If you’re planning to sell your house, one of the first steps is to find out how much it’s worth. Perhaps you have no desire to sell but are curious to know how much equity you have accrued since purchasing the property? An estate agent can give you a property valuation, often at no charge and with no commitment to use their service. But there are other ways to find out the current market value of your home.
In this guide, we’ll explore how to value a house — the options available to you and the practical steps you’ll need to take.
When Should You Get Your House Valued?
Most people get their home valued when they decide to sell. However, there may be other reasons to seek a valuation, for example:
- You’re considering raising funds via equity release
- You’re adding or changing an insurance policy and need an accurate valuation
- You want to switch mortgage type or provider
- You’re considering moving and need to know your financial situation
- You wish to transfer ownership of your property
If you’re selling the house, getting an accurate valuation is one of the first things you should do. Until you know how much the property is worth, you will not be able to market it.
Why Is House Valuation Important?
Getting an accurate valuation of your home will help you set a realistic asking price. Research has shown that properties that are priced right the first time are twice as likely to sell. Setting an asking price that is too high and then being forced to reduce it, is likely to result in delays, extra costs and stress for the seller.
An accurate valuation will help you to make informed decisions about financing options, such as switching mortgages or taking out a new insurance policy.
What Happens During a Property Valuation?
If you opt to get your house valued by an estate agent the process will be fairly standard across agencies. The agent will schedule an appointment to visit your home. They will need to see the whole property, which will include walking around the exterior and looking at the garden.
During the valuation, the property owner must be present. The agent is likely to ask questions such as:
- How much did you pay for the property?
- How long have you lived in the house?
- Have you conducted any major renovations?
- Are there any problems you’re aware of?
It may be tempting not to reveal those noisy neighbours or the spot of damp you keep covered with a large picture, but this will cost you in the long run. Any issues that are concealed will lead to an inaccurate valuation, which will impact the speed of sale (or the financing decisions you make). Furthermore, problems that are concealed during a valuation are likely to come to light during the survey, which will mean delays and expense further along the sales process.
You will not be expected to make any decisions regarding the house sale at a valuation. Once the estate agent has viewed the property, they will either give you a valuation there and then or send through a report following their visit.
How to Prepare for a House Valuation
Treat the valuation as if it were you viewing with a prospective buyer. Make sure your property is clean, tidy, accessible and looking its best. A few simple and quick ways to prepare for a valuation are:
- Remove clutter — this will help create a sense of space.
- Clean and tidy the house — there’s no need for a professional deep clean, but the house needs to be presentable.
- Neaten up the outside — mow the lawn and put children’s play equipment away.
- Ensure that all areas are accessible — remove items or furniture that block or partially obstruct entryways and storage areas.
- Have relevant paperwork to hand — not all agents will ask for this, but it’s better to be prepared. Examples of paperwork that might be helpful are documents detailing renovations you’ve had done, maintenance charges or planning permission obtained.
- Write down any questions you have — a valuation isn’t just for the agent to ask you questions, it’s an opportunity for you to gather information too. Jot down any queries you have about the process before the agent arrives to avoid forgetting anything.
It’s advisable to get at least three valuations from different agencies to ensure an accurate understanding of how much your house is worth. Some estate agents will give you a high valuation to secure your business, but this could result in a slower sale if the price needs to be reduced in the weeks to follow. Do your homework and get an understanding of the going rate for your type of property and location to help you choose the best valuation and set a realistic asking price.
If you have the time and budget to complete home improvements before putting your house on the market, there are various ways you can add value to your home.
How to Value Your Property Yourself
If you’re prepared to put in the time and effort, you can get a good idea of how much your house is worth by conducting your own research online. A property’s value will be affected by a number of factors including its type and condition, the potential for improvement, flood risk, location, proximity to amenities and the current market conditions.
- Check out how much your neighbour’s house sold for — use a property portal such as Rightmove to find out how much local — search up to ¼ of a mile from your home — properties similar to yours are on the market for or have recently sold for. Remember to look at comparable properties — don’t compare a two-bed terrace with a 2-bed detached house with a garden. Research how many properties are “sold” and how many are still on the market. If a property has been on the market for some time without selling, it might be priced too high. It can be tempting to focus on the higher-priced properties when deciding which valuation to accept, but it’s important to consider the range of properties that are selling, from the lowest to the highest-priced. This will give you a good idea of what is a realistic asking price and will help you to choose between estate agents.
- Use online tools and calculators — for example, the Nationwide House Price Calculator gives an overview of price changes in different areas. To get a free house valuation from House Buyer Bureau, type your property’s address into the search bar and click “Get Your Cash Offer”.
- Get an overview of the current market — use the Land Registry’s UK House Price Index to view recent selling prices for your area and nationally. This will give you an idea of how quickly properties are moving in your locality and how much you can realistically expect to sell your house for. Halifax shares useful research into house prices which updates more frequently than the Land Registry — however, the figures are based on mortgage approvals, which do not always result in sales.
- Consider housing market forecasts — the housing market has been experiencing a mini-boom since the end of the first lockdown in May. However, many property experts are forecasting a fall in the number of house sales and prices next year as the stamp duty holiday comes to an end and unemployment rises. Understanding the current market and expected changes in the months to come should form part of a property valuation. HousePriceCash.co.uk provides statistics and predictions on price trends that can help sellers to value their property accurately.
- Use property heat maps — these are a great visual tool for understanding property values in your local area. Sites like Mouseprice invite you to enter your property’s postcode to find out if you’re living in a property hotspot or not. You can view the local area on a map that shows areas in different colours depending on their market “heat”.
If you want to know how much your property is worth and fast, get in touch with our team of house cash buyers today. We’ll give you a fair price from the start. We pride ourselves on offering an honest and transparent service — we will gladly explain how we reached the amount we offer you. Start typing your address and click “Get Your Cash Offer” to find out how much your home is worth.