Why local knowledge has never been more important when it comes to valuing your property

10th October 2021

Why local knowledge has never been more important when it comes to valuing your property

We’ve all shared the true stories over the past year or so of demand exceeding supply to the extent that able, ready and willing buyers have been competing for certain properties. Each time we expect this to calm down then another property goes to “best offers”. Handled with the integrity and trust implicit of a professional practice this can be the fairest way to not only attain the best price available for our clients but also, as far as possible, to screen prospective buyers and minimise the chance of a sale falling through. With some properties, however, a public auction can be the best solution, although, while serving the seller well with the fall of the hammer being the exchange of contracts and completion normally 28 days thereafter, this method of purchase can deter some buyers.

However, the process starts earlier. At the initial consultation with the estate agent, often known as a market appraisal, the agent is put on the spot and is asked for an opinion of likely sale price at that moment in time. Quite often this amounts to a “bid” by the agent, knowing that the prospective client is likely to instruct the agent that is confident at the highest price. Clearly this is not necessarily going to result in the selection of an agent who is actually going to provide the best service or, possibly more importantly, going to reach the strongest buyers, or market the property in such a way that it really does achieve the best price.

Taking the pricing issue, in hot-spot areas such as the South Hams, in a strongly rising market, how do we give the best advice possible? Recent and relevant comparable information is simply not in the public domain. Continually escalating attained prices do not appear in Land Registry or property portal records until a long time after completion, and furthermore the price would have been negotiated normally two or three months before that. It is therefore essential to have very local knowledge and experience of those transactions in order to guide expectations correctly.

Speculation that the market was about to enter a period of moderation has, so far, not been borne out by reality and competition has continued to benefit many of the best-located properties that have come onto the market. The recent sale of Longstone, Thurlestone, by Marchand Petit, attaining £2.55 million at auction is classic example of this method of sale. Countless examples of astute marketing have benefitted many clients over the past year. There is no greater professional satisfaction than intimately knowing the often very localised market, who the buyers are, and using this armoury to serve our clients to the best possible outcome.

Roger Punch FRICS is a Chartered Surveyor and Consultant to South Hams agent Marchand Petit.