It makes sense to assume your home will increase in value the longer you own it. A hike in its price can be due to various things, from inflation rates to your area’s general desirability. Suppose you’ve increased the size of your property by adding an extension or loft conversion. In that case, this will factor into its value too.
The best way to work out what your home is worth is with a valuation. Having a house valuation done is essential before your property goes on the market, plus it’s a requirement of all mortgage lenders. But how exactly is this figure estimated, and what will it tell you?
Whether you’re considering upsizing, downsizing, relocating, or securing a new mortgage, you’ll likely need to think about having a house valuation done.
Beyond the obvious benefit of it helping you figure out what you can reasonably market your house for, a valuation also lets you:
Having a good idea from the get-go about what your property could be worth will allow you to see exactly how much money you’ve got to play with when you come to sell. This is especially important if you’re buying another property and need to secure a new mortgage for it.
As well as seeing how much value you may have added to your home over the years, some valuations let you compare your property’s price with others in the area. This can give you a good indication of how desirable your neighbourhood has become and whether the property is likely to sell quickly.
If a house valuation comes in at a lower amount than you expected, it might be worth seeing what you could do to push up your property’s value. This could be as easy as giving the walls a fresh lick of paint or a much larger home improvement project like double glazing the windows or installing a brand-new kitchen.
Securing an accurate house valuation isn’t just necessary for those who are thinking about selling up. If you’re keen to remortgage your home to help reduce your monthly payments, you’ll find most mortgage lenders will want to see a valuation first.
Some lenders will ask a registered surveyor to conduct the valuation by visiting your property for a quick yet thorough assessment. More often than not, though, they’ll just use market data on average house sales in your area. The figure they come up with will then be used to work out what the lender might be willing to lend you, and at what rate.
To put it plainly, a house valuation for a mortgage (also called a mortgage valuation) is a type of fact-checking that ensures the value on your paperwork is correct. Suppose the surveyor’s valuation comes back significantly different to your estimate. In that case, your monthly mortgage payments may end up going up or down to reflect this.
Planning on selling a property that could be a good fit for the rental market? As well as receiving a valuation for how much your property is worth when sold, you can also get an estimate of how much money it could fetch if it was let out.
While an estate agent may tell you a monthly rental estimate during your full house valuation, it’s also easy to find the information on sites like OpenRent and Rightmove. They’ll use current market data and information from other properties in the area to work out an expected rental value for your home.
You may not have used your house or apartment as a rental, but the people who buy it might want to! Providing a rough rental valuation is no bad thing when you come to list your property for sale.
When it comes to discovering the value of your house before you sell it, you’ll have a few possible routes to choose between. You might decide to have a house valuation completed by an estate agent or use existing data online to work out an estimate yourself.
Here’s a quick summary of your choices:
The most accurate way to find out how much your house is worth is to call up a local estate agent and get them round for a valuation. This service is free and usually goes like this:
An agent will visit your home (either in person or via video call) and do a full appraisal.
In addition to their appraisal, they’ll use their knowledge of the local market, plus the size and the state of your property, to work out an accurate value.
You’ll then receive a figure based on the agent’s expert opinion. This will usually be the highest possible price you can expect to receive on the current house market.
For the most precise valuation, it’s a good idea to approach several different agents for their opinion. Ensure you use local ones who have a good understanding of the property market and any potential trends in your area.
You might then choose to use one of those agents to market your house. You’ll never be tied into selling with an agent who completes your house valuation, though. If you’re keen to go with a different one, that’s entirely up to you.
While it might be tempting to market your home with the agent who predicts the highest price, you should be cautious. If the price is drastically different from all the other valuations, it could be a sign that the agent is more interested in getting your listing than getting you a reasonable price.
Note that properties that are valued higher than their actual market value often take longer to sell. You’ll likely end up accepting a lower offer or risk having your house on the market for much longer than expected.
Suppose you haven’t got the time to seek out multiple house valuations from estate agents. Or maybe you’re only curious about what your property is worth rather than completely set on selling. In that case, an online estimate could be a better option.
This lets you work out what your house may be worth using handy online tools on sites like OpenRent or Rightmove. They can work out the price of your property based on things like:
Government data on house price inflation
Information from local estate agents which establishes overall market trends
Details from similar listings in the area which have sold or are currently under offer
Typically, online property estimates use intelligent algorithms to work out your property’s value based on data from sales across the UK. Online assessments generally are much quicker, although not as accurate as an estate agent’s valuation.
If selling your home is only a possibility at this stage rather than a done deal, using an online valuation calculator is a brilliant way to get an idea of how much it’s worth.
Having a peek at similar sold or for sale properties in your neighbourhood can give you a great indication of what your own may be worth.
Try using an online estate agent site to search for homes that have been listed with roughly the same features as yours. You could also use the government Land Registry, Registers Of Scotland, or Land Registry of Northern Ireland. When you’re searching, consider things like:
The total number of bedrooms and bathrooms
Whether it’s a detached, semi-detached, or terraced house or an apartment
If it has any outdoor space such as a balcony, terrace, or garden.
Its proximity to your property. Ideally, properties you compare should be in a similar, if not the same, postcode area. That’s because house values can often hugely differ depending on their neighbourhood
Many estate agent sites keep listings of properties online long after they have sold, meaning you’ll be able to make a more detailed comparison. It might even be possible to compare your property with a similar one on the same street using photographs and floorplans.
This can be a straightforward way of seeing if it’s worth redecorating or making some renovations before selling to help boost your home’s overall value.
If you’re not 100% committed to selling your home just yet, we recommend keeping an eye on the UK Price Index.
The UK Price Index is a national measurement put together by the Office for National Statistics. It uses data from places like the Land Registry to identify changes in the average value of properties in and across the UK.
As well as looking at the national average house price (for example, in December 2020 the average was £251,100), it reveals how prices have changed over the year. This can be useful information to see if things have dropped in recent months. If this is the case, you may want to pause your selling plans and wait until things improve.
When you use the UK Price Index, you can filter it by country, region, and local authority to understand how property in your area is changing value. And to make it even more relevant to you, it’s also possible to filter the index by property type.
Now you’ve got the means to solve the ‘what’s my house worth?’ puzzle, you’ll want to turn your attention to some of the other essential aspects of buying and selling a property.
Check out our mortgage guides and calculators for information on different types of mortgages and detailed comparisons of the options which may be available to you. Suppose you’re not sure how much you’ll be able to borrow. In that case, our mortgage affordability calculator is a fantastic tool that uses your financial details to see what you could afford.