How much is my house worth?
Everyone wants to sell their house for its maximum value – and all too often estate agents are chosen simply on the basis of whichever gives the biggest initial valuation.
This can be a big mistake. An overpriced house will put off some potential buyers before they’ve even stepped foot inside the property, and could result in a long wait before any offers come in. 60% of properties sell via the second estate agent they’re listed with, precisely for this reason.
So how do estate agents arrive at a price that not only realistically reflects just what the property is worth, but also maximises what the seller can achieve for it?
One of the major factors that can drive up the price of a property is the actual area it’s situated in. Proximity to good transport links, schools and parks, but there are also other considerations. People talk about the ‘Waitrose effect’ – what that means is that if there are lots of upmarket shops and restaurants around it suggests the demographic of that area is more affluent. In a nutshell, premium brands tend to be in premium locations. And that means houses nearby are more desirable.
Almost any improvements that have been made to a property will raise the value, particularly if they’ve been carried out to a high specification. At the top end, this can mean real luxury additions like personal gyms or swimming pools, but for the rest of us, even something as simple as keeping period features will help a higher valuation.
Providing they’re in good condition, people are prepared to pay a bit more for things like sash windows or original fireplaces or at the more extreme end, thatched roofs etc. Period properties tend to generate a premium.
Aside from the obvious considerations, such as keeping the place clean, tidy and well maintained there are other aesthetic factors that can help raise the value of a property. Houses that are close to water always achieve a little more, in the same way that hotel rooms with a sea view cost more, so it’s generally true that houses close to the sea, a river or a lake do better. The same goes for any property with a great view… whether it’s the rolling countryside or in a city, a local park.
Assuming the property hasn’t already been extended, the simple fact that it has the potential to be improved can help with the price. This idea of a property’s potential isn’t simply confined to its own physical limits. People talk of ‘up and coming areas’ and that can mean property prices are on the rise or will be shortly. Even in traditionally grittier neighbourhoods, evidence of developers moving in, of new shopping centres being built nearby, or of general improvements all drive up prices significantly.
Finally, the ambience of a property can be a factor in determining its value. Generally speaking, families tend to keep houses in better shape. People who have put down some roots in a property generally look after it more and something as simple as that can help raise the price. A house that’s been loved and cared for will always be more attractive to any buyer.