How To Avoid The Hidden Costs Of Moving House

Thursday, November 3, 2022


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Buying a new home is an exciting prospect. It’s easy to get caught up, imagining how good your new life is going to be. In fact, some people get so embroiled in the process that they are led purely by their emotions and rational calculation.

Unfortunately, the hidden costs of buying a home can be significant. Most buyers find the process more expensive than they initially imagine, forcing them to put their other plans on hold. In many cases, they’re not ever able to go on vacation because of the extra expenses they didn’t anticipate.

The good news is that you can avoid many of the hidden costs of moving home quite easily. Here’s what to do.

Look Out For Unexpected Fees

Most homeowners wind up paying unexpected fees when moving out. The typical cost is mostly accounted for, but there are extras that many people forget about. For instance, a lot of people don’t consider mortgage product fees. Unfortunately, many banks force you to pay a fee upfront to access particular mortgages. (Think of it as an administration charge). Then are additional conveyancing fees involved in transferring property ownership, and various fuel fees for moving from one location to another.

The key here is to factor in all these costs. In principle, they are all predictable so you should be able to budget for them. You can also look for lower-cost options to help tide you over.

The Cost Of Broadband

When you arrive at your new property, broadband may already be installed. If so, the previous owner probably already has a contract in place. To make life simple, most new owners simply take over the old contract and continue with it. But that’s actually a bad strategy. You can almost always find a better deal if you switch.

Existing Utilities

You’ll also want to consider switching to new utility providers. Again, the previous owner might not be on the best rates. You might end up paying more than you need to for electricity, water and gas.

The best way to find a good price is to use a price comparison website. These show you all the best deals upfront so you can make predictable payments, month after month. In many cases, you should be able to change the existing policy to something better. But, remember, most people won’t change suppliers because of inertia. They simply don’t want to adjust their spending habits.

Unfortunately, many companies now charge customers for switching. Therefore, you may have to pay some additional upfront fees. The good news, though, is that once you switch, your bills will be significantly lower.

Get A Survey

Surveys are optional in many places. Therefore, buyers sometimes consider skipping on them to save money. After all, they tell themselves, most houses are in pretty decent condition.

Unfortunately, skipping the survey is a bad idea in most cases, and it can really cost people. Failing to recognize cracks in ceiling plaster or dampness coming up from the basement can leave you with thousands of dollars worth of repairs in the future. You might have a little extra money today, but you will certainly pay for it in the future.

Remember, if the survey does throw up an issue, you can use that to negotiate a better price. Owners are often willing to charge less when they know you’ve uncovered their dirty little secret.

Most lenders will want to carry out a valuation survey to look for issues to ensure that the property is worth what you want to pay for it. Typically, these include this as part of the mortgage fee, but they may also require you to pay for it separately.

Use Cheaper Methods For Packing Your Belongings

Many movers spend a fortune on boxes, crates and moving supplies. Even for basic items, costs can run into hundreds of dollars.

The good news, though, is that there are plenty of cheaper options. For instance, if you know someone who recently moved, ask them if you can use their gear. Likewise, look for cheaper packing options, such as plastic tubs and trash bags for clothes.

If you live near a local grocery store, you might also want to ask them if they have any waste packing they don’t need. Usually, they will have commercial-grade items that are extremely durable and can hold a lot of items. Failing that, regular cardboard boxes and crates will suffice.

Book Your Furniture Removal In Advance

Don’t try booking furniture removal a week before you travel. That’s too little notice and companies will charge a premium, particularly if you are moving heavy or expensive items, like grand pianos. Instead, book everything in advance and shop around for the best deals.

Don’t necessarily go with the cheapest removalists. While their prices might be good, the care they show your belongings could be lacking. They may also use substandard packing materials that don’t protect your item during the move.

Watch Out For High Conveyancing Fees

Conveyancing fees can be expensive. There are all sorts of checks that you may need to do. For instance, there may be separate fees for title deed searches, bankruptcy searches, bank transfer fees, gifted deposits, property fraud checks and so on. Look for conveyancing firms that offer all of these services as part of a bundle, not individually. This way, they are usually significantly cheaper.

Avoid Mortgages With Teaser Rates

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Teaser-rate mortgages are popular. Banks and lenders try to draw people in with low rates and then charge them considerably higher prices after a couple of years or so. In general, you’ll want to avoid this type of mortgage. While the headline rate is attractive, the hidden fees can be substantial.

Before you take out a mortgage, use a mortgage calculator to see how much you could realistically borrow. Remember, today’s interest rates are significantly higher than they were just six months ago so your borrowing capacity may have changed, too. Lenders may, however, agree to pay some of your legal fees for you, so that’s always worth bearing in mind.

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