For many of us, a home is the single biggest investment we ever make in life. When it comes time to sell up, we – understandably – want to make the biggest gain in terms of proceeds. Your sale may be funding a deposit on a new home, fuelling your retirement or otherwise fuelling your future goals. It is essential that you have a good sense of what your house is worth on the market.
But what if it is worth less than you hoped or expected? What are your options?
Answering this question is critical. Now, how do you go about it? There are a few different methods you can use:
Ask Estate Agents for a Valuation
This is one of the best ways to ascertain how much your house is worth on the market. Contact two or three estate agents and request a valuation. They typically provide this free of charge – in exchange, they’ll try to pitch you their services! It gives them a sneak peek into your property, and it gives you a good, accurate idea of its worth.
Use Online Valuation Tools
Try sites like Rightmove, YOPA and Zoopla. They will give you an idea of what similar houses have sold for in your area recently. Remember, though, it won’t give you the most accurate answer because a variety of factors play a role in value. For example, a four-bedroom in X neighbourhood with Y amenities sold for £250,000. So your four bedrooms will too? Not necessarily. Your value will be impacted by the age and condition of the house, as well as other variables. Still, it’s a good place to start.
This is highly accurate. These professionals will give your property a good going-over and determine its worth in terms of the current market given its condition, age and other factors.
What If You Don’t Like the Answer?
What if your home turns out to be worth less than you had expected? Homes in less than good condition can be much harder to sell, even in a hot seller’s market. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that buyers don’t want to purchase a “money pit.” But another factor is that their lenders will often refuse to mortgage a property if it fails to meet their criteria and standards.
For example, if there are significant problems with the roof, if the wiring is outdated, if there is subsidence or dampness… the lender views the house as a poor risk. If the buyer should default, then they are left holding a property that is simply not worth it to them.
One option is to pour untold effort and money into fixing up the house until it is suitable for buyers with financing. But you may have neither the cash nor the time to do so – and you may not make enough to recoup your investment.
So what if your house is not appealing to traditional buyers – or their lenders – and you cannot or do not want to fix issues? Are you out of luck, so to speak? No. You just need to target a different audience: cash buyers.
A cash buyer does not have to conform to a lender’s requirements. While they most often conduct valuations and surveys, it is up to their own discretion whether or not a property will meet their needs. Their standards, in other words, may be very different to a bank’s. The cash buyer may see the potential in terms of investment and have the financial standing in order to make the necessary changes and repairs.
Check that a cash buyer has proof of finances (e.g. letter from their bank, bank statements) before proceeding. Once satisfied that they can complete a transaction, then you can start the process. With a cash house buyer, you simply fill out a form, and they return an offer in principle within 24 hours. If this is acceptable, then they instruct valuations professionals and surveyors to inspect the house. Upon these results, they issue a formal offer. Most of the time, it is between 80 – 85% of the total market value. Remember, you don’t have to pay for repairs or improvements, as well as solicitors, surveyors, estate agents, etc. If you accept, you move towards an exchange of contracts and completion. All told, it may take just seven days from start to finish.
If your house is worth less than you thought, consider working with a cash buyer.
What is the most accurate home value estimator?
When it comes to determining the value of a home, accuracy is crucial. Homeowners want to know how much their property is worth, whether they’re looking to sell or refinance, and buyers need to know what they should be paying for a property. There are many home value estimators available online, but not all of them are created equal.
The most accurate home value estimator is one that takes into account a range of factors that influence a home’s value, such as the location, the size and condition of the property, the age of the home, and recent sales data in the area. The gold standard for home value estimation is the Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), which is typically done by a licensed real estate agent.
A CMA uses data from recent sales of similar properties in the area to determine the value of a home. It takes into account factors such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the square footage, the age of the home, and any recent renovations or upgrades. A CMA provides a more accurate estimate of a home’s value than an online estimator, as it is based on real-time data and the expertise of a licensed professional.
While online home value estimators can be a good starting point, they should not be relied on as the final word on a home’s value. Homeowners and buyers should always consult with a licensed real estate agent or appraiser for a more accurate and reliable estimate of a property’s value.