In real estate there is a saying that ‘you only get one chance to make a good first impression’. First impressions do count and can make or break your chances of getting a property sold. But does it make a difference to a valuer? In today’s show we talk with James Freudigmann, from Propell Valuers.
Kevin: My guest once again is James Freudigmann from Propell Valuers. In a chat that I had with James in a previous interview, we talked about first impressions count, and as a real estate agent, that’s one of the things we always say.
First impressions do count. But do they count as much with a valuer? How does a valuer look at a property? Let’s find out.
James, how does a valuer look at a property?
James: When the valuer actually looks at the property, it involves a number of different elements. Obviously, when they drive up to the property, they will look at it from the street as to how it presents. But then a lot of people think a valuer needs to spend a long time at their property, when generally that’s not the case. Most of the work is done away from the property. The actual inspection is a formality and getting the actual specifics of the property.
Generally speaking, a valuer will go through a property and they’ll measure it up, either by a laser or with a wheel – or a tape if they’re very old school – and determine the gross floor area. So living area is broken down to outdoor areas, to car areas all those sorts of things.
They’ll detail the style and specifics within the accommodation. What rooms are there? What fixtures and fittings are in the property? Are there any other major improvements – things like pools, sheds, extensive driveways, extensive landscaping, and all sorts of things like that?
Site characteristics? Is it a heavily sloping block? Is it level? Is it rising from the road, or is it falling away? Is it connected to town water, or is it tank water? Proximity that that particular property has to services in the area – public transport, schools, shopping facilities. Is it within a school catchment zone? Is it at high risk of future development? All those sorts of things.
The valuers will do all of that and look at other sales in the area and things like that, as well, to make the actual assessment of the value.
Kevin: I guess they’re the statistical things that you can put a dollar value on. Does the valuer also look at the marketability? If I’m going to sell my property, what are some of the triggers that will help me maybe market it a little bit better and maybe get a little bit more money?
James: Absolutely. The valuer does take into account how that property presents in the current marketplace. The valuer won’t actually comment to you when they’re going through, “You could do this to make your property worth a little bit more,” but what they will generally put in their report is if there are any items that they see as detrimental, they’ll list those in the report.
When you get the valuation report, you can see what items the valuer thinks are holding back the value a little bit, and you could work on those to improve the marketability.
Kevin: As a real estate agent, we always talk about the two big areas as being kitchens and bathrooms. Is that, in fact, the case?
James: It is. That’s very much the case, Kevin. A lot of people, including tenants now, are actually looking for a property that’s in good condition and that they basically don’t have to do anything to. A lot of owner-occupiers want to just move straight in. They don’t want to have to go in and do work. The two major items are the kitchen and the bathroom to really give it a good wow factor when you walk in.
Kevin: The other big trigger I’ve found working with buyers is they always need lots more storage, so the more storage you can provide in a property is going to add value.
James: Absolutely. If you can have built-in robes now within bedrooms, it makes a big difference. Even having a linen cupboard in a bathroom. A lot of people think it’s not important, but a lot of people have far more possessions now than they used to, and they need somewhere to put them all. So storage is becoming a very big factor.
Kevin: A lot of things to consider there that can actually add value. I’ll tell you what, you’d be a pretty hard buyer if I was an agent trying to sell you a property.
James: I’d like to think I’m a little bit more picky than a lot, yes.
Kevin: You know what to look for, don’t you? Just in closing, can I ask you if you see many buyers calling on valuers to give them an impression of value before they’ll actually make an offer?
James: We don’t see a lot of it, Kevin. It is something that we probably recommend to a lot of people, just so you know exactly what it’s worth. Even using a buyer’s agent or buyer’s advocate who is acting purely on your behalf is definitely something else to consider, but not a lot of people do it compared to the percentage in the market that are buying.
Kevin: James Freudigmann from Propell Valuers. James, great talking to you. Thanks for your time, mate.
James: No problem.