Do estate agents really know the price of a house?Make Text Bigger
How a house is really valued is the subject of a seemingly never ending debate raging between economists, estate agents, surveyors and property professionals.
The final figure is not that important to anyone other than a property investor or buy to let landlord looking to buy, sell or remortgage.
But a list of property related organisations are continually giving homeowners their take on house prices.
Several lenders and online property portals run their own surveys based on internal data like mortgage approvals and asking prices.
One that is often given importance is a sentiment survey based on opinions of estate agents and surveyors who are members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
Are the figures from this venerable institution with a worldwide reputation for integrity and fairness reliable?
Recent research from consumer champion Which? would suggest not.
RICS valuers are supposed to work to standard guidance to put a price on a home bearing in mind factors like location, size and comparable sale prices of similar property within a reasonable distance of the property.
Which? asked estate agents to value 12 properties and to put forward a competitive asking price for each one.
“We got widely varying prices – the agents suggested figures between £500,000 and £650,000 for one of the more unusual houses. The average difference was 13% – or £46,467,” said a spokesman.
A 13% difference on a house going on the market at the current average house price of around £166,000 is a variation of £21,580.
At worst, that could mean selling an average home for just £144,420, when another agent might make the full price.
Which? suggests calling three estate agents in to value a property and taking an average to work out a reasonable asking price.
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