So you're booked to have your home valued by estate agents, how do they come up with that magic figure at the end of their appointment with you? As the saying goes "failing to prepare, is preparing to fail". So what exactly happens prior to a valuation?
Visualising your home before the appointment is always useful so we will have a look at google maps, aerial and street view, to try and "see" the property and its surroundings and plot size so when making comparisons, they are relevant.
We check our databases (and memory!) to see what we have seen or sold which might be comparable. These also include what the survey dept have valued for mortgage purposes. We also measure and record the gross internal area of each property we look at whether on a free valuation or mortgage survey so this can be compared to your home.
House prices websites are our next port of call for actual sold prices and dates from the land registry. We cross reference where possible with google maps and our databases to be accurate about what it is that has sold and if it is relevant to what we are going to look at. As well as checking the specific address, we will look at a wider area for other comparables as there may be streets/ developments with similar style properties in the vicinity.
Rightmove plus is the next stop, the estate agents version has a huge archive going back years. We can then look at both the specific address and on a wider basis analysing it against the othe rinformation we have so far. If possible we'll work out approx floor areas from floorplans if they are present in the Rightmove archive.
Doing all the above means that the valuation has started before even getting to your property and a price range is already becoming clear. It allows us to show you on the appointment a good range of comparable properties that are on market (the competition) and sold which any surveyor would likely use as benchmarks when looking at your home for a potential purchaser.
At your home consideration is then given to its specific location, surroundings, plot/garden size, accommodation, condition, quality of fixtures and fittings, special features, decor, presentation, layout, structure (i.e. no obvious defects), extensions, and relevant planning permissions/building regs.
When making comparisons we must also consider what fluctuations there have been in market prices since the previous sales in the area, whether there are any new factors in the surrounding area (e.g. proposed or existing developments) which may affect value in a positive or negative way. Is there a scarcity of that particular type of property at the moment compared to previously? How are levels of demand? Have we sold one where there was strong demand and people missed out therefore we know we have people ready and willing? All questions to be asked.
The process above is of course applicable on a high proportion of what we go and see. There are however times when we are asked for a valuation on something which is quite unique and individual and where the preparation done is not entirely relevant or always helpful. In those circumstances we have to fall back on experience, and gut feeling. Having worked in the area for a very long time, and having a very busy surveying department obviously helps in these cases!
There's lots of information to gather and process to ensure we get it right and it's more involved than most people realise. We have to assess and understand the value of everybody's property to make sure that we sell what comes onto the market and provide a good service. If you are looking to sell in the near future, do get in touch and arrange for us to come and see you.