An estate agent’s valuation will tell you exactly what your house is worth in the current market regardless of whether it fits more into the affordable or luxury property bracket, but what are they looking for when they draw up the numbers?
Location, location, location
Location is one of the most important factors estate agents look at when valuing a property, according to Michelle Kealy, divisional director at Lisney Dun Laoghaire.
While you can’t change the location of your house, you can manage your own expectations around pricing. Looking at previous sale prices in your area can give you a base idea of what to expect a home in your area to go for.
Have you maintained your home?
Having said that, your house and a house down the road from you could be valued entirely differently based on the condition the property is in.
The age of your house, the size, and room layouts are all obvious factors in a valuation, but what can differentiate you from similar houses is the wear and tear on your house, whether you’ve done any structural improvements or built an extension, what kind of fittings and heating systems you chose and the amount of storage space you have. Extras like double glazed windows or fitting an alarm can also add value.
How is your home presented?
While a potential buyer can change everything about the décor of a house, how your home looks does factor into the valuation, according to Michelle.
A fresh lick of paint and getting rid of all the clutter and excess furniture can make a world of difference. Get on top of fixing all those niggly things like broken presses or threadbare furnishings to create a good impression.
“It creates an impression to people that you’ve actually maintained the property well. If it looks shabby, it looks like you may not have looked after it properly, even if everything is totally fine,” she says.
Does your home need work?
One of the big things that puts people off buying houses, according to Michelle, is whether it requires work or seems to require work. Most people want to be able to move into their new home without investing significantly in fixing it up.
Small things can really change how much work your house seems to require, even down to things like modernising areas.
“For example, if the timberwork, the staircase or internal doors are mahogany or dark, we would suggest painting them white or grey, and that would make a significant change. It would actually add value and make it more saleable. Replace old carpets as well,” she says.
While even a tin of paint is an investment for you, it ultimately can make a much bigger difference to the valuation you can expect.
“If you don’t do some work to the property it might take longer to sell the property or you might end up taking a discount on it,” says Michelle.
Is your house a home?
While Michelle says the old cliché of wonderful smells of freshly baked bread or freshly brewed coffee wafting throughout your home makes no difference to your valuation or your eventual sale price, how friendly your house seems is a big factor.
While an estate agent will look beyond the fact a house isn’t in show house condition when they arrive to value it, if the house feels or smells dirty – as opposed to just being untidy – it’s off-putting. Same goes for foul smells, like wet dog or smoke. “If it affects us, it definitely affects potential purchasers,” she says.
Dressed beds, throw pillows and family photos all make your home homely and comfortable-looking. A splash of colour helps too.
“You’re not just selling a property, you’re selling a home. What you want to do is to give the impression, to anyone looking at the property with a view to buying it, that they could visualise themselves living there,” she says.