Are Estate Agent Valuations Free?

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Are Estate Agent Valuations Free?
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In the process of selling your house, there are few steps more important than your property valuation. This all-important figure will be crucial to deciding what you list your home for and what you can expect for the final sale price. 

If making a sizeable profit on your house is essential to you, then every penny will count, and getting the valuation completed for free could be extremely attractive.

In almost all cases, it is advisable to get more than one valuation completed on your house. Different estate agents may disagree on what your home will realistically sell for – and some will exaggerate the valuation, so you are more likely to deal with them than their competitors. However, an inflated valuation will likely increase the time it takes to find a suitable buyer and result in you inevitably being forced to decrease your asking price further down the line.

As valuations are completed on your house, you may have many questions. For example, do estate agents offer this service for free, and what is included in a ‘typical’ valuation? We have provided the answers to all of these questions and more in the blog below.

Are there different types of property valuation?

You may receive varying levels of detail in your property valuation, depending on how much you spend.

The most well-known and common type of valuation will involve a simple estimation of what your house would sell for in the current market. This will usually be carried out by an estate agent, who is ideally part of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, and will consider:

  • Economic factors such as interest rates
  • Recent similar house sales in the area
  • Your property’s condition
  • Supply and demand in the current market
  • Planning/building regulations

It is often recommended that you complete more than one property valuation because you will usually receive varying quotes from different people.

With some estate agents, you can pay extra for increased detail in the valuation. This might include what a potential extension might add to the house’s value and where this could be achieved. It could also have recommendations for improvement – for example, whether updating your driveway or fixing broken appliances might make a difference.

Remember that valuations are carried out slightly differently on empty plots of land where a property still needs to be built.

How much does an estate agent valuation cost?

Estate agents will usually complete your valuation for free. With any reputable firm they will not tie you into a contract to offer this service, meaning that you are free to walk away at any point. This may be because you decide to sell your house no longer or because you want to use a different estate agency instead.

Estate agents can complete valuations for free because they hope you will decide to sell your property to them. If this happens, they will take a commission from the final sale price (usually around 1.5%, although it may be slightly higher or lower), where they make their money.

How much does an independent valuation cost? 

Since some estate agencies have a reputation for inflating their valuation, many house sellers bring in an independent expert to complete this task. While this person will charge for a valuation, unlike an estate agent, it also means that you are more likely to receive an accurate, honest valuation. This could save you lots of time and money in the long term.

According to online figures, an independent house valuation can cost anywhere between £300 to £600. This will vary depending on the size of your property and the level of detail in your valuation. 

Larger houses cost more to value because there are more rooms and outside areas to cover and more elements that need inspecting (windows, door hinges, fitted appliances, electrical wiring, boilers, and so on).

The difference between a valuation and a survey

No, a valuation is not the same thing as a property survey. The former will estimate the value of your house in the current market, while the latter searches for hidden defects, structural issues, or any other problems that may rear their head further down the line (such as local developments).

A property survey is usually paid for by a potential house buyer who wants to identify any issues with the building that they are unaware of. The findings may impact the price they are willing to pay for the property, so they want to anticipate any problems before they agree on the final sale price and exchange contracts.

Estate agents do not typically conduct property surveys; a chartered surveyor usually does this.

What to expect from a high-quality valuation

The best valuations will consider factors you may have yet to consider. Some examples include:

  • Parking spaces
  • Lease length (if applicable)
  • Expansion potential
  • Recent similar property sales in the local area
  • Forthcoming developments in the neighbourhood

With any positive or negative findings, it is the estate agent’s job to communicate the importance of these when selling your house.

Do you need to prepare for a property valuation?

Yes, there are preparation steps you can take to give a valuer/estate agent the best chance of completing an accurate valuation.

Firstly, you should tidy your house so there is no clutter or junk. This makes it easier for the valuer to assess the condition of your property. You may also want to cut your grass and fix any significant broken items – because you want your valuer to see the property in its best possible state.

If you have any questions for a valuer, these should also be considered before their arrival. For example, how your house compares to others in the area, what condition your roof is in, how extensive the square footage is, what era the building was likely constructed, and more.

You could also ask the estate agent (if that is who you are using for the valuation) about their company’s services if you decide to sell your house to them. An in-person conversation is an excellent opportunity to discuss services, fees, the advantages of picking them over their rivals, etc.

Do all estate agents offer valuations?

Any high street estate agent will likely offer property valuations. It is rare to find an estate agency that doesn’t. However, how in-depth and accurate these valuations are is different. If you want to find out whether an estate agency provides this service, you should contact them to determine if they offer it and what they charge. 

Do cash house buyers provide house valuations?

Yes, a reputable cash house buyer like We Buy Any Home will offer valuations on your property. Remember that this figure will be slightly below the typical market value because these companies will provide up-front cash to buy the house within seven days.

If you want to sell your house fast, then get in touch with us today.

Free cash offer within minutes, any condition, any location.

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