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Explaining what a virtual valuation is, how accurate they are and whether you can use one to sell...

As a result of COVID-19, aspects of our everyday lives have changed forever, and property is no different.

We’ve seen stamp duty holidays, increased amount of demand and hikes in house prices like never seen before.

We’re also a lot pickier about who we allow in our homes, meaning selling your house can feel a little tricky – you need to have someone in for valuation, multiple different buyers being shown around and that’s before your property needs to be surveyed or you want to get removal men in.

But do you need to have a face-to-face valuation, or can you have a virtual valuation to help get your property sold?

We answer this question for you, alongside full information about getting a virtual house valuation, how to prepare your house and whether there’s a way you can sell your home with just a virtual valuation…

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What is a virtual home valuation?

A virtual house valuation is where the valuation of your property can be taken out without having an external visitor to the home. This could be a valuation over a video call or can happen over the phone.

This is something that has become extremely popular as a result of the COVID-19 lockdowns and people becoming stricter and more aware of who they let into their homes.

A virtual valuation also allows the valuer to give a valuation on more properties in one day and they don’t need to live close to the property.

The valuation could refer to that which is taken out by an estate agent, before you choose to market your property with them on the open market, or with a surveyor who works on behalf of your buyer’s mortgage lender, to ensure the property is worth what the buyer is paying and therefore is safe for the lender to approve a mortgage on the property.

Generally, though, a virtual valuation will refer to the valuation taken out by an estate agent, as more often than not a surveyor will want to see the property physically in person, as their valuation will need to be extremely accurate.

What happens during a virtual valuation?

What happens during your virtual valuation, will depend upon the type of virtual valuation you choose to have.

If you choose to have a video call valuation, then the first thing you will need to do is walk your chosen estate agent through your property, highlighting its best and most valuable features – for example, a modern kitchen.

After you have done this, the estate agent should speak to you about the different ways to market your property and what they feel may be the best method for you and your property.

They will also share with you what their valuation for your property is and how they’ve come to this figure. They should show you other similar properties in your area and also recent sold prices, to help you get an idea of what the market is currently like.

Once they’ve talked you through this, the estate agent should explain why you will want to sell with them and what they will do for your property to get potential buyers through the door and get you a sale.

You will also have the opportunity to ask any questions you have and to give them your expectations of selling your property.

If you’re looking for an over-the-phone virtual valuation, then this will take a slightly different path than a video call.

Instead of walking your estate agent through your property over a video, you will just need to give them a summary of what your property is like, the number of bedrooms, quality of decoration, etc.

You may also be requested to send over some photos so the estate agent can have a look at the property for themselves in order to give you a more accurate valuation. These don’t need to be professional photos and can be just taken on your phone.

Other than this, a telephone call and a video call will cover the same things and you should still be told all about your sale options and given an opportunity to ask questions over your telephone call.

Another option you have with a virtual valuation is a recorded walk-through, which requires you to video your property and then send it off to your estate agent, so it will be a less instant valuation.

A recorded walk-through allows you to do the valuation in your own time but will take more time if you want to ask questions and discuss the valuation you’ve been given as it can’t be done as instant as on a video or telephone call.

How do I prepare my house for a virtual valuation?

You will prepare for a virtual appraisal like you would for a face-to-face viewing.

If you don’t have a lot of time, the main thing you need to focus on is just making sure your house is tidy. This is just simple things like beds are made, no clutter filling the floor space and also that you have your toilet lids down (picky, we know, but it helps make your house look a lot smarter!).

This extends to your garden too – mow your lawn (if you have one) and buy some potted plants to put outside your house. This will help to increase your property’s curb appeal.

If you do have a little more time you could paint over any cracks in the walls or peeling paint on doors or windows, to help your house look smarter and give off a better impression. This isn’t a necessity, though, and isn’t likely to lead to a big difference in the outcome.

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Are virtual appraisals accurate?

The accuracy of a virtual valuation depends upon the type of valuation you decide to use. A video valuation will likely be the most accurate kind of virtual appraisal because the agent is able to see your house with their own eyes and will allow you to have an instant conversation about their valuation, as well as comparables and the condition of the housing market.

A telephone appraisal can also be as accurate as a video valuation but relies on you as the seller being open and honest about what your property is really like.

It may also help if you send photos before your telephone valuation, so the agent is able to see what you’re describing to them which may lead to them being able to give you a figure over the phone.

The least accurate type of virtual valuation is a desktop appraisal, where you have no communication at all with the valuer and they decide how much your property is worth based on the information they can find online.

What hurts a home appraisal?

There are several different factors that an agent will take into account when valuing your property that will be harmful to your overall valuation – some are factors you will be able to change, whilst others unfortunately will be things you can’t do anything about.

Factors you can control:

  • Lacks curb appeal – Before even beginning to look at your property in more detail, the valuer will take a quick glance at the outside to see how your property looks on first impression, from the roadside. If your property looks a bit shabby, whether this be dying plants, a rusty door or peeling paint on the windows, this is instantly going to give a bad impression and will negatively impact your valuation

  • Appliance condition – In a property, there are several important and expensive appliances, with your boiler being the biggest one, which if they’re poorly maintained isn’t going to have much longevity and is going to cost your buyer a lot to buy a new one. As a result of this, a valuer will pick up on this and will poorly impact your valuation

  • Poorly maintained – This point links in with the above, but if your property isn’t being maintained correctly, leaving it looking a little rough around the edges, then this is going to negatively impact your valuation. This is because if you, the seller, don’t fix all the areas that need sorting, then your buyer will have to use their time and money on it, which a valuer will be aware of and will therefore give you a lower valuation

Factors you can’t control:

  • Property size – If your home is on the smaller side, this is going to result in a lower valuation, as generally speaking, a bigger property leads to a bigger value. However, if your property is large but is ‘overbuilt’, meaning the house looks too big for the plot and leaves very little space outside, then this will also negatively impact the value of your property

  • Property location – The surrounding area of your property is just as important as your property being in good condition in terms of how it affects the value of your property. If you live in an area with a high crime rate or are surrounded by houses on the street that aren’t in good condition, these are both things that will negatively impact your appraisal

  • Condition of the market – Another factor you can’t control is the condition of the housing market and whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market. If it’s a seller’s market, this will mean there’s more buyers in the market than sellers and the demand for properties is high, which would lead to your property being a higher value

  • Age of property – The older your property is, the lower your property appraisal will be. This is something you’re unable to control, but it’s something you need to bear in mind to gauge your expectations

How can I sell my home using a virtual valuation?

If getting a virtual valuation is up your street and you’re wondering how you can sell your property using a virtual valuation, then we may be able to help you out.

Not only can we offer you a virtual appraisal, but the price we give you is also the price we can pay to buy your property in cash!

All we need is a phone call with yourself, where we will discuss your property with you in detail in order to get an idea of what your property is worth. In order to give you the most accurate valuation possible, we require you to be completely open and honest about your property and its condition, so we can do the work on our end to get you a cash offer.

Don’t worry, though, we buy any property in any condition, so you can be completely honest about any defects your property may have, we won’t be put off!

On top of our cash offer, we will also cover all the fees associated with selling – that’s right, no solicitor fees or estate agent fees, nothing at all to pay!

We can also buy your property in a timescale of your choosing, whether that be a week, a month or a year – we’re flexible, we’ll work around you.

If after your virtual valuation you wish to have a face-to-face viewing to get the most accurate figure, we have a team of regional managers who have expert local knowledge to have a quick viewing of your property and confirm with you our guaranteed figure.

On top of this, we’re members of The Property Ombudsman and the National Association of Property Buyers, meaning you can feel safe in the knowledge we have regulations we will follow and you, as the seller, are protected.

Ready to get sold with a virtual appraisal? Give us a call or fill in our online form for a no-obligation cash offer to get your house sold in a timescale that works around you…

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Tom Condon

Tom Condon, one of our content writers, has fascinating expertise in sustainability in the property industry. Tom thoroughly understands the market and has experience in both residential and commercial property. He enjoys attending conferences and staying current with the most recent property trends.