Should you improve or move? That’s the question on lots of families’ minds as they grow and need more space. With the state of the housing market in the last few years, lots of people have been opting to stay put and improve the home they’re living in to accommodate for their new needs.
And when you actually compare how much it’s going to cost to move, sometimes it’s simply not worth the hassle.
We’re going to uncover the truth about whether it’s better to improve or move; here are the hidden costs behind moving.
Estate agents’ fees
An estate agent will look around your home and propose a selling price to you. Once you’re happy, they will ask you to sign an agreement to the terms and conditions. This will determine what the estate agent will do for you in terms of marketing your property, such as listing online and in their office window.
For everything to do with the sale of your home, including arranging and carrying out viewings, expect the estate agent to take between 1.5% and 3% of your property’s selling price.
A conveyancer deals with all the legal paperwork to do with buying and selling a home. They carry out a local search to find out if there are any new developments planned around the new location, and will get the title deed for your new home. They’ll also ensure that the seller owns the property and can legally sell it to you.
The average price in 2016 is £850 for a freehold property, and that’s not including the other extras like the Land Registry Fee. On a leasehold property, it could be as much as £1050.
This is the one most people know about. There used to be stamp duty relief for first-time buyers, but that’s been lifted since 2012. Stamp duty is the tax you pay for the paperwork to change the ownership of a property. This should be dealt with by your conveyancer. Stamp duty is a huge expense – it could be anywhere between a third and a half of your total moving cost.
It will depend on how much you pay for your new home, but you should expect to pay between 1% and 7% of the selling price.
Moving will cost you around 12% of your total moving costs. That huge. According to the Independent, in London Westminster removal companies charge the most and Barking and Dagenham charge the least.
So should you improve or move?
Looking at the costs, it’s a much better investment to improve your home rather than up sticks and move to somewhere bigger.
For example, converting your loft could create a huge bedroom or other living area and would add up to 20% to your house value. And with a loft conversion costing an average of £35,000, it is worth considering if your property is worth £180,000 or more.
An extension also adds 20% to your home, but can be more expensive. The best way to improve your home is to look around at what your neighbours are doing – if there are similar properties around, your improvements will add value. Don’t price yourself out of the market by spending too much on your house for the area that it’s in.
There are all sorts of possibilities for adding space to your home; you could consider a conservatory or orangery to extend out and enjoy your garden more. Conservatories work well as extra living space or dining rooms. Replace walls with bifold doors and you’ll open out spaces that once felt cramped.
So should you improve or move? There are endless possibilities for improving your home instead of moving – and they’ll probably be far less stressful than moving house! But the choice is yours…