How much is my house worth? Secrets of property valuations

How much is my house worth? Secrets of property valuations

Property valuations have never been more important as new figures suggest that the average London house price will reach £1m by 2020. But sometimes less is more. Here we look at the fine art of pricing a house to sell faster.

When putting your property on the market, one of the determining factors, apart from the general appeal and presentation of your home, is the price. An accurate valuation may make the difference between a sale and no sale. It will affect the length of time the property sits on the market, too.

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There are few more emotive issues than house prices. They are often the topic of discussion between owners and agents. After all, this is your home; a place where you have experienced highs and lows, perhaps raised a family and enjoyed daily life. An accurate valuation sets aside these emotional aspects and offers a realistic snap shot of what your property is worth, taking into account market conditions, recent sales in the area, demand, and the intricacies of the sale.

The current property climate makes the valuation even more important as prices are rising once more. Recent figures from Rightmove predict that average house price in the capital will rise to £1m by 2020.

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Clearly, a valuation from six months ago will not be representative of today’s values, so an up-to-date market estimate is essential. But bear in mind that while an agent may place a figure on a property, there is only one factor that determines the true price: the amount a buyer is willing to pay. Accept an unrealistically high valuation and you are likely to price yourself out of the buyers’ considerations, and consequently, out of the market. On property portals, you want to make sure your home sits in the right price bracket, too, so relevant buyers discover your home faster.

The process of making a valuation is both an art and science. For sellers, the correct price is essential for a successful sale. If the price is too high, then the owner is stuck with a house that can’t be sold, too low and they could lose out financially.

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But it is important to realise that a high valuation may be an indication of the agent’s desire to win an instruction, rather than a representation of the market value. There are several ways to avoid this situation. Firstly, do your research. Look into recent sales of similar properties in your neighbourhood. Some of these figures are available on Rightmove orZoopla. This should give you a rough idea of recent selling prices in your area.

Secondly, canny sellers often ask two or three estate agents to value their home. It is always tempting to opt for the highest valuation, then calculate how much your property has increased since you bought it.  But step back for a moment and consider all three prices carefully.

Cilybebyll, Pontardawe. FOR Swansea Life USE ONLY. Picture: Adam Davies/West Digital - 07813 130270

 










It is a matter of experience and opinion, but some homeowners will go with the agent who suggests a slightly lower guide price, perhaps in the middle of the three estimates. This is likely to generate more interest in the property and encourage a greater number of motivated buyers to view the property. If the house is priced too high, it might only receive a few viewings from the outset, then viewings may dwindle. This leaves homeowners frustrated, wondering what is wrong with their property. In many cases the pricing strategy is simply too high.

Wherever you live, the most important factor is to go with your instincts and select an agent you trust. They may not have the highest valuation, but they may just be the one that will sell your home faster.

5th Dec 2015

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