How to Value a Unique Home

Lifestyle image, looking out of the window into the garden, Essex
Zak Weavers

Zak Weavers

Weavers Estates

As estate agents, getting the value of homes just right is at the heart of our business. We need to set the price at a level that catches the eye of potential buyers while ensuring our clients achieve the highest possible sale price. Now and then it can be a challenge, especially when there aren’t many similar homes to compare.

We kick things off by diving into the latest data, taking a close look at what’s happening in the current market. We also sprinkle in the price per square foot for good measure. Then comes our judgment regarding how much of an impact your home will create in the market. We use all this info to gauge just how much buzz your unique home is likely to generate among potential buyers.

Now, it’s all reasonably straightforward when there are plenty of similar homes to go by. But when you’ve got a one-of-a-kind home on your hands, basing a valuation on data alone can become challenging. Figuring out the value of a home with a view that takes your breath away or a distinctive architectural style in a prime location isn’t a precise science. That’s why picking the right estate agent becomes crucial when your home is a true standout.

Stick with us, and we’ll take you behind the scenes to show you how we work our magic to arrive at that perfect market value.

Unique home, secret address, Essex

Data on comparable homes

To kick things off, we need to get a handle on the values of other homes that are in the same category as yours – you know, the ones with a similar size, located in a similar area, and boasting comparable features. Finding these direct matches is usually simple enough for homes in well-defined categories like estates or Victorian terraces. However, when it comes to unique homes, those one-of-a-kind homes that stand out from the crowd, well, that’s where the challenge really sets in. The more distinctive the home, the more challenging the task.

We delve into two types of data:

  1. Sold prices: This involves taking a close look at what comparable homes have sold for over the last 3–6 months. When there’s a shortage of such properties, we might need to extend our search further back in time. Then, we crunch the numbers to estimate a likely current value based on the average price trends. Sold price data from the Land Registry is our go-to source, highly regarded by surveyors in their reports for mortgage lenders, given its reliability and credibility.

  2. Current market prices: Here, we keep an eye on similar homes that are currently available for purchase. We consider a few key factors:

    • How long have these properties been on the market?
    • What’s the current asking price they’re flaunting?
    • Has there been any adjustment in their price tags?

In the grand scheme of things, we generally expect to settle on a sale price within about 5% of the asking price. However, it’s worth noting that the longer a home lingers on the market, the less likely it is to fetch this ideal range.

Now, you might be curious about those online instant valuation tools. They’re gaining popularity and can be quite handy when there’s been a flurry of recent sales for similar homes. However, when it comes to unique properties, we often find that the results from these tools can differ significantly from in-person valuations. There might only be a handful of properties in the area that come close to matching yours in terms of size and style, making it nearly impossible for technology to accurately assess the value of, say, a breathtaking view or a one-of-a-kind architectural feature. Data certainly helps us set a ballpark figure, but it’s not the whole story when it comes to unique homes.

If you are curious to use an online valuation tool and see a market snapshot for your home, click this link.

One more important thing to bear in mind is the ‘ceiling’ – the highest price that comparable homes have sold for. If we happen to value your home above this ceiling, there’s a potential risk that it might appear overpriced to potential buyers. Buyers tend to shy away when they perceive a home as overpriced. However, unique homes often have the power to break through this ceiling and command a higher selling price simply because they’re like no other.

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Price per square foot

Now, here’s an often-overlooked but highly valuable valuation tool. It’s not the be-all and end-all, as it doesn’t take into account all the fantastic extras, like that breathtaking view, or even the occasional downside, like a footpath cutting through the garden. Nevertheless, some buyers find it reassuring to have a clear idea of what they’re getting for their hard-earned money.

When we talk about the total price per square foot, it includes anything directly connected to the main home. However, most standalone structures typically aren’t factored in unless they serve as an additional dwelling – like a holiday home, for instance.

It’s worth noting that the price per square foot can vary from one area to another. It offers a solid general snapshot of a home’s value, at least on paper.

Unique home for sale, Essex

Current market conditions

The ebb and flow of prices are deeply intertwined with the dance of supply and demand. When the housing market sees fewer homes up for grabs, it’s like the stage is set for prices to rise. That’s because eager buyers have to outbid each other for the limited options available. In fact, the finest homes can even spark a ‘bidding war,’ sometimes fetching prices higher than the initial asking amount.

Conversely, when there’s a surge in sellers but a dip in buyers, it’s often accompanied by a drop in prices. Why? Well, with more homes on the menu, buyers can afford to be a bit choosier and may try their luck at snagging a bargain by offering less than the asking price.

To accurately peg the market value of your home, it’s crucial for us to gauge the current appetite among buyers looking for homes similar to yours. Are homes like yours flying off the market, or is there a surplus at the moment?

Now, it’s true that unique homes tend to be less susceptible to the market’s ups and downs. Nonetheless, staying in the know about market trends remains important as it provides us with a sense of the optimism we can bring to your valuation.

Lifestyle image, looking out of the window into the garden, Essex

Our expertise

After taking all the factors we’ve covered into consideration, our next step is to gauge just how appealing your home is likely to be to potential buyers. It’s a balancing act where we assess the standout features and determine their value, all while keeping an eye on what we know about the budget of prospective buyers. Your home may have many unique qualities that set it apart, but the real question is whether someone would be willing to pay a premium for it compared to the closest competition, and if so, how much more? This is where our experience truly shines. 

A lot hinges on the rarity of these features, especially when they come together in a unique blend. For example, if you own a beautifully refurbished Grade 1 listed home nestled in a waterfront location, it’s vital to consider how many similar homes exist in the area, and more importantly, how frequently they hit the market.

Read our guide on selling a listed property here. 

When a potential buyer realises that missing out on your home means waiting for another opportunity like it to surface in five or ten years, they’re often willing to pay a premium. Our job is to determine the precise magnitude of that premium.

The final piece of the puzzle involves your own timeline. How quickly do you aim to sell? If time is on your side and you aren’t in a hurry to secure a buyer, we might lean towards an optimistic initial pricing strategy, with the flexibility to make adjustments as needed. Conversely, if you’re eager for a swift sale, we’ll recommend a price that’s sure to grab the immediate attention of your target buyers.

So, if you’re the proud owner of a unique home, it’s imperative to choose an experienced local agent with a proven track record in successfully selling one-of-a-kind properties. Start your search online by examining recent local sales in the past couple of months and take note of which agents have expertly handled the sales of distinctive properties. They’re the ones who can truly recognize the value of your home, accurately assess its market potential, and guide you towards achieving the best possible sale.

If you’re ready to embark on your property journey or if you’re currently on the market and seeking a more promising response, contact us at 01702 411146 or via email at team@weaversestates.co.uk. We’re here to discuss our tailored marketing approach for unique homes.

If you’d like a more in-depth conversation about your plans, we’d love to visit you in the comfort of your home.

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The Team @ Weavers

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The Team @ Weavers