Find out what makes up a property’s value, with some useful tips on adding value to your home.
The housing market is a fickle thing. Through inflation, an unstable economy and the increase of house prices, how do you know what your house is worth anymore? The rise and fall of prices mean that what your home was originally worth, may no longer be the case. Expert estate agents will be able to value your home, but not always hassle free. Leading Essex based estate agent, Essex Countryside, offer a free online property valuation form on their website. They send an expert to have a look at your home, and see what it’s worth.
With so many factors determining your home’s worth, it’s important to know what to look for. Eagle eyed estate agent professionals consider many things that can impact a home’s worth. We spoke to the pros about what they look for when they undertake a home valuation.
Area: One of the initial factors that affects a home’s value is location. Be up North and grassy, or down South and town, you can bet that where your house is, has a great impact on it’s resale value. Traditionally, the North isn’t as expensive as the South. But, certain areas have higher priced properties, due to catchment areas for schools and other determining factors. Grammar/ good school catchment areas bump up house prices due to desirability.
Transport Links: Commuter town properties are desirable for their proximity to train stations and public transport too. For those that work in the city, but don’t wish to live there, properties that are close to the station will be highly desired. Houses closer to bus links usually fetch a higher price on the market too.
Geography: London properties, of course, are far more expensive than your average UK city. The further you move away from major cities; the cheaper house prices are. Comparatively, smaller houses in a city centre may cost as much as a larger house, further from the centre of town.
- Local Area
Noise: As part of a government scheme, noise levels can be checked in most English cities. Using Extrium you can view road noise levels around most major cities in the UK. Alternatively, local estate agents will have the knowledge of road noise and local area disruption too. Major roads are usually noisier, but house position can reduce the effect of road noise too (if a property is set away from the road with a front garden or driveway, it reduces road noise inside the home). Properties that are close to train lines or in flight paths may be devalued slightly too, due to the noise.
Schools: As mentioned before, school location is a factor that helps drive up or decrease a house’s price. Houses closer to grammar schools usually are more expensive. Houses in catchment areas for primary and excellent schools increase a property’s price.
Popularity: If houses listed in a certain area are snapped up almost instantly, this can drive up the prices for a property in that area. Whether an article has come out about ‘desirable places to live’ or there has been a surge of work or general improvements in the area, what makes an area ‘popular’ is determined by the availability of it. If other houses in your area are on and then off the market in a flash, your home might be in a popular area.
Crime Rates: It goes without saying, but areas with higher crime rates will have lower priced properties. No-one wants to move to an area where they’re more likely to get burgled. Local estate agents will know the be able to gauge an idea of an area’s crime stats, but if you want to look for yourself, you can see local crime rates on Police.uk. A property may be worth less if it is an area with a high crime rate.
Flood and Air Pollution: If an area is at risk of flooding, the house price decreases. Whilst the risk of damage to home is a serious factor, even areas with low risk flooding still have higher prices for house insurance, to compensate for water damages caused by flooding. Air pollution, although not a risk to your home, can affect your health and the health of your children too. Areas with risk of floods and poor air quality usually decrease a house’s value. The Environmental Protection Agency has information on flooding risks, as well as air quality statistics too – with information nearby sewage works and landfill sites too.
- The House
Appearance: Estate agents base the worth of a house on how it looks. A ‘Road Side’ look, is how good a house looks from the street. If a house is painted, presentable and looks good from road side, the value may be increased – if even slightly.
Condition: The overall quality of a house determines how much a home is worth. If work is being undertaken, the house is derelict, or paint is cracked etc. then this can impact a house’s value. A house that is in poor condition will affect a buyer’s perception of the property. Some buyers cannot see past the presentation of a house.
Garden: Not only does the size of a garden affect a property’s price, but the way it faces. South facing gardens are the ideal, and usually fetch a higher price. This is due to the fact that they will have sun on them for all daylight hours. East facing gardens will be sunny in the morning, and West facing in the evening. North facing gardens will be overcast with the shadow of the house, so it’s important know where your garden points – get a compass out and see where your garden faces, alternatively look at the sun… (with some shades on of course)
Size: This one is a given – bigger house, greater price.
Rooms: Number of rooms affect a house’s price too, as well as their size. More bathrooms and potential rooms for creating more bedrooms is an added bonus. Ensuites on master bedrooms also add some value to a property.
Potential: If a house is potential for extension, this can add some value to a home. Extensions usually require planning permission, unless it is into the roof. If you can sell your house, already with planning permission this may bring in more potential buyers. Everyone is looking to make your house their own, when they move in, so potential is key for some prospective buyers.
- Insider Knowledge
There are some aspects only estate agents will know. The level of expertise is unmatched by online listings. You need professional estate agents with years’ worth of experience behind them. Below are some of the factors that effect your home’s value, that only estate agents will know.
Records: Estate agents will be able to check through their records of similar houses to your own property, to see what they have sold for in the past, how quickly they have sold and if the asking price met the sale price. This is called a parable market analysis. By looking at similar properties, and other website listings, an estate agent can gauge how much your house is worth. They’ll also be able to see if a house sold or was taken off the market.
Housing Market and Economy: The longer an estate agency has been in the game, the better their knowledge will be of the shifting landscape that is the housing market. They’ll know when the best time to sell or buy is, as well as current market confidence. If there is a high rate of unemployment, then a house’s value is likely to decrease. If tax has been particularly high that year, then a property might not sell all too well, due to the lack of spending budget from buyers.
The current economy is a factor that effects buying and selling too. Recessions affect the housing market, as buyers are less likely to move in one, due to economic instability. Whilst the current tax on stamp duty also affects the housing market. The state of the economy links to the housing market, and directly corelates to how much is a house is worth. Your house may be worth more, but it’s all about timing, you may have to reduce your asking price in a recession or an unstable economy, in order to get your house to sell.
How to improve your value
Now you know what estate agents look for when valuing your home, you may think there’s not a lot you can do to improve the value. However, whilst some factors that determine a property’s value are set in stone, there are some little things you can do to help boost the value of your home. Below, is a list of a few things you can do to increase the value of your home, no matter you budget.
Loft Conversion – Loft conversions are one of the best ways to expand your home. They are usually not too pricey, plus do not require planning permission, in most cases. The average loft conversion in the UK cost around £500-£600 per square meter. It’s a fairly low-cost way of improving the size of your home, virtually hassle free. Depending on the space to hand, you could add an additional bedroom or office in the loft.
Housework – Whilst cracks and chips out of paint or woodwork may go unnoticed to you, as you’re so used to them in your home, a potential buyer will hone in on any damages or eye-sores around your home. So, it’s important to bring out those paint rollers and sanding paper, to do some much-needed restorative work to your home.
When it’s time to sell, your home will be under a microscope when being viewed by buyers. While most can look past some minor scuffs and scrapes, any major work that needs to be done should be completed before your house goes on the open market. Kitchens and bathrooms especially need to be looking their best, but be clean too. If your home looks a bit dull and cramped, consider painting in some soft neutral tones. Lighter colours reflect light, making your home feel more spacious and open. A good appearance can do wonders for your home’s value.
Features – What is a feature in a property? Well, it can be that added ‘wow’ factor, something that a potential buyer sees and thinks ‘I need that’. This can be decking, or a beautiful porch or even a sky light. Something that draws in a buyer’s interest and makes it something they cannot live without. Advertise it to prospective buyers, if it’s a BBQ area and seating, have it laid out with cushions ready for viewing. If it’s a fireplace or wood burner in the front room, have it lit and roaring away. A buyer’s offer may meet your asking price if there’s something they can’t afford to not have, thus, increasing your home’s value.
Whilst it’s all well and good getting one opinion on your house’s price, it’s not the smartest move. Some estate agents may bump up the price of your house to entice you to use their services, only to have you lower your asking price when your home isn’t selling. It’s a sneaky way to get you on their list, so they can earn their fees. So, always ask around. Don’t be afraid to ask for a second or even third opinion. Go crazy! Get four, five or even six opinions if you need to. You’ll be able to gauge your home’s value from the opinions of the professionals. It also doesn’t hurt to look at some similar homes in your area, to see what kind of price you should be asking for.
Have you got some desirable factors on your house’s checklist? Near a great school or near a quiet road? If you’ve found yourself screaming ‘value my property now!’ then use this expert guide to see what your home is worth. Remember, only the experts can help you find out what your home is truly worth, so make any improvements that you can, within your budget, and seek some professional, high quality estate agents to value your home.
Hugh Sallows is a Content Marketing Executive at Revive Digital. Writing content for magazines, blogs and websites, Hugh has an extensive history in writing. Hugh is currently researching and writing in real estate, specifically working on home valuations and buying and sell homes.