Home Front logoQ. I have made an appointment for an estate agent to come and see me to value my home as I am thinking of selling up. However I am concerned as how can I be sure that an agent is putting the right price on my home, how do they arrive at their figures and can you give me some advice to make sure I get this right?

A. Your home is your largest single asset and when deciding to sell it is absolutely vital that you get someone in to handle the sale that knows what they are doing. An experienced agent that has worked your area for several years will be able to put a bench mark price on the property even over the telephone if you give them a few details. So, if you invite them in for a valuation they should be able to give you a confident appraisal following a walk around the property and a chat with you to discover any other relevant details that may increase/decrease the value of your home. Now days most agents tend to use the Comparable Sales Method, this method is one of the more common techniques used in estimating the value of property for sale and is based on the prices of similar properties that have been sold in the local area. It is also sometimes referred to as the ‘Inferred Analysis’. The principle of this method is that the value of a property is based upon what it is likely to sell for. This method therefore incorporates relevant market conditions and activity within a particular location. A wealth of comparable property data is collated and characteristics, such as details of recent transactions and features of the property, are analysed. These include, the date of the transactions, the property size, the condition of the property and the location. Once the data has been analysed, an appropriate price range can be attributed to your property, with properties most similar to yours getting a higher weighting in the analysis. Remember, all estate agents are providing you with a valuation for free in order to try and win your instruction, which is why it is recommended you always obtain three valuations. Once you have decided on an acceptable marketing figure, ensure that it is also a realistic figure. Everyone wants to maximise the sale value of their property, but an over-priced property may be difficult to sell, particularly if you’re in a hurry to move. Regardless of the valuation price you arrive at for your property, it will only be worth what a buyer is prepared to pay for it. If, for example, your property or road is highly sought after, in a market where demand is strong and supply is weak, you may find buyers are prepared to pay more than the marketed price to secure the property. Similarly, in a weaker market and in a less sought-after area, the opposite is likely to occur.