Valuing A Home - Art Or Science?

It’s a common question asked of estate agents and one that is surprisingly difficult to answer.

Of course, most agents as long in the tooth as I will answer with the rather clichéd response that…‘a house is worth what someone is prepared to pay!’

Thomas Morris Sales & Lettings Director Simon Bradbury '..a house is worth what someone is prepared to pay!'

Whilst this explanation is still (rather annoyingly) true, it really does little to assist in understanding the often complicated calculations and judgements required to arrive at an accurate valuation.

Essentially however, valuing a home really is all about ‘second guessing’ the highest likely offer to be made from a genuine ready, willing and able purchaser. Please note that these caveats are critical as it really is impossible for any self-respecting valuer to foresee the odd offer that may arise from a supposed purchaser who is not ready to move and even if they are so inclined – are not actually able to proceed with the deal for a variety of reasons.

Whilst ‘second guessing’ may at first sound a little lazy and even sloppy, that is essentially what a valuer is doing - through a combination of ‘art and science’ or in this particular instance ‘experience and research’. It’s the same approach whether valuing to sell a property or rent it out.

Nowadays there are a number of online valuing tools that certainly do help. Here at Thomas Morris Sales & Lettings we offer prospective sellers or landlords the option of a Free Instant Online Valuation and it’s a constant surprise just how many people use this facility from either our website, our electronic newsletter or via any number of other online platforms.

Such instant reports tend to present a range of sales and rental values together with an average figure as a guide. These tools use a range of freely (and not so freely) available data to arrive at their conclusions which are often, though not always, relatively accurate. Of course they can do no more than report a range of values but for many people this is not enough.



For a far more nuanced and most likely accurate valuation, it’s still my view that asking a genuine local expert (please note the words genuine, local and expert!) to attend the property and meet the owner to be fully briefed on the specific situation, will in almost all situations yield the best results for all concerned. Of course identifying the estate agent most likely to provide the most accurate valuation is critical – best achieved by using a combination of good old fashioned personal recommendation and a little bit of research online. The UK’s largest independent review site for estate agents for example, analyses amongst other things, the views of actual customers as to the accuracy of the original valuation provided by the selling agent. Whilst not perfect, it does provide at least some indication as to an estate agents' individual valuation skills based on actual results. Currently, the rating for Thomas Morris Sales & Lettings after over 1,200 reviews is an impressive 89% - meaning that the evidence shows that we ‘get it right’ approximately 9 times out of 10.

we 'get it right' approximately 9 times out of 10

Prior to attending any such appointment, the local expert should of course conduct extensive and detailed research to assist  – research that should include discussions with colleagues and most importantly, identify actual examples of similar homes that have been sold or rented out recently. Much of this evidence is of course available online, but will need to be placed in context at the valuation appointment when presented to a potential seller or landlord before a final view point can be arrived at. And speaking of ‘online’ – did you know that Thomas Morris Sales & Lettings now provide prospective sellers and landlords the opportunity to actually book a valuation appointment directly online on a day and at a time of their choosing? It’s proving to be an extremely popular option for people who often are too busy to even pick up the phone and is another example of how the internet is making life just that little bit easier for us all.

So there you have it…valuing a home either for sale or for rent is indeed a combination of art and science, but nowadays with the added benefit of convenience!

If you would like a free, no obligation valuation appointment for your home, either click here to book a time convenient to you or contact us by telephone.

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