Valuation memories and discrepancies

After a morning of viewings and emails, the first valuation of the afternoon was on a little Bath street I know very well. Back in the day, it was the very road where I had to perform the “reversing around a corner” manoeuvre (apologies to younger readers) in my driving test, but I’ve also sold a couple of properties and let another on the street over the last few years. The houses on the road are pretty uniform in architecture terms so I wasn’t expecting too many surprises, but prepared a pack of comparables as always, plus examples of similar properties we have on the market at the moment.

estate agent valuation

After a chat and a full tour, I walked the owners through the evidence I’d brought of recent sales in the local area. They already knew about a really nice house on their road that had been on the market at the back end of last year (270k) but we also ran through eight other examples of similar homes on other roads within 1000 yards. I could tell from her questions that Mrs Seller was very well informed on the subject and she admitted a certain fondness for Rightmove on her iPad.

I told them I had two other valuation techniques to show them but that I was already leaning towards a value range around 260k – 270k. At that point, Mr Seller looked at his wife, turned to me and said, “Well, I’d better level with you. We asked you to come and see us because we know you’ve sold a lot of properties around here recently but also because we’ve had two other agents up and we really needed your opinion on our dilemma. You see, both of the other agents were very nice but one told us 250k and another said 310k – 320k”.

estate agent valuation

So far this year, I’ve been amazed at the huge increase in overvaluing in my area. Let’s face it, this isn’t by any stretch a new problem but the major lack in supply seems to have sent some agents into a desperation spiral – either that or bargain basement fees and the accompanying lack of service. However, this house definitely wasn’t one that I’d expect a roughly 22% valuation range on, especially since there was plenty of recent evidence available to public and professional alike. I knew from our chat these clients wanted a simple, stress-free move but I suspect the top estimate would have produced a very different outcome.

I don’t ask who else has valued a house (although some owners volunteer the info) and I don’t offer opinions on why they’ve said a certain figure – I’d rather stand by, and be judged on, my own performance. Today, we went on to run through two further valuation methods – rental yield calculations and a comparison with a similar home I have on the market right now (and have had offers on). Both of these techniques arrived at the same value range already indicated by the comparables, which is always reassuring.

These clients already had suspicions, as they’d done a decent amount of their own research and weren’t new to the property game. A simple summary of readily available facts from several angles reinforced their opinions and, when they’re ready, I bet they will set a sensible asking price.

Valuing a property (appraising) isn’t an exact science by any stretch but clients deserve to know agents have considered the “why” as well as the “what”. If you don’t get both or if you’ve got the same dilemma as above, maybe it’s time to ask for another opinion.

If you’re considering moving, there’s a huge amount of info available to help you get an indication of value even before you call agents for a valuation. I’ve never been much of a fan of Zoopla’s basic estimates but searching actual sold prices of houses you know is simple these days. For an extra bonus, Rightmove’s Sold Prices section shows you photos and floor plans of completed properties so you can work out if you’re comparing chalk with cheese. Land Registry reports detail price movements across areas every month and even watching boards change tells you who is being sensible and who isn’t.

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Madison Oakley