What's your property worth?

For sale signA number of websites promise to give you an accurate estimate of what your home is worth. How accurate are they?

Land Registry
The Land Registry tracks the price paid in each housing transaction. It's a useful tool for doing research, but doesn't pretend to tell you how the value of the property may have changed since it was sold.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
So when I put in my postcode I can see that I bought my home for £142,500 in February of 2009, as well as all previous transactions.

That tells me what my home was worth. But what's it worth now?

Zoopla uses a valuation algorithm – or, as it also calls it, a 'secret formula' – to estimate the market value of a property. It takes a number of things into consideration, including:
Previous sold prices for the specific property and nearby recent transactions.
  • Changes in market values of similar properties in the local area.
  • Characteristics of the property in question and those around it.
  • Current asking prices for properties in the local area.
  • Size of the property compared to those around it.
  • Current values of comparable properties.
It gets its data from a number of different sources, including its own users, surveyors, estate agents and the Land Registry.

Each estimate that Zoopla provides has a related 'confidence level' and 'value range'. The more Zoopla knows about the specific home and homes in that area, the higher the confidence level.

The value range indicates the lower and upper values of a home based on its data. Again, this will be more accurate if Zoopla knows lots about the area.

What's my property worth?
Zoopla reckons my house is worth about £160,000, and has full confidence in that valuation.

Nationwide house price index calculator
A far less scientific model, this one. Put in what your property was last valued at (and when) and the region where you live. Nationwide will then use its house price index to give an estimate of what the property may be worth today.

What's my property worth?
Nationwide reckons my home is now worth £168,685.

Findaproperty.com boasts a similar tool to Zoopla's, offering an 'estimated value' which it calculates using data it already has on recent transactions and the property's features, as well as information from estate agents, its users and Government agencies.

What's my property worth?
According to Findaproperty.com's valuation model my home is worth £163,500. However, its value range is pretty broad – it admits my home could be worth anything from £130,800 to £196,200.

Talk about hedging your bets!

Propertypriceadvice.co.uk relies on you providing information on the property itself, things like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, whether it is freehold or leasehold, the age of the property, that sort of thing.

It then providers a lower, average and upper valuation, so that you have an idea of what your property might fetch depending on what the market in the area is like. It also provides a judgement of how confident it is with this valuation.

What's my property worth?
With a 'fair' level of confidence, its system reckons my home is worth something between £75,000 and £105,000. That's miles lower than any of the other sites I've tested so far.

I really like the Mouseprice house price valuation system. As with the other sites, Mouseprice has its own statistical model which it uses to put together an estimate, based on information in the local market. The estimated are updated monthly.

However, what I really like is the sheer amount of information you are provided with. Mouseprice highlights similar properties in the area also on the market, as well as recent transactions in the area.

And then there's plenty of information provided on the area itself, from the make up of homes on the street in question (592 of the 748 homes on my street are flats or maisonettes) but also some of the local amenities such as schools, bank and building society branches, petrol garages and supermarkets.

What's my property worth?
Mouseprice reckons my home is worth £167,800, with a value range of anything from £138,000 to £198,000.

So what's my home worth?
The fact is that despite all of these valuations I still don't really know what my home is worth.

A home is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it. And while all of these sites suggest my home is worth something like £160,000, that's irrelevant if no buyer is happy to pay that much.

It has given me a starting point should I want to sell up in the near future though.

House photos guaranteed to put buyers off
See Gallery
What's your property worth?

We're not quite sure that the bear adds anything to this listing, maybe it's meant to avert your attention from the dreary decor?

The seller is obviously a horror film fan. However, it might be an idea to remove all murder evidence before putting your house on the market, even if it is fake!

Does the doll come free with the house? We hope not. It's a little creepy...

This real estate agent probably should have waited until the car was moved. 

Much like the bear in the tub, this is another bizarre bathroom addition. 

If you're going to take pictures with others around,   at least crop them out. It might also be an idea to put a shirt on too...

We don't want to know what the couple are up to in this photo.

Every good house needs a pool, just without the additional flotsam

One fail-safe way to generate interest is to get some pretty girls involved. This seller obviously has their head screwed on.

Estate agents tell us that a house should always be clean and presentable when people come to view. The advice obviously fell on deaf ears here.


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