What to do when the property valuer is on the way

There are a few measures sellers can take to help buoy their property valuation but there's a few other things that are not going to help much at all.

Real estate valuer takes notes in modern home.
With so much riding on a property valuation, it's tempting to go overboard on tasks that may actually achieve nothing. (Image source: Shutterstock.com)

So, the valuer is coming to inspect your property, what now?

When it comes to understanding what a property valuer does, things might seem a bit murky.

I mean, you know they are there because the bank sent them to “value your home” so you can possibly refinance, but what do you actually do when they set foot inside your home?

You might be asking yourself, “Do I need to scrub my bathroom, mop the floors, make the beds and present it like it’s going to be on the cover of Vogue or can I just leave it as is?”

Should I make conversation and try and sound like I know what I’m talking about when it comes to my property value and the market in general?

So many questions and not enough time, because the valuer is literally arriving tomorrow morning. Don’t worry, it’s not as intimidating as it may sound.  

As an experienced valuer who conducted close to 15,000 home inspections, fear not, I’m here to shed some light on this mysterious profession and guide you through the dos and don’ts of a valuer's visit.

A valuer’s hasty demeanour

The valuer will look at a range of factors, such as the type and size of the property, its location, condition, age, garden size, extra features, development potential, parking and the value of similar properties in the local area.

When the valuer arrives at the property, you may notice that they will move through your property relatively quickly, almost like a duck gliding on water.

You may feel that they didn’t actually spend enough time within the home and that they may not have taken in enough to value the home properly.

But here’s a little secret that I’ll share with you, beneath the calm exterior, their mind is a flurry of activity. They are professionally trained to be and effective and efficient, taking in a million and one notes related to your property.

While they may seem to breeze through the home, their brain is meticulously gathering all the relevant information needed to value your home.

This is why they prefer minimal distractions, as they have a routine to follow, inspecting, measuring, and ensuring they gather all the necessary data. It’s a trained skill, so don’t be alarmed if it’s over sooner than you expected.

Because the aim of the valuer is to be in and out of your property as soon as possible, you may find they do not engage in or encourage small talk.

We will ask relevant questions relating to your property, however, a valuer typically has multiple inspections every day and has a very tight “run” of jobs for which they need to inspect and produce reports.

So, if they don’t engage in conversation or give one-word answers, it’s not you its them. Just remember the gliding duck analogy, they may not say much but they really are taking it all in.

Staying on message

Now, taking into consideration that a valuer doesn’t like to do chit-chat, doesn’t mean you can’t talk to them at all.

You absolutely can talk to them and, more importantly, I recommend you mention all the features of the property you feel the valuer should know about in order to value your home and give you the best possible valuation figure.

I would make sure that you tell the valuer certain features, such as if the home has solar panels, underfloor heating, ducted air conditioning system, remoter blinds, automated audio and lighting or any hidden or concealed rooms, such as ensuite through the built in robes.

I would also not hesitate to talk to the valuer about what you think your property is worth or what you need the valuation to come back at.

Yes, they are completely unbiased and objective, and will determine their own professional opinion of the value of your property, however, we respect that you have an opinion on your home’s value.

While you may be going through all the features of the home, please don’t feel you need to offer the valuer a cuppa and bickie. We know you're hospitable and want to make a good impression, but please resist the urge to offer food or drink to the valuer. Surprisingly, it could be misconstrued as a bribe (not even joking). Let's avoid any unnecessary awkwardness and let the property speak for itself.

Being yards ahead presenting your property

For a valuer the quality and presentation of your property matters, whereas furniture, accessories and fancy pillow not so much.

Well manicured and presented front yard of character home

Some cosmetic changes are irrelevant but yard presentation is important for a property valuation.

The valuer is professionally trained to conduct their valuation on a “vacant possession” basis. It’s a requirement of our valuation instruction to value the home devoid of any furniture or personal belongings and imagine the home completely vacant of all internal chattels. Although the presentation of the home matters, it’s the improvements of the home, the fixtures and fittings that the valuer is analysing.

So, don’t fret about showcasing your interior design skills during their visit. It’s a property valuation, not an episode of The Block where an interior designer is judging the “texture and tone” of the room; there’s no judging, only analysing.

While valuers may not pay much attention to your interior design choices in your living room or the fact that you imported your dining table from France, they do take into consideration the presentation of your front and rear landscaping and yard.

So, yes, landscaping matters. Did you know that an overgrown and neglected yard can trigger a “risk rating” to the bank from the valuer.

This is because an unkept and neglected yard will have an impact on the home’s marketability and the valuer flags this to the bank. If you can present your yard (front and back) in a neat and tidy manner, that allows the valuer to assess the overall kerb appeal and presentation of the home.

Payment does not equate to ownership

It’s important to remember that the valuer’s visit is instructed by the bank for mortgage purposes. Despite the fact that you may be the one actually paying for the valuation, the valuation report does not actually belong to the homeowner.

If the instruction came from the bank to be valued for mortgage purposes, then the report is only extended to the instructing party, namely the bank or lending institution, regardless of who covers the cost.

Therefore, if you request a copy of the report, the valuer is contractually obligated by the bank to a) not disclose the property's value during the inspection, and b) not provide you with a copy of the report, because that report is the property of the instructing bank.

If you wish to know what the valuation came in at or you would like a copy of the report, please discuss this with your bank or mortgage broker.

Last but not least, there’s one thing you should never, ever do: call the valuer an “evaluer” or “evaluator”." I say this tongue in cheek. It may seem like a small detail, but it happens to be the valuer’s biggest pet peeve!

Article Q&A

What does a property valuer do?

A property valuer is responsible for determining a property's value as at a certain date. The valuer is a trained and qualified professional who does a thorough inspection of a property and provides an independent assessment of its market value.

What does a property valuer look for?

The valuer will look at a range of factors, such as the type and size of the property, its location, condition, age, garden size, extra features, development potential, parking and the value of similar properties in the local area.

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