Selling a house can and should be a highly profitable move, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t certain costs that will arise before that profit makes its way to you.
House sales can be complicated and multifaceted, and there are a lot of reasons you may need to draft in help from various sources to see your house sold into new hands.
That’s not to say you need a lot of third parties involved in your house sale; just the right people, and for the right prices.
So, what fees can you expect to be charged when selling a house?
Does it cost anything to sell a house?
Almost every instance of a house sale will involve a fee for the seller in some form or another.
Relative to the potential profit of selling your home, these are often nothing to worry about, and in the case of estate agents’ fees they may not even apply until the house has actually sold.
Hopefully, the valuation of your house projects a profitable sale, and though there will be fees and possibly tax to pay, your sale should be a net profit and the costs involved will be minor expenses.
What do I need to pay when selling a house?
Different sellers will take different approaches to the sale of a property. Talk to one seller and they might grimly recall the cost of paying upfront for a service that another seller didn’t even know existed.
There are lots of directions your money can go when selling a house. Some of the most common include:
Perhaps the most obvious and commonplace source of fees to pay, estate agents are a non-negotiable necessity for many sellers. First-time sellers or people short on time and resources will especially want to consider the help of an estate agent, as an experienced pair of helping hands can mean the difference between a long and protracted fight to get rid of a property versus a smooth and organised sale.
If you dealt with estate agents when you first bought your house, you may find a very different interaction with the ones that help you sell your house, and a contrasting level of assumed responsibility through the process. After all, you don’t pay estate agent fees when buying a house – that falls on the seller.
As a seller, you can expect to typically pay a percentage of the house’s sale price. The general range of estate agent fees when selling falls between 0.75% and 3%+. Fee structures can vary, like 0.5% of the sale price combined with a small flat fee, or an overall flat fee for the services. It’s not uncommon to negotiate fees, and you may find that your chosen estate agent will be open to this.
It’s a good idea to try and secure a ‘no sale, no fee’ guarantee if that isn’t already an advertised policy of your agent. There are many reasons that your sale could need to be halted or postponed, and you don’t want to pay for services that ultimately didn’t lead to a sale – especially if an unforeseen circumstance is responsible for the cancellation.
For some estate agents, this is an unavoidable risk, as an upfront charge will be taken regardless of whether the services culminate in a sale or not. However, if you’re serious about the house sale, paying an estate agent to see it done right is a definite necessity.
Speak to your estate agent about their fees policy, and whether they’re willing to negotiate, or possibly explore the option to pay off the fees over time.
Energy Performance Certificate
The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a certificate that gives an overall score lettered A – G (best to worst) for the energy usage of a property. It tells buyers at a glance how generally energy efficient a house is, and having a valid certificate is a legal requirement when selling a house.
Each certificate is valid for 10 years, and you can find out if your property is under a valid certificate via the GOV website. The cost of securing an EPC varies from £35 – £120, depending on the size and situation of your house. Buying an EPC in Swinton, for instance, will typically not be as expensive as for a home in London.
Many estate agents will secure your certificate for you as part of their services, but it’s worth knowing about the EPC all the same as failing to have one for your house sale can land you a £200 fine.
If you’re moving home and need a mortgage on the new house, this will come with its own fees. Just how much you need to pay depends on how smoothly you come to an arrangement with your lender.
Porting is when a mortgage is moved from one property to another. Many mortgages are ‘portable’, and most lenders don’t have an upfront issue with the concept of porting. However, there can be frustrations to the process if circumstances are less than ideal.
If you’re earning less than you were at the time of your first application, or your circumstances have otherwise changed in a way that might be ‘riskier’ – for instance, you’ve had children or switched to work on a freelance basis – your lender might think twice about your new application.
A higher value property may also push you past the limit that your lender will allow you to borrow, and a second loan might be required to cover the difference. In this case, you’ll be paying an arrangement fee on this second loan, which could be a cost you hadn’t originally anticipated.
If you’re aiming to remortgage rather than port an existing mortgage, you will still need to account for the fees of application and a valuation by your new lender.
Capital Gains Tax
If you’re selling a house that doesn’t function as your actual home, you may be liable to pay Capital Gains Tax. If your taxable gains from selling a residential property fall above your annual exempt amount of £12,300, you’ll need to pay the tax at a rate of 18% for basic rate income tax payers, and 28% for higher rate taxpayers. This is 10% and 20% respectively for property that is not residential in function.
With the average house sale price in Worsley falling around £358,657 for May 2021 – May 2022, Capital Gains Tax could be a sharp extra cost to be ready for a house sale.
If the house you’re looking to sell is not your home, work your projected profits out against these tax rates and get a firm idea of what you’re liable to pay against your house sale.
Like estate agents, conveyancers aren’t a legal requirement to have on the side when selling a house. However, most people in the property will recommend that you use a conveyancer due to the complicated legal matters involved in transferring a property from one party to another. For properties that have any deviations from the norm, such as existing covenants, this is especially true.
Conveyancers ensure that all the legal paperwork is filed, all the boxes are ticked, and that everything is above board and the transaction is protected in all the necessary ways. For sellers, conveyancing is more straightforward than buying, but it still demands that you pay for the help of your chosen conveyancer.
For selling a straightforward freehold property, you can expect to pay in the region of £600 – £900 for the services of a conveyancer.
Part of selling a house, particularly one that’s been lived in or neglected for some time, is usually tidying things up to get it ready for viewings and photos being taken. This could be as simple as filling in some holes and painting over them, or it could be necessary repairs and structural remedies like redoing insulation, eliminating damp, or repairing the roof.
There might be a removal company to hire, extra keys to be cut, locks to be changed, or a necessary boiler service; the extra cost accrued for various tasks will vary from seller to seller, but any of these added expenses need to be factored into the overall cost of selling your home.
If a survey carried out on behalf of the buyer unearths problems to be solved, they may want to negotiate a lower price for the property. Whilst not directly a fee that you’re paying as a seller, it’s a reduction of profit that, for all intents and purposes, represents the same thing.
How can I pay less for selling a house?
It’s perfectly understandable to want to sell a house while cutting down fees as much as possible. While only possible to a certain degree, depending on your house and its location, there are ways to pursue a cheaper house sale.
First, it’s worth browsing at least a few estate agents to compare quotes and services. Some agents will offer attractive perks like a free property valuation or may possess a better knowledge of the local area. These factors can be weighed against cost and might result in a better sale price for your house.
Some sellers may be tempted to forgo the use of an estate agent at all, and instead sell their home themselves. While this is a choice that sellers are free to make, it means missing out on the knowledge, experience, and honed resources that estate agents take advantage of to achieve house sales. Missing out on these advantages shouldn’t be taken lightly, and for the sake of a slight dip into your net profits, estate agents should always be considered.
You may be able to write off the cost of certain factors by negotiating with your estate agents concerning their fees, negating the cost of a new EPC, or freeing up a little cash for a fresh coat of paint in the living room.
Certain fees can be reduced or eliminated completely by doing some extra work yourself or with the help of friends and family. Hiring or borrowing a van to move property out of a house yourself can save a handsome amount over paying professional movers, for instance.
Some fees, however, will be unavoidable. If your sale and personal circumstances fall within the borders of Capital Gains Tax, then you’re obligated to pay it.
Selling your house with Mistoria Estate Agents Worsley
Whether you’re a first-time seller or are more experienced and have been through the process before, Mistoria is the perfect partner. Our team has an excellent working knowledge of Worsley as well as Little Hulton, Walkden, Boothstown, Ellenbrook, Swinton, Pendlebury, Salford, Eccles, Ellesmere Park, and Monton. We can ensure that your house sale is a simple, happy, and profitable experience. To learn more about our expert property services, please get in touch today or call our office on 0161 790 3999.