor so they aren’t counted in the assessment.

Getting your home ready for sale

The process of getting a home ready for sale really involved doing two things well, cleaning and redecorating. As you redecorate you may need to get rid of some items.

And as you clean you may find the job needs a professional and you may need to hire a professional cleaning service for best effects.

Thoroughly clean your house

Doing a deep clean of a house is one of the first steps you should take to list your property online and effectively market a home.

The first stage is to assess the property’s general condition and give priority to the elements that require the greatest work. 

It is advised to pay attention to the estate agent’s recommendations because they are aware of the factors that matter most to potential buyers.

As well as this, carefully cleaning the bathroom, including getting rid of limescale and mould and polishing the faucets is a good idea. 

Redecorate as desired

Redecorating is also important and the final stage of clearing up your property should be to declutter the house by getting rid of unneeded objects and picturing four different places for each of your possessions.

This could include placing things in storage, the donation bin and then keeping some minimal things

During this process it is suggested to get rid of emotional items, making hallways and other small areas appear wider.

However, before getting too excited about your renovation, make sure you know what not to fix when selling a house so you don’t spend money unnecessarily.

cost of selling a house refurbishment

The charges on a mortgage

Mortgage fees are vast and can get complicated and hard to pay off if you find yourself in the wrong position.

Hence, it is vital to understand them when trying to work out the cost of selling a house in particular so pay close attention if you’re looking to sell a house with a mortgage.

Exit fee

You need to be aware of any potential exit fees when it comes to terminating your mortgage account. If you decide to change lenders or refinance to a different loan with the same lender, this fee may apply. 

However it’s crucial to be aware that it might also be applied after your mortgage is paid off. There are other names for this exit fee, including exit administrative fee, deeds release fee, and mortgage completion fee.

Early repayment charges (ERC)

An early repayment charge is a fee that your lender can impose on you if you want to pay off your mortgage early, which might involve making a lump sum payment. 

This charge can help the bank increase the amount of interest they earn on the mortgage by extending the length of the mortgage term. 

Additionally, if you decide to switch to a new mortgage product before the current one ends, you may also have to pay this fee. 

To avoid any confusion, it is important to consult your lender and review your agreement’s terms to understand the costs associated with switching mortgage products or making early repayments.

What incentives are there?

You may wonder what is meant by incentives when it comes to working out how much it costs to sell a house. Well, if you find that the market is extremely competitive to sell a house, you may have to offer incentives to force the sale.

These incentives aren’t direct costs of selling a property but the money is taken out of the sake of the property as money you would have otherwise made so this is why it is acknowledged as a cost.

Incentives for buyers

Common examples of incentives that encourage people to buy a property include 

  • Free legal work
  • Stamp duty and land tax paid for
  • The costs of removals covered
  • A few months worth of rent paid for
  • A voucher for a shop
  • A furniture pack that comes with the home

In general this method of providing incentives works best where the benefits are changed based on the type of buyer you’re marketing to.

For instance, if you know that the buyer who is interested does not have a lot of money for the initial move of a property, offering to pay for the cost of removals could be a big benefit.

Other people would prefer to save money on tax and others would rather get money paid to them to spend on whatever like in the example of the shop voucher.

By reducing how long it takes to sell a house in this way, you will often be able to receive a better offer.

What taxes are there?

Unfortunately, there are a multitude of tax laws surrounding property in the UK and many don’t even know if you need to pay tax when you sell your property in the UK.

This is bad because upon a property’s sale, it is in your best interest to maximise the amount you receive from a property in order to pay for other costs like care if that’s what you need the money for.

Capital gains tax (CGT)

Capital gains is a tax paid on the appreciation of assets. Including property. This is so landlords aren’t able to make a lot of money by simply holding assets and not taking care of them.

Instead, landlords are encouraged to make an income from the rental yield of a property as well as the capital appreciation. 

Calculating profit

Profit and gains from capital gains tax is usually calculated by calculating the market value of a house and seeing how much this differs compared to when you bought it.

However, there is more to it and it is recommended you check out the government website here for a detailed overview on how tax works on property in general.

As a real life example, say you purchased a piece of property 10 years ago for £500,000 and sold it recently for £2,000,000. 

Your profit from the sale would be £1,500,000, which is the amount you would owe Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on, not the full sale price of £2,000,000.

Table of gross profit from selling a house

Profit from selling a property
Item: Cost:
EPC £85
Estate agent fees (1.18+VAT) £3,186
Conveyancing fees £650
Removal costs £700
Total: £4,621
Sale Price (A): £100,000
Less Mortgage Balance (B): £30,000
Less Cost of Selling (C): £4,621
Total profit: £65,379

Stamp Duty and Land Tax (SDLT)

Many aren’t aware that a tax known as stamp duty land tax (SDLT) is required to be paid when purchasing land or a property in the United Kingdom.

The government enforces this tax on homes that are worth more than a specific amount that changes over the years and you should be able to find the current figures for here.

Whether a piece of land or property is being used for residential, non-residential, or mixed uses will affect the tax rates and you must pay the tax to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

If you’re living in the UK, you have 14 days after completing the purchase or transfer of a property to register what you owe and pay it otherwise you could incur interest on your tax arrears and potential fines. 

All in all, Is it possible to reduce the cost of selling a home?

Can you reduce the cost of selling a home? Is a big question that those looking to make the most out of their deal must look to answer and the answer is yes. 

To begin to understand how costs can be reduced it is important to first acknowledge that there are several fees associated with selling a home that should be taken into account. 

An Energy Performance Certificate, estate agent fees, transaction fees, and removal expenses are included in the fundamental costs. 

Depending on the size, location, and particular expertise selected, these expenses may change. 

The price of staging the home for sale, mortgage departure fees, early mortgage payback charges, incentives, capital gains tax, and the Home Report in Scotland are additional expenses. 

This means the fundamental expenses to sell a house are projected to be roughly £4,621.

However, this sum may change based on the type of the sale and this is where you can attempt to reduce the cost of selling a home the most.

Look at auctions, selling privately and taking on as much work as you can in order to reduce the overhead costs of selling a house.

However, some things you will never be able to evade such as the tax you have to pay on property so it is important you don’t break the law in this sense.

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Donnell Bailey

Property expert

Donnell is a property expert focusing on the property market, he looks at a combination of legislation, information from property managers, letting agents and market trends to produce information to help landlords.


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