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How Much is My House Worth? (Pt.2)

[All articles are updated quarterly by our researches][About Us]
RESOURCES - How Much is Your House Worth:
In Part 1 of our "How much is your house worth guide" we look at how to value your property yourself.
The next step is to get the opinion of estate agents and make sure they give you an accurate valuation.
In this part of the guide, we're going to look at how to handle estate agents at valuation appointments.
There are some specific "do's" and "don't" that if you're to avoid being taken advantage of, you need to know about.
Take a few minutes to read this article because it really is the key to accurately finding out how much your house is worth.
Copyright © www.TheAdvisory.co.uk

How Much is My House Worth? - Asking Agents

Step #1 - Present your house as if the estate agents are potential buyer.

Pain in the backside I know! However, just like buyers, estate agents will be influenced by the presentation of your house.

With a well-presented house they'll be able to give a higher valuation and a more realistic opinion of how the property compares to the rest of the market.

You can find out how present your house for maximum profit and saleability in the, Secrets of a quick sale section of this site.

Step #2 - Check the agent's websites to make sure they sell property that's similar to yours.

If an agent isn't regularly selling your type of property, he's not going to be much use to you.

He'll just be a bloke with a sharp suite, a made-up number and a slick sales patter - he won't have any genuine expertise to share.

Step #3 - Ask the agents to bring the "comparable evidence" they're basing their valuation on.

By "comparable evidence" I'm taking about:

  • Details of the last few properties (like yours) that they've sold. Or details of recent sales made by other agents.
  • Details of properties (like yours) that they're currently selling. Or details of property on other agents' books.

If an agent turns up without comparable evidence - send him away and tell him to get his game in order!

Harsh? Maybe, but here's a cornerstone of property dealing that will serve you well to remember:

"Only valuations that can be clearly justified by FACT and EVIDENCE should be taken seriously

- Everything else is fantasyland"

3 Question You Must Never Answer!

When you speak to agent there are a number of seemingly harmless question that you should never answer.

These questions are designed to extract key pieces of information that they'll use against you in order to outfox competing agents for your instruction.

Q#1 - "How quickly do you need to move?"

This has nothing to do with how much your house is worth so they don't need to know.

If you decide to sell via an Estate Agent, this is a discussion for another time, to be had with the agent you employ.

For the time being this kind of personal information gives agents an excuse not to commit to the max price you could sell for.

Just tell them - "I'm looking to move when and if I get a fair price".

Q#2 - "How much do you think your house is worth?"

Variations on this are, "What price do you hope to achieve?" or, "What do you think is a fair price for your house?"

However it's phrased this is the all time classic manipulation question and you must avoid answering it at all costs!

If you let them know what you think your property is worth then when agents come round:

  1. The inexperienced agent will overprice your house in an attempt to flatter you and win your business.
  2. The more experienced agent will at least have the courtesy to flatter you by agreeing with your idea of how much your house is worth.

Either way all you'll end-up with are agents telling you what they think you want to hear.

Only reveal how much you think your house is worth after an estate agent has given his or her own unbiased valuation.

Until that point it's best to answer the question with - "I'm really not sure, that's why I'm inviting you to give me your professional opinion".

Q#3 - "Which other agents have you seen / are seeing?"

This information will help an agent to pitch a more flattering valuation figure and service proposition.

I'm sure you can imagine the stuff I'm taking about.

"Agent X" will start telling you that "Agent Y" doesn't include floor plans or a sales progression service and because these features are so desperately key to the success of your sale you're better off paying their 1.75% fee as opposed to enduring the sub-standard service of "Agent Y" (who indecently charges 1.5%).

Further insinuation of poor reputation and barely concealed statements of slander are to be expected.

What can I say? It's a competitive world out there in the estate agency industry!

Oh! One final point - never ever tell an estate agent another agent's valuation figure - unless of course you're an irrepressible fan of fiction.

How Much is Your House Worth? - Agents' Guesses

Most agents like to leave themselves some "wiggle-room".

They can be vague when asked, "How much is my house worth" and say things like, "Well I think it's worth between £230,000 - £245,000".

This kind of spread is really not good enough. Badger the agent until they commit to an exact figure.

Make sure that before the agent leaves:

  • He gives you a precise figure for the "asking price" (the price you will advertise at).
  • He commits to the actual figure he expects your house to finally sell for.
  • He tells you how long he expects it will take to sell at this price.
  • He explains how he's arrived at these figures and timeframes.

This is when a good estate agent should start walking you through the comparable evidence he's brought with him.

Study these property details and make sure the properties really are like yours (i.e. genuinely comparable) - If they're not, ask why not?

Is the Comparable Evidence Relevant?

Asking the following questions will help you to tell you if his comparables have any relevance to how much your house is worth.

Q#1 - "When did you sell that property?"

If he shows you details of a property that sold over 3-4 months ago prices may have risen (or fallen) substantially. The evidence may well be out of date.

Challenge the agent on this. Ask him what he thinks prices have been doing over the last few months.

Q#2 - "How long has this been on the market?"

If he shows you details of a property that's been sat around for a while, chances are it's overvalued.

Again challenge the agent on this. What does this mean for your property and the price it should go on the market at?

Trust Your Instincts!

How the agent answer the questions above is just as important as the actual answers he gives.

How does he answer - Quickly? Confidently? Graciously?

Or does he patronise you for having questioned his judgment.

Has he taken the time to justify his valuation thoroughly and logically?

Does he fell like the kind of agent that will go the extra mile for you?

What does your gut tell you?

What if You Just Don't Agree on the Valuation?

If you don't agree with the agent's valuation, now is the time to tell him your opinion.

Explain to him how you arrived at your figure. Talk him through the comparable properties you've found (we looked at how to do thorough research in How Much is My House Worth - Pt 1)

Don't be afraid to have a good debate over what your house is worth. If you've done good research your opinion is just as valid as an estate agent's (probably more so).

Whichever way the discussion ends, you must finish with an "asking price" and a "sale price" you both agree on and have faith in.

How Much is Your House Worth? - Conclusions

The acid test for any property is the market. The market will tell you what your house is worth and whether you've priced it correctly.

Remember these two rules:

Rule #1:
No viewing = Your house is overpriced

Rule #2:
Lots of viewings but no offers = Your house is priced correctly but something is putting-off buyers (usually it's presentation)"


Selling for what your house is truly worth is simply a matter of:

  1. Selling when the market is strong
    [Read: When's the best time to sell?]
  2. Presenting your property properly
    [Read: Presentation for a Quick Sale]
  3. Not being pressurised to sell
    [Read: Why You Should Sell Before You Buy]
  4. Pricing your house accurately
    [Read: How Much is My House Worth]

If you read these articles you will:

  1. Take control of your sale.
  2. Give yourself the best chance of selling for the max profit in a convenient timeframe.
  3. Protect yourself from the games estate agents play when asked, "How much is my house worth?"
RESOURCES - How Much is Your Property Worth:

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