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How To Work Out Your Own Property Valuation

Feb 6, 2008
If you're thinking about moving house in the next 12 months, the first thing you'll want to know is: just how much is my home actually worth?

A sensible first step to answering that question is to get three local estate agents in. If you pick agents that have been recommended to you, or have a great reputation locally, you should get a property valuation from each that are roughly in the same price bracket.

There are a couple of tricks to watch out for. Be aware if they ask you what you think the house is worth. Some agents do this not only to find out which of their competitors have valued the property and how much for (so ensuring they can top it by a few thousand), but also what your expectations are. A bad agent will encourage you to list the house for sale at less than its true property valuation, in the hope of a quick sale.

Another trick is when they push you for the reasons behind your move. Again, unscrupulous agents can use this reason as leverage. If you need to sell quickly because of a job move, they could use it down the line to lever a price drop from you - or worse encourage you to under or over-price the property to start with. You can have realistic timescale discussions with agents once the sale process is under way, and there are prospective buyers visiting.

On top of getting agents in, there is a way that you can work out your own property valuation, by combining information that is freely available on the internet with your own research. Most agents give a fair opinion of the likely property valuation of your home, but it's prudent for you to check yourself - especially now that so much information is available to you via the internet.

Here are a number of things you should do to put an accurate property valuation figure on your home. Make sure you do them before you talk to estate agents, so your opinion isn't influenced by the valuations you are given.

Find out what the market is doing

Keep up-to-date with property news for a few months before you plan on putting your home up for sale. Because it seems to be a national obsession, you will soon work out what's happening to the market. Often the national picture can be a little different locally, so get in the habit of buying your local newspaper and checking the property pages. Don't base your opinion on one piece of news. There are many firms and organisations that do surveys and release information on the state of the property market. Keep notes of what you read and look back at the overall picture after a number of months.

Pound the pavements

Visit local estate agents, tell them you are considering selling your house and ask them what's happening with the local market. Most will be happy to help, particularly if you pop in during a quiet time. Whatever they tell you - ask for evidence, in the form of recent properties sold, reductions in house prices, etc. Again you are looking for trends across a number of agents rather than evidence from one.

Look at what's sold recently

The Land Registry collects data about every property that is sold in the UK. Three months after the sale it releases the price paid. That's gold dust, as you can look at similar properties to yours in the area and how much they sold for. Be aware that sales more than 12 months old will have old data that's really no good to you. And make allowances about how things like a conservatory or a new kitchen will make a difference in the property valuation. You can access Land Registry data with a simple internet search.

Look at what's for sale now

Search through property portals for similar properties. This is your best indication of what your house could be worth. Also look through local newspaper's property pages for more information about local homes for sale.

Remember, a little research will not only make your sale easier, but could even get you a higher property valuation resulting in more cash in your pocket.
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