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choosing an agent

Valuation and price

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One of the key jobs of an estate agent is to value your home. This is something that normally happens before you instruct the agent and you are not normally charged. It is quite common for estate agents to deliver leaflets in an area offering 'free valuations' to try and find more potential vendors. You shouldn't be fooled by this if you get such a leaflet, as they are free anyway.

Before you instruct an agent, if possible try to get several valuations of your property. 3 or 4 is generally accepted as a good number.

Because valuations are free, some people use them as a kind of competitive test, playing different agents off against each other to see which one paints the most optimistic picture of how much they can get for your property. It doesn't always pay to go for the agent who offers you the highest valuation.

Some agents use high valuations as a way to persuade vendors to instruct them for the sale and drastically high valuations can mean that an agent is desperate for business. Choosing an agent that is deliberately over-valuing your property will probably mean that you end up wasting time while the property remains unsold. Setting the asking price too high is not going to entice people in to negotiate - they are much more likely to simply be scared off and look elsewhere.

It is also worth remembering that different agents with different training (assuming they have any at all!) will value a property in different ways, so there may be considerable discrepancy by the prospective sale price quoted by the different agents.

The exact techniques used by the recognised bodies that offer qualifications in valuing properties (principally the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) differ but are largely based the on the following:

  • Economic trends
  • Interest rates - availability and cost of borrowing
  • Housing supply
  • Buyer's demand
  • Price of similar houses recently sold
  • Condition of the property

If you would like to find out more about valuing property, then why not check out some of the books we have available in our Vital Reading section.

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