How do I know which estate agent’s valuation is right?

- Wed 10 May 2023

When looking at selling your home, gauging the approximate value is one of the most important elements towards your move being a success. The reality is, if you get this wrong by asking too high of a price, your move will take longer. If you get it wrong by underpricing your home, you will feel like you will lose thousands of pounds. All the parties involved will hold a slightly different viewpoint or dare it be said, motivation!

A sellers’ opinion will of course hold an element of personal bias, the estate agent will be looking to secure business and therefore will benefit in some way financially, and an online estimation is based upon an algorithm and will not be able to feature any bespoke elements of your home.

The question is; who is actually right?

The estate agent is best placed to provide the market evidence around a combination of demand from potential buyers, how much they are looking to spend on particular types of homes. The estate agent can also look at other recent sales, as to how much similar properties would have been sold for. Most importantly what economic climate is in each location, therefore the likelihood as to whether prices are moving up/down.

There are however, very different types of estate agent that will provide varying levels of motivation.

Starting with the pay upfront, self-service style estate agent who won’t necessarily need to provide accurate value expectations as they will receive payment in advance (or perhaps on a deferred credit agreement). Are likely to have less of a personal service as they predominantly market your home online, if you pay extra you can add more service elements such as viewings or a for sale board.

The hybrid model estate agency that have multiplied in the busier housing market where you cannot visit an office, they tend to rely on digital communications. Some you may pay upfront, others not so. They may operate as individuals or a small team, which may limit the service they’re able to provide or how easily they can be contacted. In terms of values, they should be keen to get the price as realistic as possible to stand the chance of selling the home if they are being paid upon a successful sale.

Then there are traditional High Street models where some have evolved and offer a range of in person and online services over longer hours, whilst some are very traditional and do not offer much online marketing or communication. This type will usually have larger teams of people, a database of buyers to contact who will be interested in different types of homes and a seller will deal with various different team members all competing to find a buyer for a home knowing that if they don’t find a buyer, they will not get their sales commission.

With pros and cons of each type of estate agent, it should be said that when it comes to providing the more accurate valuation each should provide a range of evidence as how they arrive at the figure and not simply ask the seller what they would like, or if you have a price in mind.

There should be some indication of the demand from buyers for different styles and locations of homes. Look at how many homes are sold versus the number of homes an estate agent markets for sale to give a good idea of their success rate. If they only sell half of the homes they advertise, which half will you be in if you choose them?

As a seller, most importantly you should feel comfortable with any individual or company as this is going to take between 6-9 months from start to finish, and you’re highly likely to experience some stress along the way so don’t just be tempted by a cheap fee or a vastly higher valuation – the wrong decision could cost thousands!

Bradleys Estate Agents have 30 branches running across Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. Having won multiple awards for customer service and customer experience and offer a host of moving services including mortgage services, lettings, conveyancing, new homes and Chartered Surveyors.