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Is your unique home attracting the right interest from buyers? Find out how we accurately value homes that are one of a kind and can help you sell at a premium.
Title: Unique homes – how we value them accurately
As estate agents, valuing homes accurately is at the core of our business. We’ve got to price them at a level that attracts enough attention from buyers, while achieving the maximum sale price for our clients, and sometimes it’s a challenge – particularly when there’s not much to compare them to.
We value homes based on a combination of factors. We look at recent data, consider what we know about current market conditions, sprinkle in price per square foot, then use our expertise to judge how popular your particular home is likely to be with buyers.
While it’s relatively straightforward to value a home if a lot of similar ones exist, it can be much harder to put a price on a unique home. Deciding how much a particular view or architectural style is worth in a certain location is not an exact science, which is why it’s especially important to choose the right estate agent when your home is one of a kind.
Let’s look in a bit more detail at how we arrive at a market value:
Data on comparable homes
The first thing we need to know is the value of other homes that compare to yours – ones of a similar size, in a similar location, with similar features. While there are usually plenty of direct comparables for homes on estates or Victorian terraces, the challenge with unique homes, where there might be very little else like them, is getting as close as possible. The more unique the home, the greater the challenge!
We look at two types of data:
- Sold prices: How much have comparable homes sold for in the last 3–6 months? If there aren’t many of them, we sometimes have to look back further in time, then calculate a likely current value based on average price increases. Sold price data from the Land Registry is the main source for surveyors when they make their reports for mortgage lenders, so it carries significant weight.
- Current market prices. We look at similar homes for sale and consider:
- How long have they been on the market?
- What’s the current asking price?
- Has the price been reduced?
Generally speaking, we expect to agree a sale at within 5% of the asking price, but the longer a home is on the market, the less likely it is to achieve this.
Together, these two sources give us a ballpark price guide.
You might be wondering about online instant valuation tools, like the one we have on our site [< DELETE MINI SENTENCE FROM BLOG IF NOT APPLICABLE] – <LINK>, which use this kind of data to come up with a current price for your home. They’re becoming increasingly popular and can be useful if lots of similar homes have sold recently. But when it comes to unique homes, we find the results are often quite different to in-person valuations. There might only have been a handful of properties sold recently in the area that are even close to yours in size and style, and it’s almost impossible for a piece of technology to put an accurate value on a view or a one-off architectural feature. Data is certainly helpful in giving us a guide, but it’s by no means the whole story when it comes to unique homes!
One important thing for us to bear in mind is the ‘ceiling’ – the top price that comparable homes have sold for. If we value your home at more than this, there’s always a risk it might be too expensive, and when buyers think a home is overpriced, it tends to put them off. However, unique homes can often break through the ceiling and attract a higher selling price, simply because there’s nothing else like them.
Price per square foot
Not a commonly used valuation tool, but an invaluable one. It doesn’t take into account all the amazing amenities, like a stunning view, or even some disadvantages like a footpath right through a garden. Still, some buyers like seeing exactly how much they’re getting for their money.
Anything attached to the main home is included in the total price per square foot; however, most detached buildings aren’t, unless it’s an additional dwelling – a holiday home for example.
Price per square foot is different for each area. It provides a good general overview of what a home is worth. At least on paper.
Current market conditions
Prices depend on supply and demand. When there are fewer homes on the market, prices tend to go up as there’s plenty of competition from potential buyers. The best homes can often attract a ‘bidding war’ and end up selling for over the asking price. On the other hand, if there are fewer people looking to buy when more people want to sell, prices tend to fall. That’s because buyers have a good amount of choice and will be more tempted to try and get a bargain by making an offer below the asking price.
So, in order to put the right market value on your home, we need to know how many buyers out there are looking for a home like yours. Are similar homes selling quickly or is there an oversupply right now?
While unique homes are usually less affected by rises and falls in the market, it’s still important for us to know what’s happening, as it gives us a feel for how positive we can be with our valuation.
Taking all the above into account, we then have to judge how attractive your home is likely to be to buyers. We’ve got to look at the outstanding features and decide how valuable they are, then balance that with what we know about how much potential buyers are willing and able to pay. There might be lots of things that set your home apart, but would someone be willing to pay more for it than for its closest competitor, and how much more? This is where our experience really matters.
A lot comes down to how rare the features are, particularly when you’ve got a combination of them. For instance, if you have a beautifully refurbished Grade 1 listed home in a waterfront location, how many other homes like that are there in the area – more importantly, how often do they come up for sale? When a buyer knows that if they miss out on your home, they might not get another chance to buy something similar for another five or ten years, they’re usually willing to pay a premium. And it’s our job to know how much that premium is.
The final thing we need to consider is your own position. How quickly do you want or need to sell? If you’re not in a rush to find a buyer, we might think it’s worth being optimistic with the price, then we can always adjust it if needed. On the other hand, if you’d like to sell as quickly as possible, we’ll recommend a price that we’re sure will immediately catch your target buyers’ attention.
So, if you’ve got a unique home, choose an experienced local agent who’s got a track record of successfully selling one-off homes. Search online to see what’s sold locally in the past couple of months and take note of which agents have handled the more individual sales. They’re the ones who should be able to see the true value of your home, properly judge its market potential and then help you achieve the best possible sale.
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Selling your home? Here are 11 key questions to help you choose an estate agent that will find the right buyer and get you the best price.
Title: How to choose the best estate agent – 11 questions to help you decide
Selling your home is one of the biggest financial transactions you’re ever likely to make, and it could be an emotional time for you. So you need to be sure that the agent you choose can not only get you the right buyer and the best price, but also understand your situation and be able to guide you confidently through the process.
Perhaps you’re selling the family home where you’ve raised your children, and you’re now ready to downsize. It could be that you’ve outgrown your first home, and it’s time to take the next exciting step up the ladder. Or maybe it’s a buy to let or inherited home that you simply don’t want or need to keep.
Whatever your reason for deciding to sell, lots of agents will be keen to get your business. And with so many out there – local and national, high street and online – all with different strengths and core markets, how do you know which is going to be the best fit for you and your home?
Well, it’s not an exact science, but if you’re clear on your own plans, know the key things to look for and ask the right questions, you should be able to narrow it down to a top two or three.
And with that, here are our 11 questions to help you decide.
Before you speak to an agent:
- What are your plans? This is often how estate agents will start a discussion, so make sure you’re clear on why you’re selling and what kind of timescale you’re working towards. If you’re going to be buying something else, write a list of your needs and wants. The agents you speak to about selling will also be keen to show you what great homes they have on their books, and you’ll get a feel for how they deal with prospective buyers.
Checking out agents online:
- How good is their website? Is it professional looking, can you navigate it easily and has it got all the main information you want to know? Are you impressed by the look of their listings?
- Are they a member of a professional body? Agents who are members are bound to work at the highest professional standards and adhere to a strict code of conduct. This isn’t to say that agents who aren’t a member don’t work to the same level, it’s just good to know and allows you to make an informed decision – it’s always good to get the full picture before you make your choice.
- Are their homes listed on the best portals? There are plenty of sales websites out there which have a far wider reach than an agents site alone. The more popular sites an agent lists your home on, the more prospective buyers will be reached. There are several popular portals agents can use, ask them which ones they use, and why.
- Have they got homes for sale that are similar to yours? You might think having competition is a disadvantage, but actually it can be a good sign that the agent is used to marketing your type of home to the right kind of buyer.
When the agent comes to your home for a valuation / when you speak to them directly:
- What’s the market like at the moment? This gives you an idea of how many viewings you’re likely to have and how long it might take to sell. You’ll also get a feel for how knowledgeable the agent is.
- What similar homes have you sold recently? That will confirm to you what kind of sale price is possible. And if the agent has sold several properties like yours in the last month or so, that shows the market is buoyant and they’re doing a pretty good job.
- How much would you market our home for? You’ll probably already have your own idea from looking online, so compare that with what the agent says, and see how confident they are when they give you their valuation. They’ll usually state a range and then recommend an initial market price based on your own timescale and situation. If that’s different to what you thought, don’t be afraid to ask more questions and discuss it further.
- Do you have any potential buyers in mind? Of course they’re going to say yes! So follow it up by asking what those buyers have looked at recently and what their feedback has been. That will show you how engaged the agent is with buyers and how good they are at communicating.
- What are your fees? Most agents do an all-in fee, but some will charge extra for things like glossy brochures, so make sure you’re clear on all the costs. And remember that a good agent will give you value for money, so don’t be tempted to go for the cheapest – you tend to get what you pay for!
- What happens if I’m not happy with your service? As long as you’ve chosen your agent carefully, you shouldn’t have any real issues, but it’s always a good idea to check:
- What’s the minimum contract period, and how much notice do you need to give?
- If you find a buyer yourself, do you still have to pay the agent a fee?
- Who’s the right person to speak to if there’s a problem?
Once you’ve found two or three agents that you’re sure can do the job, based on all the above, it’s time to turn to bonus question 12: Which agent feels right?
When you’ve got queries, which of them are you most confident will be there with the answer? Putting it simply, who do you like best? Due diligence plus gut feeling is a tried and tested formula that works for so much in life, and in this case, it should give you the best selling partner and a successful sale.
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Our seven top tips to help you style your home for viewings – enjoy our latest take on home styling trends and accessories and get ready to accept that 2021 offer.
Title: Our top home styling accessories for 2021
It’s a new year – time to give your home a whole new look? If you’re selling your home, or planning to, our top home styling accessories for 2021 may help you make the right decisions to give your home a mini-makeover without breaking the bank.
And, now that the majority of us are ‘locked down’, you may have more time than usual to get new home accessories ordered online, even taking advantage of the New Year sale prices (if you’re quick!).
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With thousands of letting agents keen for your business, how do you know which is the right one for you? Here are seven things to look for when choosing the right letting agent.
How to choose the right letting agent: 7 things to look for
Finding the perfect partner has never been easier. Or so we are told…
In love, you can download an app and find your dream date with the swipe of a finger. Looking for the best home insurance deal to suit you? Comparison sites have got you covered.
But choosing the right letting agent? There’s no app for that (yet).
Last month, we explored the idea of teaming up with a letting agent. We looked at how the right agent can save you time, money and provide peace of mind. (For a recap on the benefits of working with a letting agent, take a look our last blog post Do I need a letting agent? 6 reasons why you might…).
There are over 13,500 estate agents in the UK and the majority of these manage lettings. So how on earth can you tell which is the right letting agent for you?
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If you’re a new landlord, established landlord or even thinking about becoming a landlord, a letting agent can help you manage the load. Here are six reasons why you might need a letting agent.
Do I need a letting agent? 6 reasons why you might…
Did you know that a third of the properties in the UK are rentals?
And a large proportion of those are managed by individuals, not agencies?
If you’ve inherited a house, or you’ve moved out of a flat but still own it, it’s more profitable to manage that property rental yourself, right?
Well, yes… and no…
Saving money by managing her property herself is exactly what Christine thought she’d do. Here’s her story:
When Christine’s mother-in-law moved into a nursing home, Christine found herself with a house to manage. Luckily, her friend’s son Ben was looking for a home for his family, so it seemed like the perfect solution to have him move into the vacant house.
Rent was paid on time, and the young family were happy in their new home. Until the month Ben lost his job and wasn’t able to pay the rent. Christine was understanding – after all, Ben was her friend’s son. But two months went by and still no rent. Ben stopped answering his phone, and so Christine approached her friend. After a frosty conversation, Christine’s friend arranged a meeting at the property.
More bad news – Ben’s family had bought a puppy. Christine was shocked by the deterioration in the property over only a few months (she had been reluctant to make regular visits out of concern for invading the young family’s privacy). The dog had chewed at the furniture and door frames. The house smelled.
Christine meanwhile was facing another problem; finding the payments for her mother-in-law’s care, which was dependent on the rental income from her home.
Financially stressed and emotionally drained by the strain the situation was putting on her friendship, Christine called us and poured out her story.
We contacted the tenant and kept a record of all our communications. Dealing with us in an official capacity, rather than with his mum’s lifelong friend Christine, we were soon able to work out a payment arrangement with Ben to recoup the debt.
Ben and his family eventually moved out, but Christine didn’t have to bear the brunt of that situation – that was our job. We then found her reliable tenants, who were not pet owners and who we visited for regular maintenance checks. Christine is now earning a regular rental income without the hassle or heartache of day-to-day management when things go wrong.