Pretty much every homeowner at some point has looked in the estate agent’s window to see how much the house down the road is on for, or even put their postcode into an online valuation tool to see how much their property is worth. Often this is just out of idle curiosity, but having a good idea of your home’s value is important, even if you’re not planning on selling any time soon. Similarly, if you’re buying a new home, being clear on the true value of a property means you can be confident your offer is fair, and you won’t end up overpaying for a home with hidden issues.
Why is my home’s value important?
Your property is likely the most valuable asset you own, so keeping on top of any changes in its value should be part of your long-term financial planning. If, for example, you were considering borrowing against your home to carry out renovations, the amount of equity you have could have an impact on the amount made available to you. Or, if you’re planning work on your house, it’s sensible to look at how much similar properties have sold for, to ensure the project makes financial sense. You may also need to value a property to determine any tax liabilities when applying for probate or undertaking divorce proceedings or if you want to purchase more equity in a shared ownership property.
Of course, the biggest reason for being clear on the value of a property is when you’re buying or selling. Fortunately, there are several ways to find this information with tools that offer everything from a rough guideline to a comprehensive appraisal of the value.
Where to look for valuation information
1. Online valuation tools
This will be the first step for many people, and they can be a great way to get a rough idea of how much your home is worth or how much you can expect to pay for a property in a specific area. Not only that, but they’re quick, free and simple – you only need to know the address to get a valuation. However, while these tools take into account information such as how much the property previously sold for and how much similar houses in the area have gone for, they don’t consider the state of the property, renovations, extensions and the like, and so should only ever be used as a guide.
2. Ask an estate agent
As you begin to think more seriously about selling your home, many people will speak to an estate agent and ask them to provide a more accurate valuation. As well as looking into local property prices and recent sales activity, the agent will also consider both local amenities and the actual property making it more specific than an online tool. For example, the agent will take into account local schools and transport links as well as the condition of the property and any unique features or development opportunities that an online tool simply wouldn’t be able to see.
Of course, it should be remembered that the purpose of an estate agent’s valuation is to convince the seller to list the property with them, so valuations may not always be achievable. Indeed, agents may value the property higher than expected with the intention of later dropping the price in order to achieve a sale. In the valuation letter, the agent will often include a suggested price to market the home and the price they think it’ll sell for – and these can vary by tens of thousands of pounds.
3. Have a professional valuation
So, if you want an accurate and clear valuation, calling in a RICS registered chartered surveyor is the best way forward. By choosing a qualified and impartial surveyor, you’ll receive a comprehensive, evidence-based valuation and, if anything in the report isn’t clear, you’ll be able to speak to your surveyor for clarification and advice. It should also be noted that RICS valuations are the only valuations that most banks accept.
As part of the process, the valuer will assess the way the property was built, its size, location and condition. They will also consider how the property compares to similar homes that have recently been sold nearby and supply and demand in the area. Any major issues or defects that affect the value will be highlighted, giving you all the information you need to avoid a poor investment.
Crucially, the evidence used during these assessments will be documented to clear how the valuation was reached. For additional transparency, the surveyor will also note any assumptions they made and any limitations to their valuation.
The Novello Approach
Whether you need a capital gains tax valuation, a probate valuation, a right to buy valuation or if you simply want to know that the price of a property is accurate, Novello has a team of professionals on hand to help. Our valuations will deliver the information you need to know in a straightforward and timely manner, potentially saving you thousands of pounds.
We pride ourselves on taking a partnership approach and will ensure you are kept informed every step of the way. And we’re always on hand should you need further input and advice.