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Unfortunately, property valuations are an unavoidable part of the home buying process in Sydney. They’re done by your bank when you purchase a property, refinance or access built-up equity. It’s a safety net for your lender, so they don’t loan you more than your property’s worth. Valuations can also give you an indication of the value of the property you own or are about to purchase.
When refinancing to a lower interest rate or to access the equity in your asset to put towards a renovation or other property purchase, a valuation can make or break your plans depending on how far above your expectations, or below, it comes in at.
To help you prepare for the outcome of property valuations, in today's blog, we would like to list some factors you should be aware of.
Choosing a valuer
When a bank orders the property valuation, in most cases you don’t get to choose the valuer. Lenders are likely to have their own internal valuation team or a preferred valuation company they know and trust. This is because there’s an expectation that if you choose a valuer yourself, the valuer will work for you, so you’re more likely to get a better outcome, whereas if they’re ‘employed’ by the lender, then they’ll be more cautious to protect the company they work for.
Types of property valuations
Full, kerbside or desktop valuations each have different benefits. Recently renovated properties or those with features that need to be seen, like unexpectedly amazing views, are better off having a full valuation where a valuer physically visits, enters and inspects the property. Kerbside or drive-by valuations involve the valuer sighting the property but not actually go inside, which could benefit older or more damaged properties. These are typically done in combination with a desktop valuation, which involves online research of market values for the area, recent sales and property files.
Align with your mortgage broker
If you’re refinancing through a mortgage broker, they will discuss with you the potential value of the property and make a recommendation to the lender based on this and their own assessment through using market insights. Make sure you know what your mortgage broker has listed.
Erring on the side of caution
Accredited valuers are legally responsible for the information they provide and must keep copies of all records and information to do with the property valuation for a minimum of six years. This means they’re naturally more likely to be more conservative in their valuations to protect themselves, rather than get a name as a valuer who over-inflates prices.
Do your research
Having a reasonable expectation of what your property is worth will help you avoid disappointment when a valuation comes in well below your expectations. Look at comparable sales in your area, local real estate agents should be able to give you a list of recent sales. When comparing recent sales, make sure you take note of properties that are most similar to yours in size, the number of bedrooms/bathrooms, property age, views and any renovations.
Without stalking your valuer around your property, being there to point out special features or additions to your property will help ensure things that could add value don’t go unnoticed, such as new wiring, underfloor heating or city views.
Have you recently had your property valued?
What did you find out that you wish you’d known before?