Whether you are considering selling your home, perhaps in the New Year, or are already taking steps to get your property on the market, one of the first steps you'll take is asking an estate to perform a valuation.
Now, we all want the top value for our home. It's a perfectly natural desire. But it's worth knowing the kind of things estate agents will look for when they value your home.
The agent will want to place value on your property that suits both you as the seller and them as an agent. With that in mind, opting for the agent which provides the highest valuation is not always the best route to take.
It can pay to look at the bigger picture when choosing an agent to sell your home and the valuation should only form part of the decision-making process.
Read on and we'll let you know the biggest things our agents look for when undertaking a valuation.
The majority of potential buyers visiting your property will form an instant opinion on it. By that, we mean when they arrive outside.
So, if your property is looking scruffy and unkempt when the agent turns up to value it, the chances are they will also form a decision from the pavement.
Kerb appeal is one of the biggest downfalls of many properties when they come on the market, so it can pay to tidy up the front garden and jet wash the walls and pathways before the agent arrives.
Make a good impression early on and it can make a huge difference.
Even if you have made a great impression with your outdoor space, the estate agent's joy can be short-lived if your property doesn't make the grade on the inside.
A poorly decorated entrance hall jam-packed with clutter can make it difficult for buyers to visualise the space as their own and poor decorative order will also knock money off the value of your home when the agent visits.
Have a spruce up and give the walls a lick of paint. Hang a mirror on the wall to create the feeling of space and remove any clutter to create a welcoming environment for both the estate agent and any potential buyers.
A MODERN KITCHEN
The kitchen is the heart of the home. Most buyers will put a spacious, modern kitchen diner at the top of their wish list when searching for a new home - and your estate agent will take it into account when valuing.
Okay, so you might not have the space for such a kitchen and, even if you do, undertaking building work or an extension prior to selling is a big decision and not one to be taken lightly.
Even if you don't have the room to create a huge family space, some smaller touches to your existing kitchen can make a difference when it comes to the valuation of your home.
Try some new handles on doors and drawers, or lay a new laminate wood floor, paint the walls and re-tile. These smaller, cheaper, amendments could help increase your home's value without spending big on a kitchen re-design.
SPACE, SPACE AND MORE SPACE
Estate agents since the dawn of time have placed square footage at the heart of the valuation process. But rather than looking in a one-dimensional way at the amount of space your home boasts, they will also look at how much additional space could be created.
If your home is already at bursting point and has no scope for further work to increase floor space, that will affect its valuation.
As well as that, they will consider the bedroom to bathroom ratio and whether your property is suitable, say, for a family of five. If you have one small family bathroom, but your potential buyers will be larger families, again this will affect your home's value.
Many buyers, particularly families, move from big cities to quieter, more rural locations. An estate agent valuing a family home will consider this and look at transport links back into those cities for commuters.
If your property is in a poor location, perhaps a 30-minute walk away from a railway station, this will reflect badly on the property's valuation. Equally, if you are two-minute walk from a main line station, your property's value will be increased.
SCHOOL CATCHMENT AREAS
This is a huge issue for buyers with children. Living in a certain postcode in order to gain access to top schools is the biggest 'must-have' for families looking to buy a new property.
When it comes to your property's value and school catchments, the numbers are eye-watering: Your home could be worth around £26,860 more if it sits in an attractive school catchment area.
Many parents will look directly to Ofsted reports for guidance when looking to buy a home in a new area so you can be assured your estate agent will do the same prior to valuing your home.
A well kept and attractive garden space, again, is high on the list of 'must-haves' for buyers. However, even if your garden is a sprawling space that only a ride-on mower could tackle, if it's not in good condition and appealing, it could put off buyers and is almost certainly to curtail any valuation increase.
A pretty garden can be a valuable commodity so it could be time to dig out those sheers and start up that mower before your estate agent knocks on the door.
For more advice or to book a valuation of your home with one of Whitegates' property experts, contact your local branch today.