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Value Your Home Like an Agent

Posted by Nigel Lewis on Saturday 11 June 2016

Nigel Lewis is a prominent property expert with 15 years experience. Previously of Zoopla and Prime Location, he’s well versed in all things property. Here he gives us his view on how to value your home like an agent.

Have you ever estimated what your possessions are worth? How much would that spare laptop fetch on Ebay, and maybe that painting you bought on impulse at an auction could be an undiscovered old master? How about your home? It’s probably your most valuable asset, but have you ever wondered how it’s valued?

Our home sale is probably the most significant sale we'll ever make so it is important to understand and feel comfortable the right price. Often at the point we need to value our home we feel clueless and so we outsource the thinking to someone else, perhaps thinking that this asking price figure is somehow uncovered by a secret mathematical formula that only a select few know. The reality is actually much more straight forward. The fact is, there's always an element of subjectivity in an asking price, this is why agents’ valuations tend to vary considerably. 

The price a home will sell for is completely down to the timing, who's on the market looking (the demand), how many other similar places are on the market (the supply) and how much an individual buyer is prepared to pay. A property value is, therefore, a mix of opinion, economics, what's sold nearby and at what price. 

The tools that agents use to help them decide on an asking price are online and available for anyone to use. This means you too can value your home like a pro.

 - Here’s my four-step guide on how.

1. Use your local knowledge

For starters, we all have curtain twitching tendencies and know what neighbouring homes have sold for recently. You will recall the drill; a For Sale board pops up on a nearby house and you dive on to Rightmove to see how much it’s on the market for.

How to do it: Visit Rightmove and type the full postcode of your street into the big box at the top of the page. Click Search and select the numbers of bedrooms on the next page. Also tick the box that says ‘include under offer, sold STC’ to get more results.

2. Do a little detective work

Pinpoint the homes on your road or nearby streets that are as close as possible to yours in age and size and then find out how much they sold for recently. This can be done on Zoopla which offers a ‘Sold Prices’ tab on its home page. It lists all the recently sold properties on any street and how much they have been sold for – for free.

3. Use one of the online valuation tools

Estate agents sometimes use industry software to value your home, but you can do it too on PropertyPriceAdvice.co.uk. After you fill in more details about your property and then press send it will give you three estimates - a lower, average and higher one.

How to do it: On the homepage of www.PropertyPriceAdvice.co.uk there’s a box on the left-hand side labelled ‘Free home valuation’. Enter your postcode and click ‘Start’ and then follow the five-step process – at the end of which the site values your home.

4. Find out if prices are rising locally

Agents often say they know the local growth pockets, but most of the information you’ll need is on the Rightmove Price Comparison tool. It enables sellers to compare both sold and for sale properties on nearby streets.

How to do it: Go to www.rightmove.co.uk/house-prices-in-my-area.html and type in your postcode – the site then reveals house price rises or falls in your area, by property type.

But the most useful one is a new, free Land Registry tool that enables you to research house price rises in your local area including by property type, monthly and yearly rises, trends and numbers of properties sold (or how ‘hot’ the market is).

How to do it: Go to http://landregistry.data.gov.uk/app/hpi/ and in the ‘select an area’ box put in your local authority or area - for example, ‘Greater Manchester’ and then tick which information you would like to see. Scroll down the page a bit and then click the ‘show full results’ button.

So hopefully you now know approximately what your house is worth. But which end of the price range should you try? Too high and you’ll struggle to get offers, too low and you might sell for less than you hoped for.

These are the main factors to consider:

Time of year – most homes are sold in the New Year, Spring and Autumn, which is when demand will be highest and asking prices most likely to be achieved – or exceeded.

Number of properties for sale – are there a lot of ‘For Sale’ boards locally and online? If so you’re up against stiff competition and the market is oversupplied. So if you want a quick sale, a mid-range price might be best.

House prices – are they rising, or staying flat/dropping locally? Falling or flat-lining prices mean it’s a buyer’s market and you’ll need to be flexible. Rising prices mean demand is higher than supply, so you have the advantage – and you may get a higher price than you expected for your home.

So, with these simple tips, we know you can be valuing your home as good as the pros. Give it a go! 

If you need any help with your valuation or would like to chat with us about selling your home, give us a call on 0203 322 8417 - we'd love to hear from you.