How Much Is My House Worth?
Though the property market is notorious for constantly changing, it is important for any homeowner to understand the value of their own property. Whether you consider your house a home, or simply view your property as an investment, knowing the true value can give you an edge when negotiating a price, should you ever choose to sell? Understanding home values is difficult, though. It can be a little confusing when you see two houses on the same street sell for completely different prices. It certainly might cause you to ask “How much is my house worth?” Fortunately, with a deeper understanding of the factors that affect property value and how to check current property value, you’ll quickly be able to answer your own question. This post will detail how to find out what your house is worth, the factors that affect the value of your property, and how to increase the value of your house.
How Much is My House Worth?
There’s no immediate answer to this question, and house prices can fluctuate due to a number of factors, including the overall economic climate. But it is possible to check the value of your home at any given time, which is particularly important when selling.
Valuing your house essentially means finding out how much it’s actually worth. According to Land Registry data, as of July 2019, the average house price in the UK is £232,710 and the index stands at 122.05. This reveals a 0.6% increase compared to the previous month, and a 0.7% increase compared to the previous year.
Alongside the fluctuation of property prices, there are many other factors that can affect how much your house is worth, ranging from the area, the weather and local amenities, and even how much storage space you have! Here are a few others that may impact your home’s overall value.
The following are just some of the factors that affect residential property values:
- Crime rates
- Flood risk and air pollution
- School catchment areas
- Transport links
- Local amenities
- If the house suffers from subsidence
- Size and layout of the house
- Storage space available
- Hidden factors such as dampness, boiler maintenance and plumbing problems
Why Location Matters: One of the reasons it’s so hard to understand property values is that location is everything. You’ve likely heard this from estate agents, and that’s because it’s true. In some places, “How much is my house worth to UK buyers” simply means a higher number. For example, in London, the average home price is far higher than it is in the West Midlands. Some of that is due to the shift in regional salaries and available jobs, but some of it, too, is just due to supply and demand in certain areas. There are places where homes are badly wanted but few go up for sale each year.
The Effect of Crime Rate Statistics in Your Area: Many researchers have found that crime rates in an area can affect property values by as much as two percent, and that’s particularly true in spaces where violent crimes have been prevalent. As crime rates go down in a certain area, prices for homes in that area tend to go up.
A Closer Look at Environmental Risks: Air pollution and flood risks can also affect property values. Many reports have found that pollution can change home prices by up to 15%. That actually matters more than ever because there are many tools available today to check pollution in a certain area. Local air quality affects health more than ever today, particularly for those who suffer from allergies and asthma. The extent to which your property is a flood risk also affects home values. Researchers have found that one in six homes in the UK is at risk of flooding, whether from groundwater or rivers and coasts. Flood maps help to show whether properties are at risk of flooding. If a flood has occurred within the last three years for a given property, it could affect the overall valuation.
How Schools Affect Prices: Prices for homes near good schools are almost always higher. In fact, it can affect a sales price by nearly £20,000. The Department for Education has found that prices tend to be eight percent higher near those primary schools that perform well.
Why Public Transport Access is Important: Better transport links mean access to everything the UK has to offer, and that may spell an increase in the overall value of your property. This can even be true for transport links that are planned for the near future. Keep in mind, though, that properties too close to transport links may suffer due to noise pollution.
What Nearby Amenities Do for Homes: Shops, restaurants, and even nearby gyms are all becoming important ways to distinguish your property from others, so if you’re close to options like those, your property is likely to get a higher valuation.
The Problem with Subsidence: Subsidence happens when the ground beneath your home begins to sink, creating an unstable foundation for your home. The problem here is that it can cost quite a bit of money to fix, and a home survey will quickly reveal whether you have an issue with subsidence. It must be addressed before you sell the home.
The Power of Home Size: It’s not always easy to compare home values even on the same street, either. If you have a larger garden or an upper extension, your home may be worth more than that of your neighbour. End of terrace houses tends to be larger than mid-terraced houses. Detached and semi-detached homes are different in size, too, which affects values. Knowing the size of the properties around you can often help you answer the question “How much is my house worth.” As a result, if you are doing some comparing of other homes, you may want to look at their EPCs to get a good sense of how much larger those other homes might be than yours. Today, bigger is better is the slogan, and more people than ever want larger possible homes.
Other things can affect a home’s value, too. For example, if your home has a floor plan that makes sense for families, you’re likely to see a higher overall value. More storage space and options like a two-car garage can mean your home goes for more money as well. Additionally, ensuring your home’s foundation is sound and there are no potential inspection issues like problems with the electrical or plumbing infrastructure may mean your home is worth quite a bit more money than one down the street.
How to check the value of your home
Now that you know what might be affecting your home’s value, you may be ready for some hardcore numbers. If you want an exact answer to “How much is my house worth in the UK”, then arranging for a physical valuation is the most accurate way to find out. This is going to provide you with the highest level of accuracy. It involves inviting a valuer, surveyor or agent to your home, who will look at the same factors potential buyers will, such as the topography, the location, the size of your home and the land it’s built on. A surveyor will come to your home and look at all of the features involved. Then, they compare your home with others on the market to offer you a solid valuation. You can typically take that valuation to an estate agent or another professional and list it with confidence at that number.
These professionals are highly qualified, informed on the current market and are able to provide a correct valuation that you can count on, whether you wish to sell or you’re just interested in the current price of your home.
If you’re interested in finding a reliable evaluator, you’ll want to look for the following qualities. First, select someone who has some experience. Most valuators have direct experience in your area or with homes of your type, so you’ll want to select someone who has done this for some time. You’ll also want to choose someone who is regulated by RICS, or the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. Find out, too, whether they turn around reports fairly swiftly. Some can do it in just a few days while others take weeks. You likely want data as soon as possible, and understanding their turnaround times can help you get just that. Learn, too, if it’s okay to talk through the valuation afterwards. You may have questions or concerns about why something was on the report the way it was, so you want to be sure you’re working with someone who is willing to work through your questions or concerns.
Keep in mind that a valuation can cost £150 and £800, which may not quite meet your budget. If that’s the case, there are some other low-cost ways to find out generally what your home might be worth.
However, due to this being the most exact method of valuation, sometimes these visits can be costly. But if you wish to sell your house fast, Good Move can help with your valuations for free. With our speedy process, there are no hidden solicitor, valuation or estate agent fees.
A Few Other Options as you ask “How Much is My House Worth”
Many people today rely on free and paid online valuation tools you’ll find on various home-selling websites. These tools are a great way to get a general idea of what your home might be worth. It’s important to note, though, that these valuations aren’t perfect. In some cases, the results can be thousands of pounds from what you might get when you list it on the market. Because these tools are just estimates, they don’t actually properly assess every piece of your home the way an actual valuation would, and they’re based on historical data, which can’t always account for what the market is doing today or might do tomorrow. If you want to find out the current value of your house, it’s better to speak to a professional. The good thing about these tools, though, is that they can provide you with a solid basic value of your home if you’re just curious about what it might be worth.
Are Free Online Valuation Tools Accurate?
Here are some common free valuation methods and points to consider about their accuracy:
- Track house price trends by area:
Your first port of call should be to get a general overview of the market, specifically your local area. Though this data is usually out of date by a month or so, the Land Registry collects data on sales and records near every residence in England in Wales. Its official House Price Index offers average house prices by country and region across a variety of property types. It offers you a great overview of the market itself right in your local area. It includes a Price Paid dataset, and it’s easily one of the most comprehensive options available today. In fact, it’s the basis of many of the other tools you’ll find online, and even professional surveyors use it for simple reports. The numbers here are updated every few months, and they’re fairly accurate given that the Land Registry gets data on sales from almost every residence in the UK. It will usually give you average home prices by country and overall region, and it subdivides its data based on property types. To use it, you just have to click to see sold house prices in your area. You can reach back to 1995 with this tool. You’ll have to enter a bit of information like postcode and the name of the road, and you may have to narrow things down a bit to get the information you need, but there are several ways to narrow the data. Once you’ve done that, you can see almost everything about those homes that have been sold. If, however, the house was not sold at market value (if, for example, it was a repossession purchase) or the property was gifted, you may not see that information listed.
- Monitor housing market forecasts:
It is worth taking forecasts with a pinch of salt as nobody truly knows how the property market will evolve. However, websites such as HousePriceCrash use data from the Land Registry, Home track and the Financial Times to crunch property trends and prices. This site offers data forecasts, so you’ll need to be fairly careful here, but you will get numbers that might relate to home property prices and trends.
- Consider the sale price
Though property values will naturally be different now from what they were decades ago, Nationwide’s House Price Index Calculator is useful to at least understand how much property prices have changed. This tool is, of course, limited as it doesn’t account for an area or other factors that may impact the value of your home. It offers a very different view of the housing market. It uses data from its index to look at how your home’s property value has changed over time, and the results from the online calculator also help you see what house prices in your area currently are. While it doesn’t give you data on specific towns or cities, it does help you see the general trends in various areas of the UK.
- Free online valuations
There are plenty of online valuations that are free. They are often considered questionable, as many only ask for your postcode and number of bedrooms. Additionally, more cynical property experts have found that free online valuations usually overestimate the value of a house, so if you do use one, be sure to take your results with a pinch of salt. Here are a few you may want to consider:
- RightMove and Zoopla: Many people today look to websites like RightMove and Zoopla to get an answer to “How much is my house worth”. Both will help you see properties for sale in your own neighbourhood, and they also have a “How Much is My Home Worth” tool that will help you determine a rough value for your own house.
- Net House Prices Valuation: This website was initially introduced in 2003, and it’s a good way to help you do a bit of research as you try to find an answer to the “How much is my house worth in the UK” question. You simply look for their SOLD prices page, and then you enter the postcode of the area in which you’re searching for recent homes sold. The data here is a bit sparser than data in other areas, though, and you’ll see lots of ads for other free valuation tools, not all of which are trustworthy. In fact, some are linked to estate agent websites, and those can’t always be believed. The returns on your info will likely just be the address of the property that was sold, the type of property it was, whether it was a new build, its overall selling price, and the date it sold.
- MousePrice House Valuation: This tool has been operational since 2004, and here you can check quite a bit of information. You’ll have to enter the postcode, as you do with many other tools, and once you do, you’ll see all of the standard information – property address, property type, the amount it sold for, and more. The interesting thing about this site, though, is that you can click on “Expand Price History” beside those listings and see all of that property’s previous selling prices so you can get a good sense of how the property’s value has changed over time. It also has some unique graph functions that show home sale values in an area over the previous six-year period.
- Property Price Advice Valuation: This site was added to the line-up of home valuation sites in 2005, and offers a completely free, impartial answer to “How much is my house worth”. You just enter the postcode and search for sold house prices. You’ll see a list of properties with the last sale date and property type. Then you can select the distance and other data to gain a closer look at properties that have sold with a similar type within a mile of that property.
- Our Property Valuation: This is one site that will require you to register if you want to use it, but it does have a unique feature that really sets it apart – the survey feature. You’ll enter the postcode to get the data you might find on any other site, but then you can select “Survey” to get a closer look at key characteristics. That data could include the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and more. Additionally, it offers a “House Price Statistics” section that allows you to get a glance at listings from most expensive to least expensive in the area, and areas where the most homes have sold across the UK.
- The Move Market: This site is fairly new, and it compiles data based on what’s currently in HM Land Registry to try to answer the “How much is my house worth” question. Once you’ve entered the postcode you want information from, you’ll get the total number of sales over the last 10 years in that area, the most recent sale, and the property types that tend to sell well in that area. It also offers you a closer look at some details like the overall number of bedrooms. You can even check housing prices in neighbouring areas along with that data or just the numbers on your street specifically. Select the House Price Rises button, and you’ll be able to see a unique graph that represents how house prices have changed over the last few years in that area. It also lists historic home sales and even a full sale history of a given property. It even offers an investment rating out of five stars on each page. Moreover, you can select “Refine Valuation” and see how much more a certain property is estimated to go for if you replaced certain features like the kitchen, flooring, windows, and doors. There’s also a “Major Renovations” tab that helps you understand what additional value might be added to a home by doing bigger projects like bedroom extensions or outbuilding additions. It goes as far as breaking down the price per square foot of each property, housing costs (like stamp duty and such) and how it compares to other properties in the same postcode.
- Acadata House Prices: You may see this site featured in many mainstream media outlets, and they take a slightly more academic approach to home valuations online. The house price calculator takes into account inflation. You’ll have to enter the type of property you own, how much you paid for it when you bought it, and your postcode to get started. Then you get the estimated value with inflation factored in.
- Property Data: This one offers a free trial as you answer “How much is my house worth in the UK”, but it’s only free for 14 days. If you want to keep an eye on your home’s value, though, it’s well worth the investment. There are three different sections to this tool – Research, Source, and Evaluate. This tool is quite helpful because it offers you both the complete asking and selling price of any property, and it segments that data by either the total square footage of the property or the overall number of bedrooms. It also offers rent data for those considering purchasing an investment property. Moreover, it can tell you how the house value has grown over the course of the last five years. It also tracks activity and demand in the area and deals with demographics like health and education levels of certain neighbourhoods. Additionally, it gives data on crime rates in an area, planning applications, primary and state school rankings, and (of course) instant valuations. If you plan to market your home soon, this data could be invaluable to potential buyers.
These are just a few different options you have. There are actually lots of other online valuation tools out there that are completely free. Although they won’t tell you exactly what your home is worth when you enter your current postcode and the number of bedrooms in your home, they will give you a general answer to the question of “How much is my house worth?” for UK homeowners.
As you look at these online valuations, you’ll certainly want to keep a few things in mind. First, keep track of how each property compares with the rest of your local market. A property that is priced far higher than everything else in the area either has some amazing amenities or is far overpriced for the market. You’ll also want to think about how those properties compare in terms of the overall condition. Properties that are new or have been recently renovated tend to go for higher prices than those that need some work. Look, too, about how long each property has been on the market. The longer a property is listed, the lower the asking price of that property might sink. Keep in mind that some properties, though, aren’t sold because poor estate agents can’t manage to get the right marketing in place to make it happen.
Now I Know the Answer to “How Much is My House Worth.” How Do I Increase The Value of My House?
Once you answer your original question, you may wonder what you can do to change those numbers and shift your question to “How much is my house worth now”. You may have already had a home valuation, or you might want to increase the value of your house ahead of time. Either way, there are several methods of increasing the value of your property which will mean that your house will be worth even more! Quick fixes and longer projects include the following:
- Check Mechanics: Increasing the value of your home actually starts with a close check of any potential problems. Hire an electrician and a plumber and get them to check over your property as loose wiring, faulty plugs and water leaks can all devalue your home. If there are any electrical problems, water leaks, roof issues, or pest infestations, you’ll want to have those addressed immediately.
- Treat Any Damp: Moisture problems can also devalue your home. They can be tough to treat, but it is possible. Damp is frustrating as it can be difficult to permanently eradicate. However, it can be treated. Either hire a company to treat your house or do it yourself with mould killer and anti-mould paint.
- Clean Your Carpets: You don’t need to replace your entire carpet. However, ensuring that it is clean and in good condition can quickly update a home, and can help to increase the current value of your house. Hire a professional carpet cleaner or, if it’s beyond saving, cover it with strategic rugs. One study found potential home buyers are willing to pay up to 54% more for beautiful, clean flooring, so treat yours well. If you have carpeting, you don’t necessarily have to replace it if it remains in good shape. You can just have it professionally cleaned should you decide to sell. If you do need a replacement, though, choosing to invest wisely here could certainly be worth it and increase the overall value of your home.
- Add a Closet to Your Bedroom: Did you know that a study can’t be considered a bedroom because it doesn’t have a closet? Adding in a custom closet system and plasterboard will not only increase your room number, but the customisation will also increase your overall property value! Closets are a big issue for many buyers. They absolutely want one in every bedroom. In fact, one study found that most buyers don’t consider a bedroom to be a sleeping space unless a closet was included. You may want to hire a handyman to add a small closet to every room that doesn’t already have one.
- Consider the Garden: A freshly mown lawn and a nice driveway are fairly easy to implement, and they add to the overall appearance of your property. Why not try a spot of gardening yourself? Or, if you are willing to splash the cash, speak to a landscaper. Hire someone to make some improvements. Both the front and back gardens improve the overall appeal of your space, and it won’t take much to convince buyers of the beauty of your property when you add to these two spaces. Be sure the lawn stays mowed and add some perennial plants that are easy to care for.
- Update your Kitchen and Bathrooms: Don’t let cracks and chips devalue your bathroom; update your suite with clean, modern fittings and be sure to replace dingy tiles and discoloured flooring. The same applies to your kitchen; update your appliances and white goods and ensure the colour choices are cohesive. You don’t want your bathroom or kitchen to look unattractive if you plan to put your home on the market soon. Replace countertops, consider repainting vanities and cabinets, and keep your appliances in good, working order to make both of these spaces as attractive as possible.
- Increase Your Storage Space: Adding storage space can help add to the value of your home, too. Consider adding wire and laminate storage systems to closets, cellars, pantries and bathrooms. It reduces clutter, increases customisation and generally improves the overall appearance of your property. It can help potential buyers see just how much storage you have available.
Why the Answer to “How Much Is My House Worth” Matters
Knowing the overall worth of your home matters as you work to sell your home or just better your investment. It’s best to keep up with the value of your home every few years so you get a sense of how your investment is growing and changing.
Whether you need a cash injection or are relocating to your dream home if you’re looking to sell your property fast and are wondering how long a house sale takes, speak to Good Move. We use RICS-certified chartered surveyors to gain a unique insight into the sector, and will provide you with an accurate estimation of how much your house is worth. Contact our team today for a free cash offer.