When you are searching for the perfect property, it can be challenging to work out exactly how much you should be paying. Rather than relying completely on the word of others, you can develop your own strategy for valuing a property, so you have a better independent idea of how much it is really worth.
1. Make a comparison search
Property sales are in the public domain, so you can research your chosen area and make a list of five comparable properties that have sold within the last six months. To ensure the properties are comparable, make sure they are within a kilometre of your target property, and that they have similar features, such as the same number of bedrooms, bathrooms and car spaces, and a similar land size. Also make a note if any property has additional features such as a pool, or whether it is more conveniently located in relation to amenities such as schools and transport.
Do not include properties that have not yet sold, as the advertised price is not a true indication of how it will sell.
2. Rank your list
Once you have a short list of comparable properties including the one you are planning to sell or buy, rank each property in order from “Most Desirable” to “Least Desirable.” Try to be objective in this exercise, looking at the land size and location, rather than whether you prefer one garden to another. Proximity to schools is a plus if you are valuing a three or four bedroom home, but less of a concern for a one or two bedroom home. Buyers tend to be drawn to properties with newly renovated kitchens and bathrooms, so keep this in mind when ranking your properties. Your ranking from most to least desirable might not tally with the ranking from most to least expensive – this will give you an idea of what features are important to people buying into the area.
3. Adjust for market movements
Now you have placed your target property within a list of five comparable properties so you can see where it stands in the price range between the most expensive and least expensive properties. However, the market may have shifted within the last six months from hot to cold or back again, since the first property was sold, so you will need to adjust for current market conditions.
Once you have adjusted, you should have a clear idea of how much your target property is currently worth, based on its place in your ranking list.
4. Check your figures
You can back up your research by checking the median house price for the suburb in question. The Domain real estate website will also show the discounting percentage for a specific area, which is the average discount below the agreed listing price. For example if a house listed at $1 million sold for $900,000, then the discounting percentage is 10%.