What is my house worth?
House prices are in the news a lot and often have us wondering what our own home is worth. So, whether you're planning a move or just feeling curious - here's how to work out how much your property could be worth.
Sites such as Rightmove, Nethouseprices and Zoopla will provide you with a calculation of the estimated value of your property. They use information from the land registry or the registers of Scotland to determine what houses in your area have sold for in the past.
They can vary in their calculations, so it’s worth having a look at a few and taking an average. It also depends on the amount of data that’s available for the area you’re in. The more data, the more accurate the valuation is likely to be.
Do some detective work
You can piece the information on valuation sites together to show if a house sold for significantly more or less than it was listed at. Simply check the original listing for the house and compare to the actual sale price. If houses are frequently going for much under or over their asking price, you will need to factor this into your valuation.
Land registry or Registers of Scotland
Provide average house prices. You can filter by type of property, county and region to give a general view of the property price trend in your area.
Some mortgage lenders have similar tools, which vary in complexity. They generally look at the purchase price of a property or most recent valuation. When the purchase or valuation took place, the region the property is in. These calculators are usually based on the lenders House Price Index.
Estate agents’ valuations
In addition to online valuations you can also go old school and get a local estate agent to view and value your property. They often have the benefit of local knowledge, e.g. school catchment areas, commuter links and local housing developments. It’s important to get at least 3 valuations and to quiz the agents about their rationale for the price they recommend.
You can ask them to provide evidence for comparable house prices, such as brochures of similar properties to yours which they have sold recently. Remember when talking to an estate agent not to give away any information which could be valuable to your negotiations if you come to sell. For example, never tell them how fast you want to move or what you think the house is worth. If they know you need a quick sale or have a lower value of your house they may use this information to negotiate your selling price down.
You should also be sceptical of overpriced valuations. Often, these can be used to flatter you into picking that agent.
Apply a sense check
You know your home, so always add an element of critique to any valuation and be honest with yourself. If you’ve just had a new kitchen or bathroom fitted, you’ll probably be looking at the upper end of any valuation; if your home needs a lick of paint and some TLC, then you want to be looking to the lower end.
These tools can give you a good guide to the value of your property, which can either help with financial planning, timing of a move or just as food for thought. Ultimately, a house is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it, so the acid test will be putting your property up for sale and seeing what offers come in.