10 tips to prepare for an estate agent’s valuation visit
A typical estate agent’s valuation visit lasts about an hour, but will vary depending on the size of your home, how many questions you have, and how thorough the estate agent is. Try not to rush the process, as it is a great opportunity for the agent to get to know your home, and for you to get to know them.
There is no need to make any special preparations for the valuation visit. Most estate agents (unlike most buyers!) can see beyond any mess or clutter, or grass that needs cutting.
If there is work to be done, be scrupulously honest about what you are likely to achieve in the short term. For example, don’t say the bedroom will be carpeted or the exterior will be painted if this may not be the case.
Valuers will take into account the price you paid for the property when calculating its current value. If you have made any significant improvements to the property since you arrived, be sure to inform them.
It is important to be realistic and objective about your home. Most of the factors which influence its value are out of your control, and out of your estate agent’s control too. These include size, location, and the current state of the market. At the end of the day, your property is worth exactly what somebody is willing to pay for it.
Beware – many estate agents will flatter your property and suggest a higher price than it is worth, in order to attract your business. This is a common strategy, all the more so when there is a shortage of stock for sale. We recommend that you carry out your own independent research into local prices. Look at what properties have actually sold for, not just the prices they are currently advertised at, which may be inflated.
The duty of an estate agent is to get the best possible price for your home. They are far more likely to achieve this if the asking price is realistic from the outset. An overpriced property may stick on the market and get a bad reputation. On the other hand, an undervalued property may attract lots of viewings, perhaps some competing offers, and could even be sold at above the asking price.
In many cases the valuer will not be the person who writes up the property details or takes the photographs, answers the phone to a buyer, follows up on enquiries, or chases the solicitors. Try to find out about the whole team who will be working on your property, and who will be looking after you day to day. Will everybody in the estate agent’s office visit your property? Will web enquiries be answered by an outsourced office service?
Remember that the most charming agents may not be the most efficient; the most knowledgeable may not offer the best marketing package; and enthusiasm may, or may not, make up for a lack of relevant experience.
You might like to ask the valuer for their advice on preparing for viewings, and details of their marketing plans for your property. Comparing marketing strategies is a useful way to differentiate between estate agents.