So you have finally found your dream home (or the modified version that’s within your price range) and can’t wait to tell the Estate Agent to secure the deal.
Before you decide to put in an offer, however, you should find out whether the asking price actually reflects the market value of the property. On the basis of this valuation, you can then decide how much you think you can reasonably offer for the property.
In order to get an insight into a property’s market value, you should compare the sales prices of properties similar to the one you are interested in, in similar locations. To take into account market fluctuations, the properties should have been sold within a recent period of time (about 3-4 months).
Sales price data for properties in England and Wales is collected by HM Land Registry. The problem with this data is that it is usually 2-3 months old, but since it is the only source for actual sales prices, it will have to do. As mentioned above, instead of accessing the information from the Land Registry directly, you can take the free route and obtain it from the private service provider (www.mouseprice.com).
An example to illustrate the matter:
The seller of the property you are interested in currently asks for £120,000. According to general custom, your offer would lie somewhere between £108,000 and £114,000. However, after having looked at similar properties sold recently in the area, you get the impression that the market value of the property is closer to £100,000.