Moving house is a pretty expensive undertaking, as well as being one of the most stressful experiences you can put yourself through. For the frugal, moving house isn’t something to undertake lightly as it will eat up a chunk of money. If the reason for yearning to relocate can be fixed by building a garage or a shed, fitting a new kitchen or changing the layout of your rooms then it is always worth considering that first. But once you’ve decided that moving home is the only way to go how do you do this within a budget?
We made the decision to move from our Salford flat to somewhere more tranquil earlier this year; only closing all the roads would make Salford quieter, so finding a new place to live became the only option. Moving house wasn’t something we had budgeted for when we retired in 2017, we thought we would be in Salford until the end of our days but being comfortable where we live is important and fortunately we had the flexibility within our finances to spend the money we needed to.
We had always built in some contingency to our early retirement planning but mostly we were only able to afford a move because we had continued to live frugally in our retirement and because we had earnings from my travel writing. With two years experience of our spending in our retired life, we gave the savings we had left a good hard look, made a spreadsheet and planned what we could afford to spend on moving house. Our Morecambe home cost a tad more than our Salford flat and on top of this the process of moving home cost us £4,761. There isn’t much slack in our savings now [we can’t move again!] but we have retained that contingency fund and feel comfortable.
Below is where we managed to shave a bit off the cost of moving house.
Solicitors – £1,711
We are members of Unison and this gives us a discount with BBH Legal Services Ltd. There are cheaper conveyancing solicitors out there but cheap does not always mean the most efficient and helpful. During the process of selling our flat our chain was held up on more than one occasion due to the incompetence of a solicitors that offered a cheap online service and had clearly taken on more work than he could manage. Having a proficient solicitor is important in keeping the stress levels down during a move and in our experience BBH were always available and realistic and gave an excellent service at a reasonable cost.
Packing – £53
We saved money by doing the packing ourselves and also saved 75p per box by buying used cardboard boxes from a Manchester storage company. We don’t have lots of delicate trinkets but we have china plates, bowls and mugs. It turned out that large rolls of plastic bubble wrap were not necessary to protect these precious items. We bought 100 sheets of tissue paper from the storage company for £4 which was plenty and nothing got broken between Salford and Morecambe. After we had moved we advertised the boxes as being available online. Someone asked for them almost immediately and gave us wine and chocolates when we delivered the now third-hand boxes!
Removal firm – £662
Last time we moved house we hired a van and moved ourselves but this move was further and would have needed two trips as we now owned two sofas [so much for minimalism] so we decided to pay for the professionals. We shopped around for a good removal firm, asked for recommendations on local Facebook groups and eventually choosing a small firm in Morecambe. They were not only excellent, compared to Manchester-based companies, they were about £300 cheaper. They were also around £500 cheaper than the one large national firm we received a quote from. Every member of the company, from arranging a quote, to setting the date and moving our furniture, were friendly and efficient. Buying local and outside metropolitan areas can be cost saving.
Estate Agent – £2,040
Last time we moved house we didn’t use an estate agent but sold it ourselves, just paying a small fee to have the house advertised on the relevant websites. We did this because of the local market and we put a lot of work in ourselves leafleting locally and showing people around. Our flat was a different place to sell and we knew this time we needed the help of an estate agent. We considered three estate agents and did hire the most expensive of those three because they were local and we felt they knew the development we lived in best and would sell it to prospective buyers. We hoped this would lead to a successful quick sale of our flat. We saved £200 by refusing the premium listing cost they offered for better photographs and a highlighted listing online. The flat sold in just a few weeks but how much that was down to how we presented it [we worked hard to ensure it looked its best] and how much to the Estate Agent’s work is a bit of an unknown. Maybe it was team work!
Energy Performance Certificate – £45
We had to have one of these completed for our flat and we shopped around ourselves, rather than paying for one through the Estate Agent, saving ourselves £30.
Stamp Duty – £250
This is a fixed cost that relates to the price of the property you are buying.
I am sure we could have done this cheaper … have you?