Only 55% of UK estate agents accurately value properties, according to new research from review website AllAgents.
Reviewers post whether their agents’ valuations have been accurate and director Martin McKenzie (pictured) believes that many are out by tens of thousands of pounds.
“Valuation accuracy goes go both ways,” he tells LandlordZONE. “We can have delighted customers that have been told they will achieve £250k, however the valuer has estimated it at £200k.
“Equally you will have unscrupulous agents deliberately overvaluing properties in order to secure the business. In fact, it has come to our attention that there is at least one agency trainer that advocates over-valuing as a deliberate strategy.”
Pricing discrepancies would have an impact on buy-to-let landlords if they chose to sell on the strength of these values, only to find out they have fallen short of what they believed they would achieve, says McKenzie.
“Before considering selling, landlords should get a minimum of two appraisals from reputable agents with a good valuation accuracy on allagents and who can also provide comparable evidence to support their values.”
In-person valuations are more accurate than an automated valuation model tool, he says, adding: “Anyone watching programmes like Homes Under the Hammer will note that some of the local agents’ estimations can differ considerably. So it’s not surprising that sometimes vendors have difficulty choosing an estate agent and they may be swayed by attractive valuation offers.”
AllAgents provides a printable summary report of agents’ overall performance and valuation accuracy, which can be presented to potential clients.
He says: “We believe this will not only help to improve the sector but will also assist in wiping out unscrupulous or incompetent practices and will aid the best agents to win business.”