So, you've decided to put your home on the market.
Now comes one of many big decisions you'll face during the process: Choosing an estate agent.
The first thing to do is invite a few local agents to your home to value it. A good agent will consider your aims and needs when valuing your property.
Is being able to move quickly more important than achieving a large sale price?
Or do you need to achieve the maximum selling price from your home to take the next step on the property ladder?
And what else will your chosen agent want to see during a valuation?
How do estate agents value property?
Here are the top-seven things we look for when valuing your home...
1. Decorative order and kerb appeal
It’s a fact that most house hunters decide on a property when they pull up in the car outside.
So, with that in mind, agents will firstly be looking at the kerb appeal of your home when undertaking a valuation.
Does it look welcoming and in good, solid order?
Or are the front garden and driveway a mess, or in need of work?
Once inside, they'll be looking at the decorative order of your home.
Is the paintwork immaculate and fresh?
Are the carpets in touch with the rest of the home's style and are they in good, clean condition?
Old, dirty carpets, chipped laminate, peeling wallpaper or a dated style can all bring down the value of your home, but can be relatively cheap to put right before it goes on the market.
2. Potential and how the property functions
Family buyers will almost always be looking for a real ‘heart of the home’.
That means a large, open plan kitchen and dining space with plenty of storage.
Of course, in reality not every home is blessed with the square footage to have a space like that.
But on a valuation viewing, your agent will also be looking at your property’s potential and often the scope for a large extension can be as exciting as an existing space, simply because a buyer will be able to make the property their own.
Our agents here at Partkers will look at the property's current square footage and then evaluate its potential square footage should extending be an option.
We also consider things like the property's location and age. If your home is in a conservation area or is listed, clearly the potential for expansion will be more limited and thus this may affect the value.
If you already have planning permission in place for an extension, this is a huge boost to the value.
3. Clutter and a feeling of space
Agents will get an idea of how spacious your home is when they walk through the door.
If it feels enclosed and claustrophobic, this could affect both its value and its appeal in the eyes of buyers.
Lots of clutter, internal walls and large pieces of furniture can also make a space feel smaller than it is.
At Parkers, we look for flexibility of the space. Will it work for a family with the current number of bedrooms and bathrooms and is there enough reception space?
A lot of 'space' comes from how well laid out the property is, how much light floods in and how your furniture is used.
Often, a few tweaks to the decor or some decluttering can improve the feeling of space without major work to the structure of the property.
4. Transport links and location
The location of your property and its proximity to transport links should also come into an estate agent’s thoughts when they’re valuing your home.
Even with working from home more common now than it used to be before the pandemic, a long commute or poor transport links can be a turn-off for many buyers.
On the contrary, a property close to good rail or road links can find its value and appeal increases.
Buyers buy because they want to enjoy their home.
And if they are stuck in traffic or on the train for hours commuting home from the office, this is not always possible.
On the other hand, if your home is within a five-minute walk to a mainline rail station, this would be hugely appealing to lots of buyers and the valuation would reflect that appeal.
5. School catchment areas
It’s estimated that buyers are willing to pay as much as £27,000 more for a property if it’s in catchment for a top state school.
That’s how important schools are to family buyers.
So, your estate agent will be looking at the catchments your home falls into when assessing its value.
Being close to a good school or schools can be a huge boost for your property's value.
Buyers put good schools right at the top of their wish lists when house hunting and properties nestled in good catchment areas can put a premium on their sale prices.
6. The competition
In a busy market, how your property compares to its immediate competition will be a key factor in how quickly it sells and for what price.
Properties that stand out on a valuation will almost certainly stand out on a property listing, too, meaning more buyer enquiries and more viewings.
That can mean a quick sale and a strong offer is on the table before you know it.
Our agents will go into a property with a keen eye for any unique features that make your property different from everything else on the market.
It could be a kitchen-diner extension or extra space on the driveway for two cars.
Perhaps you have converted your loft into an amazing master bedroom suite while other houses in the street have not or have built an office space at the bottom of the garden.
We will be looking for these stand-out features when considering the value of your home.
7. The area and plans for regeneration
The area your property is in is another big factor your agent will consider when valuing your property.
They should take into account things like:
- Crime rates
- Risk of flooding or natural fires
- Risk of subsidence
- How busy the road is
While all these things could potentially negatively impact your property’s value, plans for regeneration, new transport links or schools can make property values increase.
For example, the new Crossrail route from Reading to London has given property prices in certain Berkshire towns and villages a huge boost.