The current asking price for a property according to Rightmove is £222,410 based on figures quoted in December 2010.  Yet both the Nationwide and Halifax have recently produced selling figures at £162,763 and £162,435 respectively.  That’s a huge difference, 27% in fact.

OK, these figures are nationally collated but it’s striking that either Sellers in the UK are thinking their property is worth so much more than it really is, or their estate agent is putting the wind up them.  Somebody is accountable after all.

So would an estate agent really tell you an over-inflated value just to charm you into using them?  They sure would.  Especially if you give any indication that you really haven’t got much clue on how to value your property.

For the majority of agents, having a high local board presence locally really helps them attract even more business.  Many agents will also hope that you crack under the pressure of a measly number of viewings without any formal offers.  Having a 3-4 month contract can offer them the time-scale to work some charm on you and get you to agree to reduce your price (to the correct level).

So be prepared.  It’s not actually very difficult to value your property once you know where to look and research.

So how do I value my house online?

Rightmove:  Check what very similar properties are advertised at.  Remember that offer prices are not usually the same as sold prices.  Also look to see how long properties have been advertised for to get an indication of the asking price appeal.

Net House Prices: This is brilliant to find out what property sold for in your street and other streets where houses are very similar.    Although it doesn’t tell you everything about the property listed, you can have a good stab by the door numbers shown.

Zoopla: Zoopla uses clever algorithms to price any property in the UK.  They use a combination of land registry information as well as information supplied by agents once property has sold.  They can even factor in improvements you have made to your property whilst in your tenure.

House price crash: This page details the House Price Index from Q1 1975 through to Q4 2010.  Although it doesn’t work exactly for every area (as it cannot account for spikes or troughs in value in specific areas) it gives a detailed outline of changes in the average UK house price over the 35 year period.

Using all four different sources, you can start to make some sense of it all.

The above blog is worth reading.  It was posted on EAT – Estate Agent Today and provoked the obligatory responses from the agent fraternity that subscribe.

Peter remarks that agents need to value houses as RICS surveyors do when valuing a property for their client (usually a mortgage lender for the buying party).

He also remarks that agents have confirmed to him they over-value because their competition is doing it.

If an estate agent offers you a valuation amount, and it seems a high after you have checked all the websites and methods listed above, ask for some proof as to why your agent thinks property will attract a buyer at the stated price and then pass the surveyor test too.  You probably won’t get any straight or logical answers.

Fishneedwater offers a RICS valuation as part of our service for sellers.  We don’t over-state the value of a property because it doesn’t benefit our clients or us in any way.

Get your marketing price right initially, and ensure your marketing (in particularly the photography) is slick and high quality and you can find a buyer for your property without having to pay a fee of thousands to a high street estate agent.

They all use Rightmove, Zoopla (amongst other portals) don’t you know, and that’s where the vast majority of buyers come from anyhow.