What do Estate Agents Look for When Valuing Your Home?

24th November 2016

Asking an estate agent to appraise your property is an important first step on the road to selling your home, and one that can be richly rewarding with the right preparation.

This may be the first time that you’ve been given an entirely subjective opinion on the value of your home, and will give you a realistic expectation of what you can expect to sell for - and therefore how much you can spend on your next big move!

A market appraisal isn’t just about naming a price, however - estate agents will also be looking at the best way to advertise your home, ensuring that you get plenty of viewings and the best possible offers.

It’s important at this point to choose an agent who you can trust to represent your best interests and find you the best price. You need to look out for extensive market knowledge, as well as a friendly yet professional approach.

Make sure that the estate agent you choose is familiar with your area of Brighton and Hove, as someone who works predominantly in other areas may not be accustomed to the local micro-market, and could skew the valuation accordingly.

While you’re getting a feel for your estate agents, however, they’ll be appraising your home. Get ahead of the game by learning what estate agents are most likely to look for during the appraisal process, and how you can increase their estimations.

Who is the space suited to?

When it comes to advertising a new property on the market, estate agents are keen to know how extensive and flexible the space is. A house that can be realistically marketed as a family home is often likely to sell at a higher price than one which can’t accommodate more than two people.

In order to convince estate agents that your home is flexible enough to be used by a family, a couple or a single occupant, consider making the most of any extra space you have. The space under the stairs could double as a small study area, for example, while added storage will definitely grab attention when it comes to settling on a value.

Properties with multiple bathrooms are also far more likely to support a growing family, which is often a concern for first-time buyers. If you have the budget, adding a small en-suite could significantly increase the value of the property.

How is the decorative order?

When it comes to selling a home, the phrase about not judging a book by its cover doesn’t always apply. Any decorative issues, ranging from clutter and scuffed walls to stained carpets and chipped paint, could alter an estate agent’s gut feeling about the property - not to mention potential buyers’ opinions later down the line!

It could be that when investigating minor issues around the house, you discover some more pressing issues - for example, a stain on the ceiling could be a symptom of a leaky pipe from the floor above. It is important to investigate any such issues before the appraisal, as suspicion of leaks or damp may cause estate agents to drop their overall estimate.

Once a buyer has chosen your home, they will call in a property surveyor of their own. If they then pull out of the sale due to issues outlined by the surveyor, you could lose up to £3,000 - so investing in these repairs early on will certainly save you money in the long run!

Is there an outdoor space?

A garden, patio or even a balcony can drive up property prices. Advertising outdoor space can offer added value and secure a place on potential buyers’ ‘must view’ lists, so estate agents will be keen to make notes on any such space you have when they come to do their appraisal.

While the larger the space the better, a small South-facing garden or terrace can also generate a lot of interest. Regardless of the size and orientation of the garden, however, it needs to be well looked-after. Mow the lawn, plant up some colourful pots or break up a bare wall with a climbing plant and trellis to impress your estate agent and all potential viewers.

Is there potential for remodelling?

While it’s not something that a home seller necessarily has control over, potential for expansion or modification is a big seller when it comes to expanding families and long-term buyers. When conducting an appraisal, estate agents will find out whether the building is listed or in a conservation area - both of which are scenarios that would make modification difficult for future buyers.

Larger properties give options for internal modification, such as converting an attic or cellar space into an extra bedroom, while a large garden offers potential for a permanent extension, conservatory, or summer house.

If you are able to achieve planning permission for particular alterations prior to the appraisal, this is also a factor that can be mentioned in listings to drive up viewings and offers.

What is the immediate neighbourhood like?

It’s not just your home that’s under scrutiny during an appraisal - it’s your street as well. Homes situated on well-maintained, quiet streets with visible greenery and limited traffic will rank more highly in an estate agent’s evaluation than those near main roads and noisy bars.

While you can’t change your home’s surroundings, knowing a little about the local area can be of use to the estate agent carrying out an appraisal. For example, information about public transport options, local schools and amenities as well as the nearest green and open spaces could prove important. While an estate agent with local expertise will have many of these facts to hand, offering your personal take on the quality of life in the area is a positive step toward a higher property price estimate.

If you would like our property experts to carry out a free market appraisal and advise on the recommended sale price for your property, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. You may also be interested in our guide to adding value to your property - with tips for all budgets.

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