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How Much Does it Cost to Sell a House in 2021

Although you’ll probably have an idea of what money you’ll ultimately get once you sell your house, it’s easy to forget that you’ll have some expenses to incur along the way.

As professional house sale specialists in the industry for nearly 2 decades, in this extended post, we highlight the main costs to consider when selling.

How Much Does it Cost to Sell a House

How Much Does it Cost to Sell a House?

The good news the majority of your house selling expenses will only be due on completion of the sale.

Here’s a breakdown (click on the link on the left for more information about each expense).

ExpenseCostWhen Due?
Energy Performance Cost (EPC)£40 to 90 + VATPre-Advertising
Estate Agency Fee1 to 3% or Fixed Fees of £500 to £5,000 + VATUpon Sale Completion
Auction Fees*0 to 3% or Fixed Fees of £500 to £5,000 + VATUpon Sale Completion
Conveyancing Fees£350 to £2,200 + VATUpon Sale Completion
Preparing Your House for Sale£500 to £10,000+
(depending on the condition)
Pre-Advertising
Mortgage Exit Fees*£0 to £500Upon Sale Completion
Early Repayment Charge (ERC)*1 to 5% of the remaining loanUpon Sale Completion
Removal Costs£500 to £5,000 + VATDuring the Sales Process
Capital Gains Tax*18% to 28%
(depending on your tax bracket)
Within 30 Days of Completion
Costs to Encourage Buyers*£500 to £20,000During the Sales Process
* These costs may not be applicable

Here’s a piechart based on taking averages from the costs above (excluding the exceptional fees from the table above):

How Much Does it Cost to Sell a HouseHow Much Does it Cost to Sell a House

The exception being if you use certain online estate agencies (where you would often have to pay upfront)

This assumes that you are not buying another property (in which case you will need to bear in mind Stamp Duty Land Tax and possible mortgage costs such as arrangement fees and conveyancing disbursements).

Also, if you were to use Property Solvers’ own sell house fast service, most of the costs would not apply.

We have outlined the fees in the order in which they typically occur…

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Cost

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Cost

Energy Performance Certificate CostEnergy Performance Certificate = Between £40 and 90 + VAT

It is a legal requirement to have an up-to-date Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) in place before a property can be advertised.

Showing a grading between A to F (based on how energy efficient a property is), the EPC also contains:

  • The property type
  • Total floor area
  • A breakdown of the property’s energy performance (walls, roof, windows, mains / secondary heating, water supply, lighting, flooring)
  • The annual primary energy use (in kilowatt-hours per square metre)
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and recommended changes;
  • Recommendations on improving energy performance;
  • Estimated energy use and potential savings

EPCs are produced by accredited assessors (often when photos, floorplans and other marketing material is being undertaken) and last for 10 years.

You can see if your property has one by clicking here and entering your postcode.

If you have sold or rented your property within the last decade, you will not need to pay for a new one.  However, if you have had extensive works on the property we often suggest issuing a new one which will help with the marketability of your home.

Most estate agents and auctioneers will have recommended assessors who you can use.  Alternatively, you can arrange one for yourself (through a Google search or local contacts you may have).

Note that if your property has a low EPC rating, it could affect the sales price you achieve.

Here at Property Solvers, our EPC partners charge £72 + VAT.

Estate Agency Fees

Estate Agency Fees

Estate Agency CostsEstate Agency Costs = 1-3% or Fixed Fees of £500 to £5,000 + VAT

Most home sales across the UK happen through an estate agency of some sort.

In terms of fees, you can generally expect to pay between 1% and 3% of the sales price.  Most offer a ‘no sale, no fee’ service (which protects you in the unfortunate situation of the house sale falling through).

The choice of agent often depends on a number of factors.  For example, some people choose to use a local ‘high street’ estate agency that has a good reputation.  Others use agents recommended by friends, family or via online reviews.

Much also depends on the type of property. Estate agents such as Fine & Country and Savills deal with higher-end homes and therefore charge higher fees.  Note that if you’re selling to a developer (often through a part exchange house scheme) then you will not pay any fees.

The more price-conscious may choose a ‘no frills’ estate agency that will get the basics done.

However, at the same time, there are plenty of decent estate agencies out there with who will do just a good a job for much better value.  Our own hybrid estate agency, for example, charges 1.5% (+VAT) on a no sale, no fee basis.  Others may charge a fixed fee, especially if the property is at the lower end of the price scale (typically around £75,000 and under).

As tempting as they may seem, we generally tend to advise avoiding super-cheap agency fees. Evidence suggests that many do not survive for long.  The agencies that do often fail to last long.

Generally speaking, the further south you are in the country, the higher the costs.  However, if you’re buying a larger property, regardless of the location, you should expect to pay more.

Remember also to read the contract carefully to avoid being stung with hidden fees down the line.

Should You Use an Online Estate Agency?

The term ‘online estate agency’ is a bit of a misnomer as, these days, most estate agencies operate online.  Long gone are the days where buyers and sellers would convene at a local high street agency for the sale to be processed.

Generally, you’ll end up paying less compared to a traditional or high street estate agency.

However, modern online estate agencies, i.e. the ones that have appeared in the marketplace over the last decade or so tend to take a more of a ‘call centre’ approach.  You can expect to put more effort across the whole process.

Bear in mind the costs that come when selling through an online estate agent...

However, many have now evolved to offer a more ‘hybrid’ approach – i.e. combining traditional and modern service delivery.

Perhaps the most well-known is agency of this kind is Purple Bricks.  In terms of fees, you can either pay an up-front fee of £999 (more for Greater London) or after 10 months, in which case the cost is higher.

Yopa offers a similar service but you can also choose a more traditional ‘no sale, no fee’ model also.

One of the general trends is that you could end up paying a fee even if the property doesn’t sell.

There’s also Strike (formerly House Simple) who, in a number of areas, offer a free service.  This firm is going for market dominance and leaves many people scratching how they make money and how long they will last in the marketplace.

There are also listings agencies – where you can pay a relatively small fee to list on the major portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla.  There are then ‘bolt on’ services for viewing management, listings.

Online estate agents are notorious for over-valuing properties to get the listing.  Be sure to check how much your house is worth before signing anything.

Auctioning Your Property Fees

Auctioning Your Property Fees

Auction Sale FeesAuction Fees = 0-3% or Fixed Fees of £500 to £5,000 + VAT

Auctioning property is no longer the niche sector and an increasing number of homeowners have decided.

One of the main advantages of selling through an auction is that, once the hammer falls, the buyer is obliged to complete on the sale or face heavy financial penalties.

Fee structures tend to vary from auction house to auction house.  Some charge a sales fee upon completion, which is typically higher than using an estate agent (approximately 2-4%).

There may also be entry and admin fees to add (check out our guide to selling at auction guide), which are often due up-front.  As with estate agency fees, be sure to read through the contract.

This is because the workload is typically heavier, relative to a private treaty (estate agency) sale, there are a number of extra steps to be taken to secure a successful sale.

Others, such as modern method auctioneers, exclusively charge a buyer’s fee (as high as 6%) due at the fall of the virtual hammer.

At Property Solvers Online Auctions we charge a 1.5% + VAT seller’s fee.  We also charge the buyers a fee aimed at keeping a level playing field.

Auction Legal Pack Fees

An auction legal pack consists of a series of documents uploaded to the auctioneer’s website or portal.

Although not compulsory, having the legal pack prepared in advance is highly recommended.  It enables buyers to get a good understanding of key legal aspects related to a property.  Failure to produce one prior to auction often results in lower or no bids at all.

Most auction legal packs would consist of the following (click here for more information):

  • Title Register (also known as the Title Deed)
  • Title Plan
  • Conveyancing Searches
  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
  • Terms & Conditions of Sale
  • Special Conditions of Sale
  • A series of Law Society Forms
  • Leasehold Management Pack (where applicable)
  • Tenancy-Related Information (where applicable)
  • Commercial Property Details (where applicable)
  • Land Details (where applicable)

When selling through property auction, bear in mind fees you'll have to incur during the process...

The downside for you, the seller, is that most conveyancing solicitors would require a payment on account beforehand to prepare the pack.

This cost typically ranges from £300 to £1,000, depending on the complexity of the sale.  For example, if the property is a leasehold, commercial or has separate titles involved you can expect solicitors to charge more.

There will then be extra fees to pay for the post-auction conveyancing processes due between exchange and completion.

Note that, whilst the total legal costs tend to be higher than a normal sale, the difference is fairly small.

The conveyancer you choose should give you a firm idea of what the costs will be prior to instruction.  This gives you the opportunity to shop around.

Conveyancing Fees

Conveyancing Fees

Conveyancing FeesConveyancing Fees = £350 to £2,200 + VAT

Although a handful of sellers choose a DIY approach, instructing a qualified conveyancer to administer the sale of a property is highly recommended.

There are a number of influential factors including the reputation of the conveyancer, the property’s value, the complexity of the sale, whether the property is a leasehold or freehold amongst others.

If you’re a cash buyer, the fees should be lower.  You may also be able to negotiate a better price if you are buying another property (and therefore using the same solicitor).

Location is also a notable factor although you are not committed to using a conveyancer in your location.  Indeed, we’ve increasingly noticed that homebuyers and sellers in traditionally more expensive parts of the country for conveyancing (such as London) are using legal representatives in the Midlands and North where rates are largely cheaply.

Please check out our annual research on conveyancing fees.

Costs of Getting Your House Ready for Sale

Costs of Getting Your House Ready for Sale

Costs of Getting Your House Ready for SaleGetting Your House Ready for Sale = £100 to £5,000+

Although this may be better positioned above, we will not dwell on this topic too much.  We would suggest looking at our 101 quick house sale tips blog post post.

It’s stating the obvious, but the more you spend on presenting your house for the market, the higher price you are likely to achieve.  You can see our own house valuation

Note that there is a fine line here as many new homeowners want to put their own stamp on the property.  They’ll often be thinking about what they can do to the property once they buy it (rather than what’s already been done).

Most will want to know that there are no major issues to be concerned about (which will often be pointed out during the survey process).

As long as the property is in decent condition, clean and ready to live in.  Kerb appeal is also a definite plus.

Some simply choose to sell ‘as is’ and appreciate that the price they’ll achieve may be less.  Others prefer to use an auction house or a We Buy Any House service.  Here, purchasers are accustomed to taking on properties that need extensive works (faster than using an estate agent).

Here are some broader costs you may need to consider:

Deep House Clean (£50 to £500)

If you’re already living in the house, the chances are that you will not need to do too much of a clean.

However, if it’s a property that you have owned from a distance, a buy-to-let for example, more work may be required.  Much will also depend on the size of the property.

In such cases, it can make more sense to contract a professional cleaning company instead of doing it yourself.

Repairs and Replacements (£100 to £50,000+)

If potential viewers see that works are required, they’re more likely to try and negotiate.

For this reason, we would always recommend undertaking any repairs necessary.

The cost would be directly tied to the last time you updated the property, particularly the areas that are more prone to wear and tear (kitchens and bathrooms, for example).

You may be able to save money replacing cabinet doors and handles but you can expect the property’s value to increase if you replace.

Redecoration (£500 to £2,000)

Most homeowners tend to freshen up their properties every 5 years or so.

A fresh lick of paint on all the walls, doors and window frames can help with the appeal of the house as potential buyers are looking around.

Gardening (£50 to £2,000)

This will also depend on the size and how well maintained your garden is.

Garden costs can mount up, especially if you are redoing a patio or need to any kind of re-levelling.

Our suggestion, however, is to avoid going too overboard.  Keeping the garden neat, trim and tidy should be fine.  Remember to remove unsightly weeds!

Mortgage Fees (When Selling)

Mortgage Fees (When Selling)

Mortgage Fees (When Selling)Mortgage Fees (When Selling) = £100 to £5,000+

If you have a mortgage against the property, there are two sets of charges that you’ll possibly have to pay: mortgage exit fees and early redemption charges (EPC).

When we speak to sellers, many are often surprised to see this cost appear (often at last minute)

Mortgage Exit Fees – between £0 and £500

These are administrative costs payable when you leave your mortgage company, whether that would be swapping to a different provider or closing the account (clearing the secured debt) completely.

You can see whether this fee would be applicable by checking the original signed contract (when you bought or remortgaged the property).  Much will depend on how much the outstanding mortgage balance is.

Often the fee will be deducted from the proceeds of sale (i.e. the difference between the price you sell the property for and the outstanding mortgage).

Early Repayment Charge (ERC) – 1-5% of the remaining loan

It’s often hard to time your house sale with the end of your mortgage term.  This often means that you will have to make a payment prior to being able to pay back the payment.

The amount you’ll owe can be found in the original mortgage contract.

Whilst most of the mainstream lenders would typically not charge more than 2%, there are some lesser-known (often sub-prime) mortgage companies that have been known to charge up to 5%.

As with mortgage exit fees, there’s often a sliding fee scale based on how much mortgage debt is owed against the property.  The fees are likely to increase if you’re borrowing more (often referred to as a further advance).

If the fees seem extortionate, although you may be running low on time, it’s worth approaching The Financial Ombudsman Service.  You may well be able to receive some kind of rebate due to unfair charges.

the amount you’ll owe will be deducted from any proceeds of sale.

Some people, therefore, choose to move on to their Standard Variable Rate (SVR) whilst their house sale goes through.  Although the monthly mortgage payments are higher, it can often work out cheaper.  Here, much would depend on how far you are within your existing mortgage term.  For example, if you have a couple of years left, it’s probably better to take the hit on the ERC.

Porting Your Mortgage

Alternatively, if you are buying another property, you may be able to port or transfer the mortgage over to the new property and avoid the above charges.

You can check your ability to do this by reading through the contract or contacting the mortgage company directly.

The fees will often depend on how much remains on the mortgage.

There will also be costs such as the Homebuyers Survey as well as possible transfer, product or arrangement fees.  The lender may also charge for an up-to-date affordability check.

Some lenders have been known to offer a porting service, only to reject the finance at the last minute.  It’s worth working with a good mortgage broker here to avoid such a scenario.

Unfortunately, in most cases, these will be in the small print of your

Remember to check with any other loans you have against the property

House Removal Costs

House Removal Costs

House Removal CostsHouse Removal Costs = £500 to £5,000 + VAT

Removal costs can vary hugely depending on a number of factors including:

  • The size of the property
  • How much legwork you’re willing to put in yourself (whether the removal company will do the packing or unpacking);
  • The location of where you’re moving to;
  • Time of year (as discussed in our post on the best time to sell a house, spring and autumn tend to be busier)
  • Ease of access (for example, moving from a top or mid-floor flat is going to be more challenging than a single-storey bungalow);
  • How much furniture and belongings you’re looking to move;
  • How heavy your furniture is;
  • Whether you have lots of valuable or delicate furniture or items;
  • How much ‘clutter’ there is.  The less the better (and cheaper!);
  • If you’re willing to sell any items to offset your removal costs;
  • The day you’re booking the removal service.  Early to mid-week tends to be cheaper;
  • How far in advance you’re booking.  An early reservation could secure you a better price;
  • Whether you’ll need to organise childcare, a hotel / AirBnB stays or other service requirements during the home moving process.

Also, much will depend on how much you are actually looking to move.  If you’re downsizing, for example, you may wish to sell your possessions which can help offset your selling costs.

Or you may decide to put some things in storage, which has its own cost implications.

The costly way…

Hire a removal company yourself who will completely handle everything.

This means you can pretty much leave the firm to their own devices.  They will also include insurance whereby, if anything is damaged in transit, you will be suitably compensated.  Make sure you check their policy, to ensure you’re sufficiently covered.

The cheaper way…

The cheapest way to do things would be to pack everything yourself, hire a van using a company like (or you may be able to borrow one somewhere).

You can then take out ‘goods in transit’ insurance to protect the items your moving.  It’s worth checking, however, whether your home contents insurance policy covers this kind of thing.

‘Man with a van’ may help to ease the load, particularly if it involves taking a lot of the unnecessaries to the local dump or charity shop.

Remember also that you will need to find the time to make the necessary arrangements.  If you have to take time off work, for example, is the amount of money you’ll lose warranted enough?

Also, you will have to organise packing materials such as boxes, bubble wrap, tape and labels.

These kinds of things almost always take more time and effort than you may believe.

Final bills to pay off

£50 to £1,000

You will need to pay for all your utility bills (gas, electricity and water) right up to the date you move out.  Remember to take meter readings on the day you leave the property permanently.

The same goes for Council Tax.  These days, you can usually visit your local authority website and advise of your move out date or email them.

Remember to also redirect your post (check).  To avoid any unexpected bills or even late payment penalties, it’s worth leaving your contact details with the buyer.

Taxes to Pay When Selling Your House

Taxes to Pay When Selling Your House

Taxes to Pay When Selling Your HouseTaxes to Pay When Selling Your House = 0% to 28% of Profit

Most homeowners do not pay tax when selling.  This is due to Principle Private Residence (PPR) relief which states that you will be entitled to not pay any tax, provided that:

  • The property has been your only or main residence throughout your period of ownership;
  • You have not rented it out.  If you have had lodgers at the property, it’s worth checking with an accountant as it’s a slight grey area;
  • You have not been absent, other than for permitted reasons such as holidays, work-related trips etc.;
  • No part of your home has been used exclusively for business purposes.  This includes working from home using a room that is not exclusively used for business purposes.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

This will be payable if you make a financial gain (or profit) when you sell your property that is not your main home, or Principle Private Residence.

The most common capital gains liabilities arise from the sale of a buy-to-let property (tenanted or untenanted), second and holiday homes.

You’ll also be liable if you’re selling an inherited property, land or use your property as business premises (even partially).

You will not need to pay CGT on gifts to a spouse, civil partner or a charity as well as if the property was occupied by a dependent relative.  There may also be some tax relief if the property is owned as a business asset.

You will have to report and pay Capital Gains Tax within 30 days of the property sale.

Calculating Your Capital Gains Tax Liability

Use this Gov.UK calculator to calculate your Capital Gains Tax.

Your Capital Gains Liability, in most cases, is essentially the difference between the price you paid for the property and the end sales price.

The percentage charged will depend on which tax bracket you (and other owners) lie within.

However, remember that you will be able to deduct and estate agency or auction fees as well as extensive refurbishment costs and Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT).   It’s, therefore, crucial to keep all the receipts and invoices.  Note that small-scale jobs such as painting, decorating and maintenance would not count.

Note that you will also have a CGT allowance every year (which you can claim twice if you own a property with a spouse).  It’s also worth exploring other reliefs with a suitably qualified accountant (who will be able to advise on specific solutions based on your overall financial circumstances.

Costs to Encourage Buyers

Costs to Encourage Buyers

Costs to Encourage BuyersCosts to Encourage Buyers = £500 to £25,000

Much will depend on whether you’re in a seller’s market (i.e. one where there is a high level of demand / more buyers than sellers).   This will mean that you should not have as tough a time selling.

We won’t go into what you should do if you’re struggling to sell in this post (see some tips on how to sell your house here).  However, if you find yourself in a buyer’s market, after checking that your property is priced realistically, you may think of incentivising buyers in some way.

More common amongst new build developers, attempting to offer your buyer some extra can sometimes tip the balance in your favour.  It will be a case weighing up the cost against the benefit.  Indeed, adjusting the price downwards is often a simpler solution.

Here are some potential ideas (alongside their potential costs):

  • Pay or part-pay the buyer’s legal fees (£500 to £2,000 + VAT)
  • Paying for removals (£500 to £5,000 + VAT)
  • Contribution to stamp duty payment (check stamp duty costs here)
  • Leaving furniture or providing a furniture pack (£1,000 to £20,000)
  • When selling a rental property, offering extras such as paying admin costs / deposits and other overheads (£500 to £2,000)
  • ‘Gifts’ such as household appliances and even cars (yes, it’s been done before!)

Other House Selling Costs (Depending on Your Situation)

Other House Selling Costs (Depending on Your Situation) There may be additional costs to consider if you’re selling under specific circumstances, some of which we have highlighted below:

Selling a Tenanted Property

Possible (Additional) Costs = £500 t0 £5,000

If you’re selling a tenanted property, you will have additional costs to think about:

  • If the tenant remains in the property when selling, the price you’re likely to achieve is likely to be lower;
  • Although you are likely to receive the proceeds of sale (assuming there is equity), you may be losing rent  during the sales period if the property is vacant;
  • Tenanted properties tend to be in worse condition compared to owner-occupied homes.  There may be extra costs to bring the property to a presentable / saleable condition.

Check calculator

Remember that you will almost like have a Capital Gains Tax liability (see above) as a buy-to-let property is almost always classed as second home.

Selling to Stop Repossession

Possible (Additional) Costs = £100 to £3,000

If you are selling your property in order to stop repossession, there may be some extra costs to bear in mind – namely:

  • Clearing mortgage arrears
  • Mortgage lender penalties
  • Early Redemption Charges (ERCs) (see above)
  • Court fees (namely filling the N244 and N11M forms)
  • Solicitor fees (for assistance in halting repossession proceedings)

There are also likely to be mortgage exit fees and early repayment charges (discussed above).

Note that if you sell directly to Property Solvers’ We Buy Any House service, we would cover these costs (whilst stopping the repossession process, regardless of what stage you’re at).

Selling an Inherited Property

Possible (Additional) Costs = £1,000 to £25,000

When selling an inherited property, you may have associated costs related to the probate process.

Although often the same solicitor’s firm will deal with the conveyancing, they’re unlikely to offer you any kind of discount

Much will indeed be based on how organised the affairs are, whether there was a Will in place and how far along the process you are.

Selling a Problem Property

Possible (Additional) Costs = £3,000 to £25,000

A problem property is one where certain issues appear that interrupt a smooth sale from happening.

Much will depend on the extent of the problem and whether it goes beyond dealing with repairs and maintenance described above.  Structural issues, Japanese Knotweed and damp are some of the more serious concerns that sometimes get flagged up – often during the survey process.

Should this situation arise, you’ll often find first-time or cautious buyers may well pull out of the sale.

In these circumstances, you may well decide to take the property off the market whilst you resolve the situation.  Alternatively, it may be worth negotiating with the buyer.

For example, you may choose to get three quotes for the remediation works and offer to deduct the cost from the final purchase price.  Note that, as long as there is mutual consent, the property purchase price can be changed during the conveyancing process.

Selling Commercial Property or Land

Possible (Additional) Costs = £3,000 to £25,000

Selling a commercial property almost always comes with complications, and therefore costs.

Buyers often wish to know that certain conditions will be met prior to the exchange of contracts.  This often means that solicitor fees will be higher than normal residential sales.

Selling After Divorce / Separation

Possible (Additional) Costs = £1,000 to £10,000

Selling a property after a divorce should not come with any significant extra costs compared to a normal sale.

Where you and your ex-spouse may face financial burdens are more often around how the proceeds of the house sale are distributed.  Much, unfortunately, depends on how acrimonious the split is.