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  1. Blog
  2. Estate agent valuations
Estate agent help and guides
18 February 2022

Estate agent valuations

Sam Edwards
Writer
Man in blue suit smiling and sitting in a chair.

Table of contents

  1. 1. What is an estate agent valuation?
  2. 2. Why should I get an estate agent valuation?
  3. 3. When should I get an estate agent valuation?
  4. 4. What determines property value?
  5. 5. What do estate agents look for?
  6. 6. Do estate agents give accurate valuations?
  7. 7. Should I get more than one estate agent to value my house?
  8. 8. How do I book a house valuation?
  9. 9. Why do estate agent valuations vary so much?
  10. 10. What to expect at an estate agent valuation appointment?
  11. 11. How to get a higher house valuation
  12. 12. FAQs

If you’re thinking of selling your home, you’ll probably have heard the term ‘valuation’ bandied around by like-minded homeowners. Valuations are a huge part of the homeselling process - in fact, property sales hinge on them. And as our most common source of property knowledge, high street estate agents generally offer the best. But what do valuations actually entail? And what makes one from an estate agent different from others?

What is an estate agent valuation?

It's when a property expert examines your property and estimates its worth. As the name suggests, it's carried out by an estate agent.

How is it different from a mortgage valuation or appraisal?

Though mortgage valuations and estate agent valuations end up with the same result (a price estimate of a property), they are markedly different from one another.

  1. First of all, they’re carried out by different experts. Mortgage valuations are carried out by a private surveyor company hired by a mortgage lender, whereas Estate agent valuations are carried out by estate agents.
  2. Secondly, they’re carried out for different reasons. Chronologically, an estate agent valuation is the first valuation you’ll do. The agent evaluates the worth of the seller’s property and the seller uses the estimate to determine an asking price.

When a potential buyer needs a mortgage to buy the property, a mortgage valuation is required. Once the buyer has agreed a purchase price with the seller, the buyer’s mortgage lender sends a surveyor round to evaluate the property and determine whether the purchase price warrants the loan.

  1. Thirdly, they differ in complexity and thoroughness. A valuation from an estate agent usually takes an hour, and involves an inspection of both the interior and exterior of the property. A valuation from a mortgage lender however, is essentially a drive-by glance at the property to validate the agent’s findings.

Why should I get an estate agent valuation?

If you want to know the value of your property it’s probably because you’re thinking of selling it. A valuation from an estate agent is the most effective way to determine the value of your property.

Estate agents are in the business of marketing and selling property. They use their years of experience and knowledge of local market conditions to negotiate property sales with potential buyers on behalf of homesellers. As such, a good local estate agent has an accurate idea of what makes a property valuable.

Three key reasons for getting a valuation done by an estate agent:

  1. Sets expectations: Their valuation figure determines how much you market your house for.
  2. More accurate: Local expert agents carrying out in-person valuations are always more accurate than online valuations.
  3. They’re risk free: Most agents will value your house for free with no obligation.

When should I get an estate agent valuation?

You should get an estate agent valuation right at the start of the selling process. They can help you decide whether it's actually worth selling in the first place.

There are three typical circumstances when you should consider getting an Estate agent valuation:

  • If you’re thinking of selling your house: Perhaps the main reason anyone asks an Estate agent to value their property is if they’re thinking of selling it.
  • If you’ve inherited or won a property: Usually, the value of the property is calculated before the executor of the will divides the estate, or the competition runners choose a winner. However, beneficiaries and competition winners would do well to get a second opinion from an estate agent to ensure they are correct.
  • If you haven’t had a valuation in years: It’s healthy to get a valuation from an estate agent every couple of years, even if you’re not thinking of moving. Valuations let you know exactly where you stand with your biggest financial asset. Homeowners are often surprised by how much money they’re sitting on.
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What determines property value?

It’s a big question and there isn’t any one answer. However, prominent factors include the:

  • Overall state of the property market
  • Location (Region, neighbourhood, and local market conditions)
  • Total size of the property
  • Design and state of property’s interior and exterior
  • Developments and possibility for developments

When an Estate agent evaluates your home, they take all of the above into consideration.

What do estate agents look for?

Preparing your house house interior

Before and after they arrive at your property, estate agents will use their local area knowledge to assess the current buyer demand for properties like yours.

When they arrive at your property, they’ll assess the size and potential of your home and examine any planning permission or extension possibilities. They will make notes on the condition and size of bathrooms, bedrooms, and kitchens, as well as current decor and potential.

There’s a lot of things that make your home a valuable asset - read our comprehensive blog ‘How does an estate agent value a property?’ for more details - but the main details estate agents look for when deciding on their final figure are:

  • Market conditions
  • Nearby similar properties
  • Kerb appeal
  • General upkeep
  • Decor
  • Major and minor fixes and repairs
  • Space and storage
  • Potential
  • Location
  • Transport links
  • Catchment areas and schools
  • What makes your property stand out

Do estate agents give accurate valuations?

Most estate agent valuations are accurate, but because there are a lot of agents out there, some are naturally better than others. To make sure you get an accurate valuation, we advise that you pick several high-performing agents and choose the most reliable estimate.

Should I get more than one estate agent to value my house?

Yes, we always recommend that aspiring homesellers seek valuations from at least three agents. With three reports from three separate sources, you can easily deduce which one is the most accurate and valuable for your home sale.

How do I book a house valuation?

Booking a valuation with an estate agent is pretty simple - you call in and book one. But if you want to book several valuations with the highest-performing agents in your local area, you’ll have difficulty doing it on your own.

The most popular service we offer here at GetAgent is our free Estate Agent Comparison tool. Using data from the HM Land Registry, and popular property portals like Zoopla and Rightmove, we compare the six top performing agents in your area. We rank them according to:

  • How likely they are to achieve your asking price
  • How experienced they are your local area
  • How fast they sell properties

Once you have a shortlist of agents, you can book valuations with them by requesting a call back or an email. Our dashboard lets you keep track of your valuation appointments so you won’t forget any of your booking details.

Find the best estate agent to book a valuation with

Enter your postcode below to find the best agents near you to carry out your valuation:

Ready to compare agents?

It takes 2 minutes. 100% free. No obligation.

Why do estate agent valuations vary so much?

Estate agent valuations tend to vary by several thousands of pounds because they’re primarily based on expert opinion - and sometimes, experts have different opinions.

To make sure your valuation is correct, obtain valuations from at least three agents. That way, you can be sure to pick the right one based on how the results compare.

Do Eetate agents overvalue or undervalue properties?

House value growth over time

Some properties sit on the market for ages without garnering any buyer interest. Some sell quickly without any haggling over the price. The former could be a sign that the property has been overvalued, while the latter might indicate that the property has been undervalued. Both scenarios are not unheard of - so yes, some agents overvalue and undervalue properties.

However, the above scenarios are not always indicative of poor valuations. Turbulent market conditions and fluctuating local property prices can have a huge effect on your property's performance.

Also, reputation is everything for agents, and poor reviews can damage reputation beyond repair, so agents maintain good profiles through ethical practice. As a result, most agents tend to avoid overvaluing or undervaluing properties.

Again, the best way to safeguard against these issues is to get valuations from three different agents, and compare the results. Any outliers will immediately be identified. Our free Estate Agent Comparison tool is the best way to do this.

What is a virtual valuation?

A virtual valuation is a valuation from an Estate agent or property expert that takes place over the internet using a phone, tablet or laptop. During the Covid 19 Pandemic, virtual valuations became popular as a means to ensure social distancing. Now, as the virus becomes endemic, virtual valuations are used mostly by online agents, as many of these don’t have local property experts on-hand.

What to expect at an estate agent valuation appointment?

Questions to ask estate agents when buying a house

During an appointment, an agent will arrive at the arranged time to examine your home. When they arrive, they’ll examine both the exterior and interior thoroughly. They will also ask you questions like ‘What makes your house unique?’ and ‘Is your property a leasehold?’ to better understand the value of your home.

While valuations shouldn’t be anything to worry about, we understand the importance of getting everything right. Here’s five tips to prepare for an appointment:

  1. Do your research and compare agents

To get the best possible valuation, you’ll need the best-performing agent in your local area. Compare agents for free using our hard data from the Land Registry.

Ready to compare agents?

It takes 2 minutes. 100% free. No obligation.

  1. Book valuations with multiple agents

Choose three high-performing agents from your local area and book valuations with them. That way, you can pick the agent you trust the most, and feel most compatible with.

  1. Make your house clean and inviting

Agents provide advice on how to market your house free of charge, but you would do well to declutter and spruce up your home before they arrive. While most agents can see value through dirt and dust, it’s helpful to make their job easier.

  1. Ask for evidence of their past performance

You are well within your right to ask the agent to validate their expertise by providing evidence of past sales and satisfied customers.

  1. Ask questions

Don’t be afraid to ask the estate agent questions! It’s your property and they want to sell it for you, so make sure you know exactly what to expect when you hire them.

Check out our blog ‘How does an estate agent value a property?’ for more details on how to prepare for a valuation.

How long does a valuation take?

As the most comprehensive type of valuation available, an estate agent valuation takes anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour to complete.

Online valuations on the other hand, usually take 2 - 5 minutes to complete. They are less precise than an valuation from an agent.

Mortgage valuations are usually carried out as drive-bys in vehicles, taking only a minute or two to complete.

How to get a higher house valuation

There’s a number of things, both big and small, you can do to increase the value of your home.

These preparations tend to have a very slight impact on your property’s valuation. They’re worth doing but they won’t make mountains move:

  • Decluttering
  • Cleaning the interior
  • Increasing natural light
  • Clearing the garden

Big things

Ultimately, developments and extensions have the biggest impact on the value of your property. They can increase the value of your property by several thousand, or even thirty thousand pounds. However, it’s worth noting that every property has a ceiling price - that is, no matter what developments you make to your property, it can only increase up to a certain amount.

Some common developments include:

Development typeCostHouse price increase
Loft conversion£36,50020%
Conservatory£5,000 - £7,5005% - 7%
Decking£2,20010%

The timescale for these developments can be anything from several months to half a year. That’s why it’s not advisable to add developments to your home in order to just increase its value.

If you’re looking for a quick boost to your property’s value, why not try applying for planning permission? While difficult to obtain, planning permission can greatly increase the value of your property (up to 10%) for little cash.

FAQs

Do estate agents take photos on valuations?

No, estate agents do not take photographs during house valuations. This is something they do after they have been instructed to market your property, as the photos will be used for your listing on property portals like Rightmove and Zoopla.

Do estate agents have to tell you about problems?

Estate agents are legally obligated to provide fair information to you during the sale of your property, including potential problems that could hinder your sale. These legal obligations fall under CPRs (acceptable trading practice expectations) which are upheld by Property Ombudsmans.

How long does a valuation take?

House valuations can take from 30 minutes to an hour to complete.

How much do valuations cost?

House valuations are generally a free service offered by Estate agents.

Ready to compare agents?

It takes 2 minutes. 100% free. No obligation.

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