How much is my house worth? – discussing it, researching it and finding out the answer is practically a national pastime for any homeowner.
And for good reason, too. Over the years, your home has almost certainly increased appreciably in value. According to a report in the Daily Mail on the 2nd of November 2017, house prices increased by an average of 4.5% a year over the past 20 years and by an average of 6.8% a year over the past 40 years.
For the latest, up to date (January 2018) movements in the UK House Price Index, you might want to consult the figures for the same periods published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
During a 20 year or so period, you are also likely to have paid off your mortgage so that the equity in your home represents a considerable capital sum.
To unlock the potential of this sum, you might want to consider one of the many equity release schemes available, using the monies released to fund your options for trading up or downsizing – or for increasing the value of your current home by extending or renovating it.
Equity release might also be used for improving the level of income you stand to enjoy during your retirement by increasing the size of your pension pot.
The market value of your home
National statistics on the movement of average house prices are all very well, of course, but they do not tell you so much about the actual increase in value of your own home.
There is considerable variation in the movement of house prices – property values vary not just regionally, but in different districts of the same town or city, even down to street by street differences.
So, if you want are asking yourself “how much are property prices in my street?”, you need to do some homework. Here are some ideas …
You might choose a professional valuation – but it is going to cost you.
It might be conducted by a firm of property valuers or you may choose to have a survey done according to standards laid down by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
The latter’s HomeBuyer Report (survey & valuation), not only gives you an up to date market valuation and condition report that points up areas needing repair, maintenance or attention, but also an estimated cost of reconstruction – which is a useful figure for home insurance purposes.
If you want to save money on those costs, an alternative involves a certain amount of legwork but is entirely free.
Take a walk to your local high street – making a note of any “for sale” signs on houses similar to your own along the way – and, in the centre of your town, estate agents’ offices are likely to outnumber the surviving charity outlets and betting shops.
Window shopping for prices of property in the area – some of which are likely to be similar to your own – is a favourite way for many people to pass a Sunday afternoon.
Online house buying sites
You might save yourself not just the money but also effort by browsing some of the many online property websites.
These have become increasingly sophisticated in the amount of information conveyed – a lot of which may be used in the quest to find out how much your house might be worth.
The website Rightmove, for example, produces price comparison reports which draw on information from its own listings, the Land Registry and Registers of Scotland to arrive at historic and current estimated valuations. Together with illustrations of and the individual prices at which houses were sold, the website also offers the average prices at which different types of housing were sold and recent movements in those prices.
The website Zoopla offers similar data and also a free valuation service based on whatever data exists for properties within your particular postcode. It draws information from all 28 million of the UK’s homes, from an array of sources including the Land Registry, surveyors, estate agents and whatever details you are able to provide about your own home.
New kids on the block
In addition to those well-established online property websites, there are also a number of new kids on the block – each looking for a novel angle to help you determine how much your house is likely to be worth.
These include websites such as Purple Bricks, which maintains its own panel of local property experts, and On the Market, which follows patterns already established by listings sites such as Rightmove and Zoopla.
On the television, you might want to take a leaf or two from the Property Ladder’s presenter (and would-be marriage registrar) Sarah Beeny – whose interview in Hello! Magazine on the 2nd of January 2018 gives some behind the scenes insights.
The acid test
Finally, of course, it might be worth stating the obvious. The only truly conclusive way of finding out what your house is worth is to put it up for sale on the open market and see what someone is prepared to pay for it.