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The hidden costs of moving house

Dec 29th, 2011
The hidden costs of moving house
Dec 29th, 2011

Naturally the biggest outlay you’ll make when moving house is the purchase price of your flash new pad, and you probably know about the costs of paying a removalist and connecting your utilities. But there are number of other costs that you’ll need to consider when making the move.

Stamp duty

Stamp duty is essentially a government charge payable on certain official documents. In the case of property, these document cover ownership transfers and agreements for the sale. The amount of stamp duty payable on properties varies wildly in different states and territories, so make sure you consult your state government’s treasury website to get an idea of the cost.

Stamp duty also varies based on the cost of the property being bought but there are some concessions available for first home buyers.

It is crucial to find out the cost of stamp duty in your area before buying as this could add a significant cost to your move – for example, stamp duty on a $350,000 property in South Australia is around $14,000, while in NSW stamp duty on a property of the same value is around $11,000.


It’s easy to fall in love with a property when you view it, but the last thing you want is to move in and discover it is A: about to fall down due to dry rot or B: infested with the type of non-human inhabitants you don’t want to be sharing your dream home with.

Pest inspections can be relatively cheap, particularly when set against the cost of dealing with the problem after the property is purchased.

For a building inspection, make sure you use a licensed consultant. This can cost up to $1000 depending on the size of the property, but again, the cost is dwarfed by the prospect of dealing with a potentially major building issue later. If you’re moving into a strata property, then it is advisable to have a strata inspection and check the strata corporation’s records.

Real estate agent’s fees

If you’re already a property owner and you’re purchasing and moving to a new home, there will be a commission to pay the agent selling your existing home. These vary and the quality of the service can vary too. Do your homework and find out if the agent’s service covers things like marketing in newspapers, letterbox drops and so on.

If you can’t bring yourself to pay an agent, you can handle the sale yourself. But again, make sure you do your research before embarking on this path, as it is a big job. If you’re a first home buyer, you don’t have to worry about paying commissions, so lucky you.

Legal costs

You’ll need to legally transfer ownership of the property you are buying or selling and for that you need a conveyance. The services of a conveyancing lawyer are generally under $1000 but check with a local solicitor as charges vary depending on which state or territory you are in.

Borrowing costs

Just when you thought you’d paid enough pesky fees…There may be a range of fees imposed by your lender such as application, valuing and settlement fees. Luckily, in a competitive environment you can use your haggling skills to get a better deal or at least get some of the fees waived.

You might also need mortgage insurance. Sounds like it protects you, but it actually protects the lender (although you pay for it). It’s also worth thinking about income protection insurance, but as always, speak to a qualified financial professional.



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