How Much Is My Home Worth?

Posted by Ed McKnight on 26/03/20
Property Valuation
Introduction

A How-to Guide to Valuations

It might sound simple. Like everyone should know it.

But many homeowners don't actually know what their home is worth today, in the current market.

That makes sense when you think about it.

If you bought your home five years ago you might not have thought about its value, since you've been enjoying living there.

It's only now that you want to use the equity you have in your home to buy an investment property or make another purchase that you need to figure out its value.

In this article you will learn 5 ways to figure out what your home is worth, so you can get a feel for what you would get if you put it on the market.

Why Is It So Hard to Get an Answer?

Because each house is different it’s hard to put an exact value on it until you take it to the market. Only when you have multiple buyers trying to buy your home will you discover what the market really thinks it’s worth.

homes.co.nz

1st Line of Defence: Homes.co.nz

The first place you can look is online. The best place to get a general starting point for your property value is homes.co.nz.

As you can see from the screenshot, homes.co.nz (which we aren't affiliated with) is the only website that gives an estimate of the value of your property today.

Screenshot 2020 01 27 20 27 21 squashed

Homes.co.nz allows you to type in any address and it will give you an estimate as well as an estimated range for what your property is worth.

This is a computer-generated estimate only based on data that is publicly available.

The amount of data differs from council to council and so the accuracy of the estimate depends on where your property is located.

At its lowest point, homes.co.nz estimates its median valuation is only 3.08% off for the Matamata-Piako District, and up to 20.06% off for the Ruapehu district.

However, because the valuation is often refreshed once a month you can be confident the computer estimate is based on the latest stats and market movements.

If you are looking at whether you can invest, it is worth plugging this figure into our quiz here, so you can see whether you're in the right position to get started in investment property.

CV, RV & GV

Why not use CV or RV?

If you’ve ever read an advertisement for a property, you’ll see RV, CV or GV used. These stand for Rateable Value, Council Value and Government Value, but they’re all broadly the same.

These valuations are used by your local council to set your rates (a type of property tax), so they know how much to charge you each year to keep the local council going.

Many websites, like homes.co.nz, can give you the capital value or registered value, and you may even know it yourself.

However, in the case of registered values, these are only updated every 3 years – which can mean they’re not very accurate. A lot can happen in the market in 3 months, let alone 3 years.

The computer-generated value from a company like homes.co.nz is often refreshed every month, so tends to be more accurate.

The last RV for the example property from above, 17a Burke St in Christchurch, was completed in August 2019.

Screenshot 2020 01 27 20 26 03 squashed

If you're reading this in early 2020, for instance, that's 6 months ago. A lot can change in that time, so while RV is useful to set rates, it's not necessarily what the value of your home is now.

e-value

2nd Line of Defence: e-value

If you’re serious about investing in property or making a top-up on your mortgage, the next type of valuation to be aware of is the evalue. This is another type of computer-generated valuation, but this one is officially recognised by the banks.

There are two companies that set these values – Core Logic and Valocity. Both supply data to banks. Core Logic’s computer-generated value is the evalue and Valocity’s is called an avm (automated value metric).

Many real estate agents, mortgage brokers and people in the property industry subscribe to these companies so you can ask them to look up what your current evalue is.

This is refreshed monthly, like homes.co.nz. But because it is officially recognised it’s fair to treat it as more credible.

Registered Valuation

3rd Line of Defence – Registered Valuation

Once you’ve applied for a mortgage you may be required to complete a registered valuation.

This is where you will pay (usually about $750) to a professional valuer who will appraise your house and give you an estimate on what it might fetch on the market. These professionals need to complete a degree in property and take a total of 6 years to become registered.

This is a valuation accepted by banks as an official, independent and professional estimate of the property’s value.

They are fully independent and take into account your specific property, any renovations you've made, and market conditions.

When to Get a Registered Valuation

Should you fork out for a registered valuation report?

These valuation reports often cost around $750 – although they vary by valuer, so you should only get one if you really need it ...

For instance, if your bank requires you to undertake a valuation of your own property before they lend against it – perhaps because your RV is too low to lend against compared with your mortgage.

Or, if you've recently renovated your property, which has increased the value. In this case you will want the bank to recognise the new value of the property so they will lend against it.

If you want to get started in investment property and the bank won't lend to you because it won't recognise the existing RV, then these are good reasons to shell out for an updated value.

Real Estate Agent's Appraisal

The One Not to Get: A Real Estate Agent’s Appraisal

The final type of ‘valuation’ you can get is a real estate agent’s appraisal of what your home might sell for on the open market. These valuations are generally not worth the paper they are printed on.

Some real estate agents will be biased and will give you a high appraisal in order to secure your listing, knowing they will need to lower the price later in order to sell.