The obvious (and lesser known) fees to sell a property
If you haven’t sold a property for a while – or are selling for the first time – it’s always good to know what fees are due. We breakdown the common costs associated with selling a home and cover some more unusual fees too!
An estate agent’s fee is usually expressed as a percentage of the home’s value you are selling, and is only payable once the sale of your house has completed. If you’ve ever wondered what happens to that fee, read on.
Expertise & marketing
We place great emphasis on hiring the most professional and experienced staff, therefore fees cover wages and pay for essential training. Integral to any sale are portal entries and fees help us pay for listings on Rightmove and/or Zoopla. Fees also cover the cost of digital and print marketing so the widest audience of buyers see your property for sale, and contribute to memberships of industry bodies, software, ‘for sale’ boards and office running costs.
Paying the legal eagles
Sellers will also pay fees to a solicitor or conveyancer. Just like estate agents, legal professionals draw a wage for their expertise but there are also fees attached to vital transactional elements. Solicitors are charged for searches, financial and ownership checks, document retrieval, any electronic transfer of funds and certain changes made with the Land Registry. Some of these fees may be payable during the sales process to ensure the solicitor covers their costs in case of an aborted sale.
While the two sets of fees mentioned above are fixed in terms of the majority of sellers will pay them, there are a number of variable fees too. These include the cost of an EPC (energy performance certificate), which is legally required before a sale starts. If you bought your home before 2007, you may not have an EPC and it’s also worth checking if any EPC present is still valid, as they expire after 10 years. A new EPC will cost anywhere between £50 and £150.
Moving mortgages can cost
An early repayment charge may apply if a borrower – usually on a fixed or tracker mortgage product – clears their debt using the proceeds of their property sale before the deal expires. The early repayment charge is usually a percentage of your mortgage balance and it can run into thousands of pounds. Other borrowers may be required to pay a small administration fee to take their current mortgage with them to a new property.
Taxing matters for additional homeowners
Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is another fee to look out for but this only applies to those selling an additional property – buy-to-lets, second holiday homes and inherited properties may all be classed as an additional property. The tax due depends on what tax bracket the property owner is in, with the tax payable after completion.
Don’t forget sellers in Scotland must pay for a Home Report by law. This upfront information pack costs in the region of £300-£400 plus VAT.
Fees sellers can control
Other fees can include professional removal fees or the cost to hire a van; survey fees if the owner wants to identify issues such as damp, Japanese Knotweed or subsidence ahead of a sale; remedial work to rectify any issues, and general maintenance/decorating costs to get a property ready for sale. It’s up to each individual seller to decide what extra services they opt for, if any, but don’t forget to check whether any fee is inclusive of VAT.
Sometimes a seller will face an unexpected fee once they’ve moved but there’s good news – these fees can usually be avoided. Here are three often overlooked areas when you’re moving home.
- Pet microchip database: in March 2023, the Government announced that microchipping for cats will be compulsory after 10th June 2024. If the new feline law follows that already in place for dogs, pet owners must keep their details up-to-date on the corresponding microchip database. Currently dog owners who don’t update their entry with a new address after moving home can be fined £500 and we expect this to apply to cats too.
- Driving licence: there’s no doubt that selling one property and buying another is a chaotic time but one small administrative oversight can prove very costly. The DVLA can enforce a fine of up to £1,000 if you don’t change the address lodged against your drivers’ licence. The process is free and you can still drive while the change takes place. The form to update your driving licence address can be completed online here.
- TV licence: did you know while a single person may pay for a TV licence, the licence actually covers the property listed on the account and not the licence holder? Therefore, you must change the address held against the licence when you move, or you’ll be watching TV illegally in your new home. If you don’t provide the new address details, you’ll leave yourself open to a maximum penalty fine of £1,000 plus any legal costs or compensation you may be ordered to pay. You can update the address for your TV licence online here.
We would be happy to discuss any property sale with you, working out what fees may be due. Please contact our team for assistance and a free valuation.
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