Due to unpredictable property markets and a myriad of other factors, it can sometimes be tricky to estimate the value of a property. In many cases, you’ll never know the true value of a property until it’s actually sold.
To get an idea of how much you’ll get for your property, you can get a valuation or market appraisal to understand the market value of your property ahead of selling your property.
(To get an understanding of the value of your property, you can use our online valuation tool to get a free property value estimate as well as recent sales insights and market data on your suburb.)
What’s a property valuation?
A formal property valuation can only be undertaken by a qualified valuer who has undertaken specific education and training. They have a systematic approach and take in all factors that can possibly affect the value, providing a comprehensive, unbiased report on the property’s value.
A property valuation is generally completed within 2-3 business days and comes at a cost.
What’s included in a professional property valuation?
- Property description, including the number of bedrooms and size of the property
- Risk ratings, for example, environmental and market risks
- The property’s condition
- Local zoning
- Recent, comparable sales
- Any remaining issues uncovered in the valuation inspection
What’s a market appraisal?
A market appraisal differs from a property valuation. It’s a less formal estimate of your property carried out by a local real estate agent, rather than a valuer. If you find a real estate agent with extensive experience in the market, you’ll likely an accurate property estimate. Plus – they’re free!
You can compare real estate agents and book an appraisal here.
What are property valuations used for?
Both buyers and sellers can benefit from a professional valuation.
For buyers, a property valuation can reduce the risk of purchasing a property for more than its true market value. Especially if you’re buying privately. At auction, you can generally gauge the value of the property by prospective buyers’ willingness to bid.
For sellers, valuations are used for multiple reasons. One, to get an idea of the potential selling price of their property, and two, to gain an understanding of whether or not they can make any improvements to the value of their properties. They can also be a good indicator of whether or not they should sell now or hold off until the market picks up.
If you’re thinking about selling, a good real estate agent will know what buyers in your area are looking for in a property, and will know what trends are selling. So, getting a property valuer or a real estate agent in to do an appraisal can be a huge benefit if you’re looking for tips on value adding renovations or features. Compare agents here.
You can also get a bank valuation, which is used for banking or legal purposes only. For example, mortgage brokers use property valuations to ensure a property is secure for a loan, and the value of the property is enough to cover the mortgage if there’s a forced sale.
How to find out your home’s true market value
1. Research using an online valuation service
A good starting point in understanding the value of your property is using an online property estimate service.
(You can use our online estimate tool to get an understanding of the range in which your property is likely to sell for. You’ll get an estimate based on comparable sales in your area, the distance of your property to those sales, the number of bedrooms and condition of your property).
2. Get a professional agent to give you a market appraisal
Once you’ve done your research online, and you’ve got an idea of how much you could sell your property for, you can use the services of a real estate agent to give you a free market appraisal. Property appraisals are a great way to kick off the process of selling your house.
It’s a good idea to shop around for potential agents, compare their fees and marketing strategies and get tips and advice on selling. You can compare agents and book one or more appraisals here.
3. Get a qualified valuer to value your property
If you’re still not happy with your property estimate or require a more comprehensive view on the condition and value of your property and the surrounding market, you can pay a valuer to come and give you a formal property valuation.
There are a number of reasons why you might wish to get your property valued. The first is to get a clear idea of its house market value prior to selling - so you don’t get any nasty shocks further down the line!
If you’ve lived in your property for a number of years and made improvements, the chances are that its recommended asking price will have increased - but this isn’t always the case.
Your property price estimate will depend on the country’s housing market, any changes that have occurred in your neighbourhood (for better or worse), the success of any adaptations you’ve made to the home and any structural issues that are now affecting the building.
Having a clear house value estimate to hand will help you to determine how much you should be spending on the sale - and on any new property you are thinking of buying. A low estimate will mean that you may have to be more frugal, while a higher one suggests that you might end up with a bigger budget.
Another good time to get a house valuation is prior to refinancing. Most lenders will arrange for their own property estimate but having a second opinion will help you to be better informed and may put you in a better position to select the right provider.
You might also wish to get a real estate valuation prior to making a will, to help you understand the monetary worth of the asset you are bestowing and to ensure that you will be distributing your estate fairly.
There are many ways in which you can check your property’s value. For a start, you can arrange an online house valuation, book a free market appraisal or speak to a real estate agent or mortgage broker.
Is it a good idea to value my property online?
It’s important that you search around for the online house valuation calculator that has been deemed most accurate by its previous users.
A good way to gauge the quality of a tool of this kind yourself is to find out how much detail it requires in order to work. The more information you need to enter, the more accurate the result is likely to be. Of course, there is plenty of margin for error - so it’s always best to get a second opinion from a specialist “in the flesh”.
What is a market appraisal?
It’s important to remember that a market appraisal is not the same thing as an official property valuation. Instead, it's a free service that will give you a ballpark idea of the price you would expect your house to fetch if you sold it at the present time. A market appraisal will take into account market trends, the demand in your area, the sale prices of nearby properties and the main features of your home.
Because no one will come out to look at your property in person, it is likely that minute details may be missed. However, appraisals of this kind are totally independent, so you won’t feel any obligation to sell or to use a particular service provider.
If you like the results of your appraisal, it may still be worth getting a second opinion from a professional before you decide to sell or refinance your home.
What’s involved in using a real estate agent or mortgage broker to organise my house price valuation?
We recommend using the LocalAgentFinder tool to track down the best agents in your area. When making your choice, you’ll need to look into their track record in real estate value estimates.
If you want a property value estimate because you are thinking of refinancing, the agent you choose may also be able to point you in the direction of a quality broker.
Take a look at the reviews that have been posted online about each real estate specialist - including on LocalAgentFinder’s Homeowner Voice platform. This may help you to find out which agent is the most accurate property value estimator and which is more likely to lead you down the garden path.
To find a top home value estimator, use LocalAgentFinder to directly compare the details of multiple real estate agents in your area. Homeowners can use this tool for free to research the track records and standards of numerous local service providers. The data provided includes agent fees, marketing strategies and costs, biographies and customer reviews.
You can also find out how many properties an agent has sold to date, learn their median property sales price and find out how long, on average, a property on their books remains on the market.