Bigger is not always better when it comes to property valuations

Tuesday 18th June 2013

Julian Lilley, director of Fine & Country Mayfair, explains why the highest property valuation doesn’t always come from the best estate agent.

Money may make the world go round, but in a recent survey by The Property Academy, the results showed that 77% of property vendors do not choose the highest valuation when selecting an agent to market and sell their property. There are two factors at work here. Most importantly, a higher valuation does not mean a faster sale.

In putting your property on the market, one of the determining factors, apart from the general appeal and presentation of your home, is the price. An accurate market valuation may make the difference between a sale and no sale, and will almost certainly affect the length of time the property sits on the market.

When it comes to selling there are few more emotive issues than the valuation of your property. This is your home; a place where you have experienced highs and lows, perhaps raised a family, and enjoyed the ins and outs of a daily life. It houses your memories, your achievements and your aspirations...and now you need to let go. A proper valuation sets aside these emotional aspects and offers a realistic picture of what your property is worth, taking into account the market conditions, recent sales in your area, demand, and the intricacies of the sale.

The current property climate makes the valuation even more important as prices have been fluctuating. A valuation from six months ago may not be representative of a current valuation, so an up-to-date valuation is vital. Bear in mind also that while a valuation may place a figure on a property there is only one factor that determines price; the amount the buyer is willing to pay. Accept an unrealistically high valuation, and you are likely to price yourself out of the buyers set of considerations, and consequently, out of the market.

The process of making a valuation is both art and science. For sellers the correct pricing is essential for a successful sale. If a valuation is too high a property may sit on the market for a considerable amount of time, too low and the you lose financially. Just like Goldilocks’ porridge, the valuation needs to be just right.

Clearly the valuation of your property is a vital constituent of the sale. It is important to realise that a high valuation may be an indication of the agent’s desire to win an instruction, rather than a representation of the true value of the property. You won’t be doing your property sale any favours by accepting an unrealistic valuation.

There are two basic steps to aid in avoiding this situation. Firstly, do your research. Look into recent sales of similar properties in your neighbourhood. Some of these figures are available on Rightmove and Zoopla. This should give you a rough idea of values. Secondly, go with your instincts and select an agent you trust. They may not have given the highest valuation, but they may just have given the right one


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