Last updated: 12/10/2020 | Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes
How much is my house worth?
Your property’s value changes all the time. When taking out a home insurance policy or looking to move, you need to know the market value of your property. This is likely to have changed if you’ve lived in the same place for a long time.
This handy guide will take you through some of the problems and questions that arise from calculating a fair price for your home.
In This Guide:
- Why do I need to value my house?
- What affects the property’s value?
- How can I increase the value of my home?
- Rebuild Cost vs Market Value: What’s the difference?
- Does Right To Buy affect my property’s value?
- How do I get a valuation?
Why do I need to value my house?
There are many reasons for needing to value your property, including:
- You’re selling your house: It’s good to get a variety of property valuations from different estate agents so you can get the best deal. Hot tip: choose the estate agent whose valuation is in the middle of those given.
- You need better home insurance: It’s important to ensure you are on the right home insurance plan, so that you’re protected in the unlikely event of serious damage or theft. The housing market fluctuates, especially in urban areas, so it’s vital you are aware of how the value of your house is changing.
- Your current mortgage deal is ending soon: Over time, your loan-to-value amount will likely decrease, opening up more favourable mortgage deal options. Lenders will offer you automatic valuations, but these are calculated using generic percentages that often don’t reflect the actual market value. It’s worth seeking out a lender-approved valuation to check if you can be moved to a cheaper band to help lower your outgoings.
- You want to avoid negative equity: If you know that your property’s value has been falling, then getting a proper valuation will help you to make informed decisions about what to do next. For example, increasing your mortgage payments, or freezing any additional borrowing.
What affects the property’s value?
There are many different criteria that property surveyors and estate agents take into account when calculating the value of a certain property. Here are some of the most common (in no particular order):
- Size and layout
- Market fluctuation
- Crime rate
- Local amenities (shops, bars, restaurants, cinema etc)
- Local schools
- Transport links
- Risk of subsidence
- Flood risk
How can I increase the value of my home?
This depends largely on what you intend to do with the property.
If you want to rent it out, there are aesthetic changes you can make that will mean you could charge your tenants a higher rate, for example updating the kitchen or bathroom.
To add resale value, you should consider adding an extension; basement, loft or into the garden. This is especially effective in urban environments like London, where space is hard to come by.
If you undertake renovations but are not planning to move out, it’s worth considering how an increase in property value might impact the cost of your house insurance.
Rebuild Cost vs Market Value: What’s the difference?
When searching for home insurance quotes you need to know the rebuild cost. This is different from the market value, which gives an estimate of how much someone would be willing to pay for the property as it is.
The rebuild cost is usually lower than the market value because it doesn’t take into account things like local amenities or the cost of the land your property sits on. It is calculated based on the property’s age, size, location, land stability, and the labour and materials needed to rebuild from scratch.
The rebuild cost is only likely to be higher than the market value if you live in a building of architectural or historical significance, for example a listed building or a specially designed home.
Does Right To Buy affect my property’s value?
No. If you purchased your home with the Right To Buy scheme, your property will still be valued according to the same criteria as properties bought with cash or a mortgage.
As a Right To Buy homeowner, you stand to make a significant profit from the resale, so long as you comply with the restrictions imposed by the authority that granted the discount in the first place.
For example, in England, Right to Buy homeowners are required to stay at least five years before selling up, otherwise you are bound to repay some if not all of the initial discount as well as a proportion of any profit made.
How do I get a valuation?
You can use websites like Zoopla and Rightmove to track the asking and selling prices of similar properties in the nearby area. This data is kept up-to-date by homeowners and estate agents alike so can be quite reliable.
For the more analytical amongst you, use the gov.uk Property Price Trends tool to see if now really is the best time to sell: https://www.gov.uk/check-house-price-trends
Get in contact with estate agents and/or surveyors who will take a look at your property and give an educated value estimate. Check with your insurer however to make sure they will accept estimates from the agent or agency you choose.