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Getting a market appraisal - It is not all about selling

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Five key services an agent can provide during
a market appraisal:

  1. Give an estimate of value for refinancing
  2. Prevent over capitalisation
  3. Inform you of latest trends (what's hot, what's not)
  4. Tell you how the local market works
  5. Give you references to help you find local tradespeople

Inviting a Real Estate Agent to provide a 'Market Appraisal' can provide you with much more than an opinion of the value of your property. It is an opportunity to get professional advice and accurate information before you embark on any home improvement project, large or small. And its free!

However, we all know that nothing is really for free. Also, the thought of inviting a Real Estate Agent into your home is a repugnant idea to many people. They are too often considered a necessary evil to be called upon only when you have to sell property. The fact is most are knowledgeable professionals who work full time studying not only property values but the design features that make a property valuable. Their day to day work exposes them to the latest trends in design techniques, materials and colours, the brightest and the best, the exciting and the new. As well as the misjudged and disastrous! The nature of their job introduces them to the experts in the trades and professions. They spend their time living and breathing buildings that are investments, projects, homes and dreams. They know their stuff and they happily share their acquired knowledge.

You might ask "If I'm not considering selling why would a Real Estate Agent waste their time looking over my place? Do I have to pretend I'm thinking of selling? Then will the agent keep pressing me to list?" The answer is a good Real Estate Agent knows a Market Appraisal is not always about listing a property for sale. A good agent is in your area for the long term, not to push for the quick job. Agents need to sell themselves. Good agents know that a photo on the side of a bus shelter or a leaflet in a letterbox is a poor substitute for a face to face meeting.

He or she sees the Market Appraisal appointment as an opportunity to provide a service, to display their skills and to add to their local reputation so that when you or someone you know is actively in the property market, you will consider them or recommend them for the job. A good agent knows good service and ethical conduct leads to a good reputation. A good reputation leads to good business.

Now you know why an agent will give you a free Market Appraisal. So what can you gain from having an agent review your property? There are five key services that an agent can provide during a market appraisal:
  1. ESTIMATE OF VALUE – FOR REFINANCING. If renovating and planning on using equity in your property to finance the work, the Real Estate Agent's estimate of value will help give you an idea of a likely price a formal valuation will place on the property. A Licenced Property Valuer uses the similar factual information and formulas as agents to estimate property values. So before you bother applying to the bank with all the associated paperwork and possible costs, an agent can help ensure your budgets are realistic. (See Commonwealth Bank article about valuations here.) ().
  2. DON'T OVER CAPITALISE – SPEND SMART. Too often people over-capitalise on renovations not suitable to the property or the location of the property and only find out when it comes time to sell. Agents are often the bearers of this terrible message and are just as often frustrated on how easily this fundamental error of investing in property could have been avoided. They know what works, what doesn't, they can tell you what and how much return on investment you can expect.
  3. WHAT'S HOT -WHAT'S NOT: Agents are attuned to the latest design trends, they are naturally exposed to what is popular, what is clever, what is new. Each day they enter properties on the market, prepared by sellers and viewed by buyers who have done all the research. They deal with the experts as an essential part of their day to day business.
  4. HOW THE LOCAL MARKET WORKS: Agents study the local markets, what type of property is selling now or in the future, what type that is needed, what features buyers are seeking, what time of year is best for selling.
  5. LOCAL RELIABLE, QUALITY PROPERTY PROFESSIONALS & TRADES: Part of every agent's time is spent connecting his clients to property services- builders, painters, gardeners, architects, the lot. They develop a network and they learn who is good, who is reliable, who charges reasonably. This local network of trades and professionals is an invaluable resource.

Ultimately, a Market Appraisal will give you an estimate of the value of your property in the current market, but the appraisal process will also provide you with valuable information about your property, which will assist in many decisions relevant to managing your very valuable asset. No matter what your motivation for your renovation, be it purely to add value or to improve your utilisation of the property or, as most often is the case, a bit of both, you need the best advice and the best place to start is with your local Real Estate Agent.

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