If you’re planning to sell or rent your home, or if you need to find out a property’s value for other reasons, you’ll need to turn to an expert in order to be presented with a carefully calculated figure.

Many people rely on an estate agent for valuations as a default – but is this the best option?

In this article, the team at Property Solvers asks:

  • How accurate are estate agent valuations?
  • What can you do to get the most realistic figure?
  • What is the main difference between a professional (RICS) and an estate agency valuation?

The Accuracy of Estate Agent Property Valuations

Estate agencies are often the go-to source for both residential and commercial property valuations. But how do they measure up in terms of accuracy?

Generally, an experienced and established estate agent should be able to calculate your property’s value fairly accurately. After all, their success stands or falls on their ability to sell.  An inaccurate valuation may stand in the way.

If a house is valued too high, it is likely to put buyers off.  This often means the building will remain on the market for longer than it needs to, causing the agency unnecessary effort and expense.

Conversely, if a property is valued low, it may sell faster.  But too low, and potential buyers may avoid it due to the suspicion that there is something wrong with it.   Sellers, too, may end up disappointed and frustrated at a low valuation.

Furthermore, agencies receive a good amount of their income through commission. This means that, if a property sells for a low price, they’ll earn less. They also have their reputation to think about.

While this will put agencies off undervaluing a house in order to achieve a quick sale, it introduces another potential issue… 

Estate Agency Over Valuations to Win Business

Might an estate agent purposefully give a property a falsely inflated value in order to earn more commission?

This is a matter to look out for, although most experienced agents understand that inaccurately pricing a property to make a better profit rarely works.

Most house hunters are fairly savvy when it comes to average market prices, and it is possible for them to do their own research.  Indeed, it’s never been easier to get a good idea of your property’s value online.

Estate Agency Over Valuations to Win Business

All this requires is for the potential buyer to check out local or national property websites, where they’ll be able to find typical asking prices for other similar buildings in the area, as well as the previous sale value of the property in question and others nearby.

That being said, some agencies may still attempt to nudge up their estimated property values in the hopes of selling for the best possible price – making this something to look out for.

How Much Do Estate Agent Valuations Cost?

Are estate agent valuations free?

The answer is yes. If you are considering selling through a particular estate agency, they will provide a valuation as part of their services. Of course, you’ll need to pay an overall fee once the sale is completed.

You can approach a number of agencies in order to compare their approaches and the value they assign to your property.

How Do Professional Property Valuations Work?

Professional or formal valuations are conducted by an accredited surveyor from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

In order to complete this type of valuation, surveyors closely examine the condition of the interior and exterior of a property.  This would include the brickwork, guttering, fascias, soffits, windows, doors, gas, electric fittings amongst other aspects.

They’ll also look at the property’s structure and local area to analyse the risk of issues such as flooding and other matters relating to the house’s surrounding environment.

They will also examine the recent sale prices of other similar properties in the vicinity to arrive at a figure. 

Surveyors have a legal obligation to be accurate as they are held accountable to RICS, a professional body established in 1868.  Any signs of over or undervaluation could result in them losing their licence to practice.  They are also at risk of getting sued.

Professional Property Valuations (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors)

Getting Estate Agent and Formal Property Valuations

Depending on your reason for seeking a property valuation, you may decide to approach both an independent surveyor as well as your estate agent.

As mentioned above, chartered surveyors can assess your property’s condition and give an unbiased evaluation of its value.

So, how much do independent property valuations cost? This depends on a range of factors – including the surveyor you choose, the size and type of property you own. 

In our experience, a RICS accredited surveyor may charge between £150 and £800 for their service.  This often depends on the level of detail and location of the property.

There are a number of companies that provide free online property valuations, too. However, these are only estimates and may not be as accurate, as they do not require a detailed survey.

How Many Property Valuations Should I Get?

It’s usually best not to get bogged down in arranging too many valuations, purely because it can be very easy to overthink matters.

Ideally, you should opt for two or three opinions, then find the average and stick with that.

Some sellers simply go for just 1, especially if it’s a referral or the agency has a good reputation.

How Long are Property Valuations Valid For?

Most valuations remain valid for 1-6 months.  

In conclusion, while estate agents are a great source of information, it is best to arrange a couple of additional opinions.   

Remember to double-check the figures with which you are presented by doing your own research.

How Property Solvers Can Help

If you’re actively selling, the team at Property Solvers would be more than happy to run off one of our free house valuation reports.

We can offer a free upfront cash offer worth between 80 and 75% of your house’s market value.  We can complete the sale in as little as 7 days (with no estate agency or legal fees to pay).

For further information, get in touch with our experts today.