The value of your home is determined by more than just the housing market in general. There are steps Australian homeowners can take to help prepare their property and boost the valuation they may receive.
So, if your home loan lender is requesting a property valuation, or if you’ve initiated the process yourself, it’s worth understanding how a property valuation can benefit you and what options you have to prepare your home for the best possible valuation outcome.
What is a property valuation?
A property valuation typically involves a professional assessment of your property to determine the current market value. A property valuer will visit the home and perform a series of analysis to help make this determination.
However, if you’re looking for a rough estimate of your property value, this is something you may be able to determine yourself.
The process of property valuation will typically be performed in one of two ways:
1. Automated Valuation Model (AVM) – this is where a valuation will be determined through a valuation system that generates a property assessment. This can be done by the homeowner, typically for a fee. For example, sites like RealEstateView and OpenAgent allow you to enter in an address and through its own software can compare factors like the number of bedrooms and current market values for similar properties sold in your area.
2. Full valuation – this is where a professional valuer performs an inspection of the property to make an educated assessment of its value. They may take into consideration factors like the block size, number of rooms and bathrooms, garage, condition of the property including any repairs or maintenance needed, as well as current market values for similar properties and recent sales in your area. It’s not uncommon for two valuers to come to different determinations for your property. This is because home loan lenders in Australia will generally all have their own valuation systems as well as preferred valuers.
This is why it may be worth doing your research and requesting a second opinion if the property valuation performed by a valuer chosen by your lender does not yield a result you feel is fair.
When you should have a property valuation
Whether you are an owner-occupier or an investor, a property valuation is often an inevitable part of the journey of owning a home. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a house valuation to be performed multiple times, especially over a 25-30 year loan term.
Some of the most common reasons that homeowners and home loan lenders in Australia may seek a valuation report includes:
Selling the property
As a property valuation can identify the estimated value of your home, having it valued before you consider selling the property may help offer a good idea of what price you could get for your home if you do sell. Your real estate agent may be able to recommend professional valuer options to you, particularly valuer‘s that may be familiar with comparable sales in your area.
This can be especially useful if the market is in a period of downturn, as the valuer will take an estimate according to both your property and the current market. If one or more professional valuers determine that your estimated value is not where you would hope it would be at that particular time, this may indicate that it’s worth holding out for a more ideal time to sell. And vice versa if the market is hot and you receive a highly competitive valuation.
Refinancing your home loan
If you’re considering refinancing your home loan the new lender may request a property valuation as well – similar to when you first purchased a property and your mortgage lender valued the home. As part of the refinancing process, this will typically occur 2-3 days after you submit your application with a new home loan lender. This is a precursor to full refinancing home loan approval.
Home equity loan
When you take out a home equity loan, you are borrowing against the accessible equity in your existing property. This is generally for the purpose of freeing up some cash for a home renovation or even to leverage as a deposit for a second property purchase.
When assessing your eligibility for a home equity loan, the lender will need to value your property. This is because equity is the difference between your current home loan balance subtracted from the current market value of your home. To accurately determine how much you may be approved to borrow, the lender will organise a professional valuation.
7 tips to prepare for a property valuation
Whatever your reason is for needing to prepare for a property valuation, it’s worth knowing there are steps you can follow to boost your current market value today.
The professional valuer may want to see documentation about the property. This can include building plans, your rates notice and details around recent renovations. To help ensure you get the best valuation and ensure a smooth assessment, it may be worth having these documents on hand just in case.
2. Repairs and maintenance
If there are outstanding home maintenance projects you’ve been putting off, such as repotting plants or replanting flower beds, removing weeds from driveway cracks, or fixing broken tiles in your bathroom, now is the time to get these tasks completed. Property valuers will be going over these kinds of details with a fine-tooth comb, and doing the work now to present the best possible version of your home could help to boost your market value.
3. Professional cleaning
Speaking of the best presentation, first impressions are everything. It may be worth considering hiring a professional cleaner to get your home in tip-top shape for the valuer. While this is something you can do yourself to save money, if you’re short on time it can be a handy option. From cleaning windows to mopping floors, and dusting in hard to reach places, outsourcing your cleaning could be worthwhile.
4. Natural lighting
Whether your property is a freestanding home or a studio apartment, ensuring that you’re taking advantage of as much natural light as possible is always going to make a home feel more inviting.
Open blinds and curtains and move objects obstructing any windows before the professional valuer arrives. The valuer is also likely to take photos around the property, so presenting it with the best possible lighting could make the difference in terms of your market value.
5. Renovations and upgrades
If you are seeking to sell the property, many homeowners will typically try to boost the value of the property through renovations and upgrades. There are several home renovation options available that may boost the value of the property, including updating the kitchen and bathrooms, or installing solar panels on the roof.
And now may be a worthwhile time to consider updating any appliances that are staying in the home, such as dishwashers or heating and cooling units. A property with the latest appliances, or those that are more energy-efficient could be more appealing to buyers.
6. Clear your schedule
While it may feel weird to be home while a stranger walks through your living areas and assesses them, it’s worthwhile taking the time to clear your schedule and be available for the process. The property valuer will need to have complete access to all areas of the home, and you may need to be present to help them by opening locked doors or keeping pets out of the way.
6. Do your own research
As mentioned above, the valuation one professional may offer could be different to another valuer’s estimate. It’s always worth performing your own valuation through an AMV website, hiring an independent home loan lender if you’re refinancing or taking out a home equity loan, or just getting a second opinion before you sell the property.
Having a professional valuer estimate the value of your property is an inevitable process in the property buying journey. So, whether you’re selling your house, refinancing your home loan, or looking to leverage equity in your home to purchase an investment property, it pays to be prepared.
Any statements are general in nature and do not take into account your financial personal situation, objectives or needs. You should consider whether any statement/s is suitable for you and your personal circumstances. Before making any financial decision, consider your circumstances and the product disclosure statement.