How do I find out the value of my house?

Latest figures have shown that the average UK house price is a whopping £276,755. This is a 10.9% increase from the same time last year and a 0.5% increase from the previous month.

With an increasing number of properties hitting the market, and with house prices hitting record highs, it seems that many are looking to cash in on the current housing market. But how do you determine how much your property would sell for?

Nowadays, there are various methods to find out the value of your home. You can do it online through your computer or use more traditional methods like going to an estate agent.

In this article, we’ll be examining all these methods in more detail, as well as exploring how much it costs to obtain a house valuation and things you can do to increase the price of your property.

How do I find out the value of my house?

There are three main ways to find the value of your house – using historical data of sold properties in your area, using an online house value calculator, and asking your local estate agent. First, you can look at the history of sold house prices in your area. This will provide you with a rough estimate of how much you can expect to receive for a similar-sized property like yours.

Secondly, you can use an online valuation tool. Again, these will give you an estimated value of how much your house could be worth. The benefit of this is that it is an instant valuation, giving you immediate information to go with. For a more accurate valuation, you will want to go to a local estate agent. They will know the area better than anyone and will be able to provide you with expert property price advice. Let’s explore these points in more detail.

1. Historical sales data

There are various online tools that have data available on the price at which homes were sold. The most popular of these tools is by the HM Land Registry and Rightmove. Simply enter your postcode or street name, and you will be shown the house price of all sold properties at that postcode or street.

Both tools will allow you to filter by area, property type, property size, etc., to enable you to get a slightly more precise comparison of your property against sold properties. Rightmove also prepares a price comparison report that incorporates the HM Land Registry data with their own and current housing market trends to give you as close to an accurate value as they can.

However, you won’t receive detailed information such as what the asking price as compared to the sale price of the property, which can be important in determining what the house eventually sold for. You also won’t be given information on what the housing market was like at the time of sale. Therefore, whilst historical sales data can be helpful, it shouldn’t be the sole factor in determining what your house could go for.

2. Online valuation tools

The next step you can take to find the property value is to use an online valuation tool. There are various UK house price indexes that can do this, but the most popular ones are provided by websites such as Zoopla, Rightmove, and Nationwide. As with historical sales data, simply enter your postcode or street name and details of your house like the property type, number of bedrooms, etc.

Most of these online property valuation tools will give you an instant valuation so you can satisfy your curious mind immediately. But, similarly to historical sales data, this information should only be used as an estimate. There will be no in-person inspection of your property to look at the state of it – if there are any structural issues that need fixing or whether the interior decor is dated or not, etc. These things will influence the value of your property. Therefore, you have to take the values provided by online valuations with a pinch of salt, using them only as a rough ballpark figure.

3. Local estate agent

For the most accurate valuation of your house’s worth, you will have to use the old-fashioned method of going to your local estate agent. Local estate agents have expertise in the prices of homes in your city or town and will know what prices homes sell for in your neighbourhood, as well as price fluctuations within the same street. They will also factor in things such as the size of the property itself, any extensions you’ve had done, the size of the garden, whether the property is in good condition, how close it is to schools and public transport, and current demand in your area.

These are things that will increase or decrease the value of the home, something that an online house value calculator won’t take into consideration. When it comes to local estate agents, it’s good practice to get valuations from three different agents since individual agents may value your property slightly differently.

Is a home valuation the same thing as a survey?

No, they are different things. Typically there are three different lenses through which you can determine the value of a property, and all three may provide you with varying figures for your home. This is because their purpose for assessing the house is different. We’ll explain all three below:

House survey

A survey of your home will be carried out by qualified professionals called Surveyors. They tend to be members of the prestigious Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). RICS is an independent body, and the aim of its surveyors is to give an impartial, objective, and thorough health check of your property. Consider it like an ‘MOT’, but instead of for your car, it’s for your home.

The report will identify all problems with the current state of the property, and it will draw attention to potential problems the home could experience. The report will also outline the costs of addressing these issues. Therefore, since the aim of a survey is to look at areas of improvement with a property, the house valuation tends to be on the lower end of the house price spectrum.

Valuation by estate agent

The goal of every estate agent is to sell your home for you. Instead of doing a property health check like surveyors, instead, they will look at more aesthetic and visually appealing features of the house and how easy it will be to sell – e.g. how up-to-date the interior decor is. Also, they will consider the location of the property, market trends, etc.

But their goal is to sell your home and, in turn, earn a commission from that sale. Therefore, estate agents will tend to value your home at the higher end of the house price spectrum in the hopes that you will list your property with them as opposed to a competitor.

Valuation by a mortgage lender

Lastly, we have valuations from a mortgage lender. This valuation will probably be the hastiest one out of the three. Mortgage lenders tend to do a quick inspection of the property to protect their investment; they want to make sure that the house is worth the amount you wish to borrow for it.

It won’t be an in-depth analysis of the property like a surveyor would do and won’t look at potential issues like the structure or health of the property. However, some mortgage lenders will send a surveyor to your property and go with this valuation, so it depends on the lender.

How much does a house valuation cost?

Online valuations tend to be completely free and will give you an instant valuation – albeit not the most accurate. Likewise, estate agents will also give you a free valuation. But, depending on the online tool or estate agent you use, you may incur some charges, so it’s better to double-check before going through with it.

Since house surveys are done by professional and qualified surveyors – usually from the RICS – these won’t be free. RICS surveyors usually cost between £150 to £1,500 for house valuations. Some mortgage lenders may send a surveyor to the property for free, but others may charge you for the valuation.

How much will my home be worth in five years?

This is not an easy question to answer. It’s hard to predict what might happen over the next 12 months, let alone five years.

To give you an example, back in January 2020, almost nobody predicted that a month later, not only would we be in a global pandemic, but we would see a Stamp Duty holiday lasting for almost two years, which massively influenced demand and, thus, prices for homes. We are still seeing a considerable rate of price growth throughout the UK, with house prices hitting record highs.

This goes to show that it’s hard to accurately predict what will happen over the next five years. The best we can do is keep up-to-date with current market trends and act accordingly.

How to increase my home’s value?

Although we cannot predict what the value of a home will be in the future, we can make specific home improvements that will almost certainly increase the value of your home over time. Listed below are some great ways to improve the value of your home.

Maintenance of the exterior

This should go without saying but staying on top of the general maintenance tasks such as tending to the plants in your gardens, jet washing the walls of your property, and cleaning the gutters will improve the value of your home. Not only does it create a great first impression, but it shows the property at its best and makes it stand out from other houses on your street and in your area.

Redecorate

Redecorating your home can make a huge difference. Often we get comfortable with the way our homes look and don’t notice little things such as tired carpets or outdated furniture and paint jobs. Whilst you certainly don’t need to refresh your whole property every year, redecorating every now and then can breathe some new life into your home and make it appealing to buyers.

When painting rooms, opt for more neutral colours. Not only will it be less harsh on the eyes, but it will be less likely to become outdated. The same applies to bathrooms and kitchens; a new coat of fresh paint can spruce up the overall aesthetic of your home. Combine this with replacing tired cabinets and doors, and you’ll significantly increase the value of your property.

Loft conversion

Loft conversions are one of the most popular ways to increase the value of a home, and dormer loft conversions, in particular, are known to be one of the most cost-effective conversions.

By extending your property upwards instead of outwards, you aren’t impeding the precious outside space. At the same time, you’ll be increasing the number of rooms in your home, as well as adding significant value to it – as much as 22%. Many loft conversions won’t require planning permission and can be done for as little as £10,000 – £15,000, making it a popular home improvement method.

Declutter and deep clean

We’ve all seen images and videos of what a hoarder’s home looks like – it’s not pleasing to the eye. Nobody wants to move into a home that looks cramped and tiny; getting rid of excess furniture and belongings can make your home look much more spacious and appealing to buyers.

Whilst you’re clearing out unnecessary items from your home, it will also benefit you to give your house a deep clean. I’m sure there are areas of your home that maybe haven’t experienced as much TLC as they should have and addressing those issues will increase the overall value of your home. Whether that’s removing mould or mildew from the bathroom or clearing out the storage area underneath the stairs, every bit will help to make your home as appealing as possible.

Energy efficiency

Lastly, we have energy efficiency. You can do this by installing proper insulation in your home, double glazing your windows, or installing solar panels on the roof. No one wants to spend all their hard-earned money on bills. Therefore, if you can show potential buyers that your property is highly efficient with energy and has lower energy bills compared to the norm, your home will be more valuable.