Some high street estate agents might will tell you that online agencies either use an automated valuation service or – even worse- that they just take a guess. They will also explain that, unlike them, they have little to no local knowledge or concept of the variations within your particular area; this is, of course, in most cases, untrue. Their motive is to stop you from investigating these agencies because they are cheaper.
There is no exact science with regards to valuing a property; many factors can make a difference, even between identical houses in the same street. As buyers rely on their emotions, that favourite expression which is music to a seller’s ears, “the Christmas tree can go there”, is indicative of this. More often than not the buyer’s heart will rule their head, but a house is still only worth what someone is prepared to pay for it.
The Valuation Procedure – The Exterior
When signing up with an online agency, they will offer you several different options or packages. One of these will include a valuation and/or accompanied viewings, usually at an extra, but still very reasonable, cost. Any agency that offers this will have someone who is knowledgeable and up-to-date with your local property market. Called a Local Property Expert, they will live in the area and know all the plus and minus points, such as schools, shops and public transport. They will visit your property and assess the following:
- Do properties in your street sell quickly?
- What price have properties, comparable to yours, recently sold for?
- What is the average selling price of properties in your town/village?
- Does your house have good kerbside appeal?
- Is the street and the neighbourhood neat and tidy?
- Does the exterior of your house need work?
- Is there off-road parking and/or a garage?
The Local Property Expert will also check whether your house has double glazing and if there is the possibility to extend, should a potential purchaser wish to do so. Once the exterior inspection has been completed and photos taken, they will then want to view the interior.
The Interior Valuation
The condition will dictate a level of value in case money needs to be allowed for essential works and renovation. The number of bedrooms and their sizes will also affect the price, as well the condition of the kitchen and bathroom. Decoration is not so important as long as the walls are in good condition and free of Artex and woodchip paper. However, it is advisable, if possible, to have a neutral décor – not necessarily to increase the valuation, but to help with saleability. Your Local Property Expert will also look at:
- Whether the rooms have a pleasant aspect
- Are the rooms a good size?
- Is the house well insulated?
- What type of heating does it have?
- Is the entrance hall light, airy and welcoming?
- Does the kitchen and/or bathroom need replacing or updating?
- Are the windows and doors in good condition?
You will have noted by now, that, in fact, an online estate agency valuation is carried out in exactly the same way as a that of a high street estate agent. The biggest difference will be in the price that you will pay to achieve a sale. It is always good to get more than one valuation, so use both to ascertain a price that will find you a good, reliable buyer.