Online house valuations: how accurate are they?
Nowadays, you can do almost everything online, from shopping to booking restaurants to controlling your finances. There is also an increasing number of online house valuation tools available, with many websites claiming to provide an instant estimate of what your property is worth.
As convenient as this sounds, can an online calculator really provide an accurate valuation of one of the biggest assets you own? We spoke to representatives from ESPC agents about online property valuations, what they are based on and whether they are a good starting point in the selling journey.
How is an online house valuation calculated?
First things first, what is an online valuation based on? Lyndsey Beckwith from Gilson Gray said that the valuation is “often an average taken from sales in the area”.
Scott Whigham from Blackadders agreed: “Online valuations will be based on what your neighbour or person across the street got for their home.”
The importance of other factors in calculating a property’s value
Selling prices of properties in your local area is a crucial element of calculating a house’s value. However, basing the valuation solely on this does not take into account many other important factors that will also affect the desirability of the property.
Maurice Allan from Lindsays points out that online valuations don’t take into account “current market conditions, the decorative condition, whether the garden is sunny, how good the local schooling is or the desirability of the local area and its amenities.”
Scott comments that while properties can look very similar externally, “internally they can be very different in terms of specification and layout.”
Lyndsey adds that it does not consider “improvements you have made, work which may need done, the views you may have or the extension which doubles the size of your home.”
Many of these factors require someone to visit the property and correctly assess the value these internal features add to the property.
Is an online house valuation a good starting point?
When selling your home, finding out how much it is worth is one of the first steps. Is an online valuation a quick and easy starting point for sellers, who can then go on to contact agents about getting a valuer to provide a more accurate figure of what a property is worth?
Michael Maloco from Maloco + Associates thinks they are: “For many would-be sellers instant valuations are a natural starting point on the selling journey. Sellers are often sufficiently savvy and sophisticated to understand the broad brush nature of the valuations given."
So, if you do decide to get an online house valuation, it’s worth bearing in mind that it could be different to your property’s actual value and ultimate selling price, due to it not taking into account the factors mentioned previously. For as accurate a valuation as possible, it’s important to follow up by contacting an agent and have a valuer visit your home.
Maurice said: “An online estimate cannot give you the peace of mind of knowing that the valuation is accurate. Using an experienced valuer from an established ESPC agent will ensure that the valuation is more comprehensive than can be obtained online.”
Get tips on preparing your home for sale
An added benefit to getting a property valuer out to your house, is that they will also be able to advise you on preparing your home for sale and your overall selling strategy. Scott said when a valuer visits a home, they can “provide hints and tips on how to improve the property for exposure.”
Lyndsey agrees, stating: “By having an experienced estate agent visit your home, not only will you get an accurate valuation, you will also get a marketing strategy tailored exactly for you. I know when I visit a potential seller we sit down and discuss how best to sell their home and devise a step by step plan including the all-important ESPC listing.
“Every property is different and deserves proper care and attention which can only be done by an agent who has visited you and your home and who will be with you every step of the way.”
Find out how much your home is worth
To help you find out how much your home is worth, ESPC agents offer a free valuations service – simply fill out our home valuation form, and we’ll put you in touch with one of ESPC’s agents to arrange a free valuation.
Find out more
Find out what happens at a house valuation, including how it’s calculated and how long it takes.
Did you know that you get more for your home with an ESPC agent? Our independent market research verified that ESPC agents achieved 107% of Home Report valuation on average while non-ESPC agents achieved 104%.