Chartered Surveyors, Steve Bowie and Suzanne Stones of Bermuda Valuers and Appraisers, explain when and why you should get a property independently valued. They also detail what can impact a home’s value as well as suggest easy ways to make your property more attractive to potential buyers.
When is a valuation necessary?
One of the most common occasions is when a house is being put up for sale. Either the owner wishes to find out what value they should put it on the market for, or the buyer wants to determine what they should pay for it. As valuers we are required to value a property to its Market Value, as defined by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which will be the same for either the purchaser or the seller.
Other reasons include when couples get divorced and need to split up the estate. A trust may need a valuation for accounting purposes. Then, there is probate, when someone passes away and the estate has to be valued as at the date of passing.
Valuations are also done so an owner can secure financing to buy a property or carry out renovations.
Why should a buyer get their intended purchase independently valued?
When you’re making one of the biggest purchases of your life, it pays to invest a bit of money in an appraisal. It can give you peace of mind about whether or not you’re paying what the market says is the appropriate price, whether it be less than what the property is on the market for, or if there is a bidding war situation, it could be more than what the list price is.
What do you take into consideration when valuing a residential property?
Firstly, we take measurements in accordance with the RICS guidelines, who are our governing body.
Then, we take photographs, site notes, and consider the plot size. We ask a lot of questions about the property such as its age and when the electrics and plumbing were last updated. We also ask about the water supply and the condition of the roof.
We consider the views from the property, the locality it’s in, if there are any encumbrances in terms of Rights of Way that may either benefit the property or hinder it. For example, if there’s a house on the other side and those owners have to get over your land to get to theirs.
We also look into any potential boundary issues, and for a seller wanting to put their house on the market that hasn’t had a land survey done within the previous 10-15 years, we recommend they arrange to have one done early on.
Why is a land survey important?
A land survey in advance of a sale can prevent boundary issues from hindering the sale further down the line. It can take some time for the survey to be complete so it should be done early on.
Is a valuation the same as an insurance appraisal?
No. For an insurance review, we always urge people to have a survey carried out by a structural engineer or quantity surveyor as they will give a more accurate idea of the rebuild costs.
What adds the most value to a Bermudian home?
Where are the most valuable locations?
The central parishes, Pembroke, Devonshire, and Paget are always desirable. Other valuable hot spots include Tuckers Town, Tuckers Point, the new development at Riddell’s Bay and further west, Wreck Road in Sandys.
What else adds value to a home?
Views are highly sought after, especially a water view. Other features that increase the value include water access, a dock, swimming pool and post covid, a home office.
At the lower end of the market, properties in good condition that don’t need much work are also more desirable, especially in the current climate of rapid building cost inflation. At the upper end however, the condition of the house tends to be less important if it’s in the right location.
In your experience, what can reduce the value?
Again, location, in particular the tone of the neighbourhood. You could have a really beautiful home, but if the houses around it have not been maintained, that’s unfortunately going to bring the value of your property down.
Then, condition and the amount of work a property may need, starting with the bathrooms and kitchens. They’re the most important, but also the most expensive rooms to renovate.
An unfortunate situation we sometimes find ourselves in is when we value a property that has been renovated but that hasn’t increased in value by as much as the owner would like. We’re increasingly worried about the properties that need a lot of work, but where the value of works is going to be a lot more than the value of the finished property. Every property has a ceiling above which it cannot reach, no matter what you do it.
On average, how much does a residential valuation cost?
Our quotes are generally based on the ARV of the property and start at around $750.
What cost-effective changes can home-owners make to increase their home’s appeal?
Decluttering is the most important thing you can do. Then, improve the ‘curb appeal’. Have the grass cut, plant some flowers, get rid of anything lying around that looks scruffy.
The roof is an important indicator as to the condition of a property. Make it as white as possible. If the outside of the property looks good, a potential buyer will be in a more positive mindset about the inside.
Inside, make sure there are no unpleasant smells. Have the proverbial banana bread in the oven. If budget allows, have the walls freshly painted. You almost can’t put a value on a potential buyer walking into your home and getting that feeling that it’s the house for them.
In addition to residential, Bermuda Valuers and Appraisers also carries out commercial valuations. For more information about property valuation visit www.valuation.bm.