If you’re thinking of selling your property, a big question you’ll want to answer is what it’s actually worth. Without having a decent idea here, you won’t really be able to judge what constitutes a good offer.
But how do you get an idea of the value of your property?
For many people, the first thing to do will be to look at a property portal like Rightmove or Zoopla to see what properties in their area are currently on the market for.
There’s an important thing to bear in mind here though - these are just asking prices, the amount that the vendor wants for their home. But a property is really only worth what somebody is willing to pay for it. Just because it’s on the market for £300,000, that doesn’t mean it will sell for anything close to that.
So don’t allow the asking prices to cloud your judgement on what your own property is actually going to fetch.
If you are looking for a bit more accuracy, then it’s worth having a look on the Land Registry. When a property is sold, the details are lodged with the Registry, so you can easily see precisely how much homes in your area - including your own - have sold for most recently.
Of course, that will only tell you what someone was willing to pay for the property when it was last sold. If it has been years since a house on your street has sold, then this won’t give you a particularly up-to-date insight.
Online property portals will often offer a free tool which will give you idea of what it’s worth. Take the ‘Zoopla estimate’, which is calculated using a “secret formula” which looks at a range of property data.
Similarly Rightmove has a price comparison report, which basically brings together current and historic prices from the portal, Land Registry and Registers of Scotland.
Barely a week goes by without some house price index being published in the national press. But are they much use?
Both Nationwide and Halifax’s index are based on their own lending activity, so they offer a fairly limited snapshot. Nationwide does have an online tool though which will give you a benchmark figure of what it might be worth.
The other big index comes from the Office for National Statistics and is the most accurate as it’s based on all sold figures registered with the Land Registry. The problem is that it’s published a month behind the others, so it’s usually out of date by the time it actually comes out.
Chances are you will have had a flyer through the letterbox at some point from an estate agent, offering you the chance at a free valuation of your property.
In truth, you’ll get no more than a ballpark figure here. The agent will have a look around the property and come up with a figure they say they could get, based on their experience of selling - or not selling - similar properties in the area.
If you plan to sell your home through a high street agent it’s generally recommended to get valuations from at least a couple of different agents, so that you can get an average value.
Perhaps the most accurate way to value your home is to call in a property surveyor. Bear in mind that this will cost you - a simple valuation could set you back a minimum of £250.
If you do want to go down this route, it’s important that you ensure you are dealing with a qualified professional. You should check they are members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, as they have to abide by a strict code of conduct. You can find a surveyor near you via the RICSfirms website.
Once you’ve gone through all of that hassle of working out what your property is actually worth, you then have to spend months trying to sell it through an estate agent, as well as cover all of the various costs that come with selling a property.
And after all that, you’ll likely have to accept a lower offer than what your put it on the market for.
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