The Cost of Selling a House
The cost of selling a house depends on what method you use to sell your house. So, whether you opt to sell privately, go through an estate agent, or try a property auction, there’s a multitude of different fees to consider either way. From home improvements to legal fees and getting your EPC, the last thing you want is to get stuck with a surprise bill, so we’re going to guide you through the biggest costs involved in selling a house.
On this page, we compare the price of selling your house with and without an estate agent, but don’t forget you can drastically reduce this cost by using Good Move. We’ll buy your house for up to 85% of its market value, and our sales can complete in as little as 7 days.
In this guide:
- Estate Agents: Initial Costs
- Estate Agent Fees: Online vs. High Street
- Selling Privately
- Selling at Auction
- Legal Fees
- Summary of Fees
- Capital Gains Tax
Initial costs when selling a house on the open market
Before you put your house on the market, there are several initial expenses which are worth factoring into your budget. These include:
- Home improvement costs – making small aesthetic changes and carrying out any obvious repairs around your house, to make it more sellable.
- Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) – every house up for sale must have an energy performance certificate, which rates your property’s efficiency between A-G. A standard EPC costs between £30 and £120, but they do last 10 years.
- Early mortgage repayment charges – this is effectively a penalty for breaking the commitment you have with your provider too soon, e.g. if you overpay on your mortgage before the agreed period has ended. You can avoid paying these charges by porting your mortgage, or remortgaging after the end of your current tie-in period.
- Final bills – an inevitable expense, you’ll need to pay off any remaining utilities and council tax before you relocate.
Online vs. High Street Estate Agent Fees
Using an estate agent is the most common method of selling a house, and it certainly has its advantages. Online-only estate agents are becoming ever-more popular, so to make things easier for you we’ve compared the process of selling through both high street and online estate agents.
|High Street Estate Agent||Online Estate Agent|
|You pay the fee once the house is sold, and it’s generally higher/varies according to the price of the house.||The fee will be lower and also a fixed-rate, but you may have to pay it upfront prior to the sale.|
|The fee will include help with sourcing potential buyers, hosting viewings and help with negotiations.||The fee may not include extras; you’ll have to host viewings yourself and have more contact with potential buyers.|
|Advertising in the shop window and through direct contact with database of potential buyers.||Advertising will rely on their website, as well as property portals like Rightmove and Zoopla.|
As the table above suggests, the most significant difference between an online and high-street estate agent is the fee.
According to the Land Registry, the average house price in the UK in 2019 is £234,853, so a high-street estate agent with a 1.3% commission rate would get £3,053 in fees. In comparison, online estate agents charge a flat fee, regardless of the house price, which usually sits between £300 and £1,500.
That being said, using an online estate agent is likely to be more time-consuming, as they’ll take a more hands-off approach. High-street agents cost more, but you won’t pay until completion, and they’ll guide you through the offer process too.
The Cost of Selling Your House Privately
Selling privately is almost guaranteed to save you money – to start with, you won’t have to pay any pesky estate agent fees. While you can get valuations carried out for free, there are several alternative expenses to bear in mind, such as:
- Photography – with no estate agent, you’ll need to organise photography yourself, and hiring a professional is the easiest way to do your home justice.
- Advertising – there are some free options, but the most effective ways to advertise do cost money. Pay a small fee to use property portals like Rightmove, Zoopla and Gumtree, or you could try sponsored posts on social media.
- Legal Fees – even if you’re bypassing estate agents, you still need to bring a solicitor or conveyancer in to handle the legal documentation. We’ll provide a breakdown of the relevant legal fees when selling a house below (jump ahead now).
- Time – selling privately is less expensive, but much more time-consuming. From sourcing buyers to hosting viewings to negotiating offers, it’s not for the time-poor.
If this method suits you, read our handy guide to selling your house privately!
The Cost of Selling at a Property Auction
Selling your home at a property auction is one of the fastest ways to achieve a house sale, so if you’re short on time and keen to get a reliable buyer, it’s a good option to consider. The most sizeable costs are likely to be:
- Entry Fee – most auction houses will charge you a fee for putting your home up for sale, which might range from £500 – £2,500, depending on the business.
- Commission – an auction will usually charge around 2.5% of the property’s selling-price for their services.
- Advertising – while some auction houses may take care of this for you, others will have a surcharge for this service.
- Solicitor Fee – you’ll still have to pay a solicitor to handle the legal side of things for you, and they may also need to be present on the day of the auction.
Check out our guide on how to sell your house at auction for more!
A Breakdown of Legal Fees
Regardless of whether you sell your house through an estate agent, at a property auction or privately, you’ll still need to bring a solicitor or conveyancer in to handle the legal side of the process for you. This is one of the biggest expenses you face in a house sale; the Home Owners Alliance suggests that the average cost of hiring a solicitor is anywhere from £500 – £1,500, and that’s for their services alone.
On top of this, you’ll need to factor in the cost of the checks they carry out, and the legal documentation they source on your behalf. We’ve put together an estimation of these costs in the table below.
|Local Authority Search||£250|
|Transferral of Ownership||£300|
|Property Fraud Check||£10|
|Copy of Title Deeds||£25|
These costs are another great reason to consider selling your house with Good Move – as when we buy your house for cash, we’ll take care of all the legal fees for you. You can find out how it works today.
Summary of Fees
|Expenses||Good Move||Estate Agent||Online Agent||Private Sale||Auction|
|Early Mortgage Fees||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Do you need to pay Capital Gains Tax?
If you’re looking into selling your house, you’ll have heard the term Capital Gains Tax. Simply put, it’s a deduction on the profit you make when you sell an asset (like a property) for more than you bought it for. The good news is, you’ll only be taxed on the gain you make, rather than the whole value of the house. There are several exceptions to this tax, so you’ll only have to pay CGT if the following statements apply.
- Your home and its grounds are larger than 5,000 square metres.
- You’ve let your home out, or used it for business purposes.
- You’re selling a secondary property which isn’t your main home.
- You bought it just to make a gain (buy-to-sell).
Do I need to pay Capital Gains Tax?
You only need to pay Capital Gains Tax if your home and its grounds are larger than 5,000 sq. m, you’ve let your home out or used it for business, you bought it just to make a gain or you’re selling a property which isn’t your main home.
How much does it cost to sell a house privately?
Selling privately is cheaper than selling with an estate agent, as you’ll avoid paying commission and pesky additional fees. However, you’ll still need to pay for an EPC, manage your own advertising and pay for a solicitor – it’s more time consuming too.
How much does it cost to sell at a property auction?
At a property auction, you’ll pay an entry fee for your home between £500 – £2,500. You’ll also have to pay the auctioneer commission on your property’s selling price, which is roughly 2.5%.
What’s the difference between online and high street estate agents?
High-street agents cost more, as they charge a commission rate based on the sale price, rather than a fixed fee like online agents. However, high-street agents will offer you more hands-on assistance throughout the sale process, from viewings to negotiations.
What are the legal fees for selling a house?
You’ll need to pay a solicitor or conveyance their fee (approx. £500 – £1,500) and then pay for the legal processes and documentation which they carry out, which averages out at around £600.