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How to get your property valued during lockdown

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The reopening of the Deeds Office has meant property valuations can be done virtually.

Since the lockdown was implemented property professionals have been marketing properties and engaging with clients remotely and virtual valuations is just another solution to keeping the sector moving.

Sellers, however, need to be wise about how they go about these valuations

Q: How do I go about having my home valued virtually? Can I do it myself or does it need to be done by a professional?

A: Agent-led valuations are advised as anyone can ask you to fill out an online form and spit out an automated result. We pride ourselves on our brokers’ experience and skill in order to get you the right price for your property. The basis of an evaluation is a standard calculation using data from the deeds office and resources like Lightstone to determine the average sale price of similar properties in your area during the past three to six months. And the information needed for an agent to make a general comparison can be gleaned from a comprehensive questionnaire that the seller completes. However, not all homes are equal as some will have been renovated or upgraded while a similar house in the same road may still in its original condition, which is where clear detailed photos and video walk- throughs are necessary. It is the fine art marrying of these two sets of information, taking into account current trends, to calculate an accurate, market-related price that still requires the skill and knowledge of an experienced agent. – Yael Geffen, chief executive of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty

Q: What can I do to ensure that my home is valued as accurately as possible?

A: The rule of thumb is to err on the side of caution and give as much information as possible. It’s the unspoken that will affect the final value and, without being onsite, the agent cannot inspect those aspects for themselves so it would be wise to make the valuation range a bit wider than normal. Agents must also ask for close-up photos of random areas so they can zoom in on all images to bring a professional eye to look for issues. Also include places like the attic and factors like roofing and insulation. If possible, the seller must also make a video which includes turning on taps, sprinklers, gas items, fireplace etc to see that they actually work. From a legal perspective, the voetstoets clause must be included unless it’s an investment property where the clause doesn’t apply, in which case there must be more and better detailed photos and information for the agent to work with. – David Dewar, director of Thomson Wilks Attorneys, Notaries and Conveyancers

Q: Won’t the inclusion of the voetstoets clause make potential buyers wary?

A: If this makes them nervous, they can put in an offer “subject to viewing within a week from lockdown” or a similar suspensive clause. – David Dewar, director of Thomson Wilks Attorneys, Notaries and Conveyancers

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