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If you’re looking to sell your property, knowing what other local properties of a similar size sold for is extremely useful information. Aside from getting estate agents round for expert valuations, understanding what buyers paid for similar properties in your area can help you make an informed decision about what your home is really worth. You might also want to get a sense of what local homes have sold for in the area you’re buying in next, so you can start saving for a deposit and avoid overpaying for your new home.
Luckily, there are a few straightforward ways to find out how much a house sold for previously (without asking the current owners upfront). This guide explains how to find accurate, up to date information about how much a house previously sold for.
Aside from pure curiosity, why might someone need to know how much a house sold for previously?
When preparing to put a property on the market, one of the key things homeowners struggle with is where to pitch the asking price — especially in light of the fluctuating market and skyrocketing house prices.
This information will also help you when dealing with estate agents. Often, homeowners will accept the valuation of one or two estate agents, which can lead to overpriced asking prices that deter buyers and make the property incredibly difficult to sell. Knowing how much local properties have sold for will arm you with the information you need to price your property currently from the get-go. If estate agents suggest you set your asking price significantly higher (or lower) than local properties have been sold for, you might want to get a second or third opinion. Be sure to ask agents to justify the valuation they’ve landed on with accurate data, so you’re taking everything into account.
It’s also important to remember that prospective buyers will also have access to previous property prices in your area. Each area and street has a ‘ceiling price’ based on what other properties in the area have been sold for. The ceiling price is the highest price people are willing to pay, regardless of the size of the property or the condition it’s in. Because of this, most buyers have an idea of what your home is actually worth before they’ve even come round for a viewing, so setting unjustifiable asking prices could give the impression that you’re dishonest or unreasonable.
Similarly, when you’re looking to buy a house in a specific area, you’ll want to research how much properties have for sold locally to make sure the sellers have set a reasonable asking price. If similar properties in the local area have been recently sold for less, you might even be able to use this as a jumping off point to negotiate on the asking price.
It’s also useful to know what the current (and previous) owners paid for the property you’re looking to purchase. If any big disparities in the price can’t be attributed to time passed or fluctuations in the housing market, you might want to do some more research on your local planning authority website to see if the owners made any significant improvements to the property.
If you don’t have a specific property in mind, but you do know the area you’d like to move to, understanding what properties have previously sold for will give you a realistic insight into whether or not you can actually afford the move.
While finding out how much a house previously sold for isn’t as straightforward as typing ‘London property prices’ into Google, there are three key ways to find out how much a house previously sold for:
When searching for previous house prices, your first port of call should be the HM Land Registry, which is the official registration database for all land and property across the UK. The Land Registry contains published information on every property sale nationwide, including sold house prices. When a property is sold, it can take up to 3 months for the information to be made publicly available. Once it’s live, you can download this information at any time.
For a small fee, you can also find out who owns the property and purchase a copy of the title plan. It’s also important to note that you’ll only be able to find information dating back to 1995 — so if you’re looking for information on an old or historic property, you might have to explore alternative options.
You can also find house price data on popular house-hunting platforms like Rightmove and Zoopla. Accessing this data might be more accessible, especially if you’re already using these sites regularly — but the data itself is important directly from the Land Registry.
Often, these sites provide a link to the original property listing, including images of the condition of the property at that time (usually only for homes sold in the last 20-15 years). This can be useful when wanting to research what structural or cosmetic changes the current owners have made to a property.
There are also other online tools you can use to check previous property sold prices,such as Property Price Advice. With their free online valuation too, the site uses a complex algorithm to pull historical data around every property sale in England and Wales — as well as house prices sold in your area and local market conditions — within seconds.
Finding out how much local houses have sold for previously shouldn’t mean you’re obliged to price your own property exactly the same — but having this information will help you make educated, informed decisions about your sale (especially once you know your area’s ceiling price). It’ll also help you budget accordingly for your next property, and ensure you won’t be exploited as a buyer.
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