As my wife and I recently found out, buying a house is the most expensive thing that we will ever purchase.
This wasn’t a surprise. In fact, it’s pretty obvious.
The surprising element for us was the source of the expense. It wasn’t the cost of the house itself; we had researched the neighborhood for years and knew how much it would roughly cost.
Instead, it was the hidden expenses. To give a few examples (and trust me, there are many more):
- Moving fees*
- Legal fees
- Estate agent fees
- Postal fees*
- The new home fees*
- The energy fees*
As you can see, I’ve put an asterisk next to a lot of the areas. These are the costs that we found we could influence and could save money on.
There are also ones that we couldn’t move. Unfortunately, the legal and estate agent fees were set and there was little we could do. We more than made up for things in other areas.
Let’s start with the moving fees. This was something we thought long and hard about. The moving industry is pretty cut-throat; there’s a lot of money to be made for companies. We knew this from the outset and knew we had to act early. As such, we took matters into our own hands and created our own process:
- We didn’t hire an external company; we hired our own van and a crate of beer. The van was manned by four of our closest friends, who worked together to make our move as seamless as possible. As for the beer, this was a celebration and reward for the end of the day.
- What about packing? Professional removal firms can do a great job with this, we have no doubts about that from what we were told. Unfortunately, they charge a small fortune, so we read this guide, armed ourselves with supermarket cardboard boxes and did it ourselves.
Next on the list is postal fees – and this is a simple one. Again, be prepared, and start to contact all friends and companies who correspond to your existing address. If you don’t, you’ll have to sign up to a mail redirection service, and this just adds to your costs.
The most surprising cost-cutting exercise came from our new home. When we moved in, we could have fallen into the classic trap of buying new furniture to fit our home. This was something that we were determined not to do. Instead, we did the following to make our new home feel “new”:
- We decorated before we arrived. We knew if we left it, it would never get done. Walls that were chosen by us were the easiest and quickest way to make our own stamp on our property.
- We bought fresh flowers from Avas Flowers. Avas Flowers operate in our new area and brought a sense of freshness to the main rooms in our home. There’s a really good page full of Avas Flowers coupons over here.
- We didn’t fall into the cardboard box trick. We both took annual leave from work and made sure there were absolutely no boxes unpacked two weeks after we had completed our move.
Finally, let’s talk energy. When we first moved in we were contacted by the company who were already supplying energy who were offering us a new tariff.
As it turned out, after a bit of research, this was hugely expensive. Furthermore, by going with said company, we would miss out on valuable cashback offers (that pay over one month’s supply of gas and electric). Again, it was about being prepared and looking in advance – which is really the moral of any cost-cutting, moving story.