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How to get your house valued?

Thomas Miller
17.08.2022
9 min
Table of Contents

Before estimating the price of your home, it is important to understand the different notions of value and price.

Real or intrinsic value: The value of a new house minus the depreciation related to the age and condition of the house. The value of the land must be added to obtain the real value.  

Market value: Corresponds to the market value, i.e. the price at which a similar property can be sold. In order to calculate the market value it is necessary to compare houses with similar characteristics in the same town and define the price that corresponds to the current real estate market.

Yield value: Corresponds to the rental value of a property when it is put up for rent. It is therefore a question of estimating the annual yield that can be received from a rental property. 

Collateral value: Corresponds to the value of the loan in advance, i.e. the amount that an organisation such as a bank or insurance company agrees to lend for a mortgage loan. 

Selling price: The price at which the seller is willing to sell the house. This price will be displayed on the real estate ad. The seller will have to define this selling price based on the real value of the property and by comparing current real estate prices in order to facilitate the sale of his house.

Transaction price: Price defined once the seller and the buyer have agreed on the final amount after negotiation. It will be the price at which the house is sold and may be different from the original selling price.

Estimate your house yourself

Estimate your house based on the price per sqm in your area 

The price per sqm of a city is the average of all the prices per sqm of real estate in that city. When looking for a price per m² it is therefore important to specify whether you are looking for the price per m² of an apartment or a house, as the two prices are often very different.

RealAdvisordifferentiates the price per m² of houses and the price per m² of apartments. Their database takes into account real estate offers from 14 Swiss real estate portals, which allows them to calculate the most reliable price per m² on the market by city, as well as by postcode and neighbourhood.

For example the average price per m² for a house in the Jonction - Plainpalais district in Geneva, is currently CHF 10,833.

To get the estimated price for your house in this area, you will multiply the price per m² by the surface area of your house. 

Analysis of the real estate market

analyse comparative des maisons

This is one of the most accessible methods to evaluate one's home and analyze similar homes for sale. You can do this by first finding out the selling prices of houses in your neighbourhood. If a house on your street was sold for CHF 1,000,000, you can use this price to determine your own.

You can then compare the main features of this house with yours based on the main features of both houses as:

  • The surface area of the house
  • The surface of the land
  • The year of construction
  • The number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Additional areas: garage, cellar, attic, parking lot.
  • Other facilities: terrace, balcony, veranda, swimming pool

The larger your surface area and facilities are, the more the value of your property will increase in comparison to the house already sold. On the other hand, if the house sold was built in 1990 and yours was built in 1950, your house will have much less value because a house loses value over the years.

You can make these comparisons easily using real estate listing sites by selecting houses in your town with similar characteristics. The results will provide you with a price range. You will refine your price by getting closer to the selling price of the house most similar to yours. It is also important to note that if a house has already been on the market for a year, it is possible that its selling price is overestimated, so you will have to take this into account and adjust your selling price.

Estimate your home online for free

faire estimer sa maison en ligne gratuitement sans engagement

Online estimation tools have access to databases of several thousand houses that are currently for sale as well as prices from transactions that have recently taken place. The larger the database, the more accurate the estimates will be.

Note that if your home has rare features, it will be difficult to provide an accurate estimate because the number of similar properties will be too small to make a comparison. In the case of a unique property such as a chateau or luxury home the ideal would be to have your home professionally appraised.

To get your online estimate, you must enter:

  • Your address
  • The year of construction
  • The number of rooms
  • The surface of the house
  • The surface of the land

Your house will then be compared to all houses sold and currently for sale and the tool will provide you with an amount that is consistent with the real estate market price.

Have your house appraised by a real estate professional

faire expertiser sa maison par un agent immobilier, notaire

Contrary to popular belief, an estimate by a professional is not necessarily paid for and is often without commitment. Typically, you can contact an agent to estimate your house for free. The agent will only be paid if you ask them to work with you to sell your house. If the transaction is successful, the agent will be entitled to a percentage of the transaction you’ve previously agreed to, usually equal to between 3 and 5%.

The advantage of using an experienced real estate agent is their knowledge of the local market. The agent will be able to take into account all the elements related to the location and the development or improvement projects in the city that can considerably increase the value of your home. They will also analyze certain documents, such as the results of technical diagnostics of your house to create the most accurate estimate.

See here: the complete list of documents needed for a home appraisal.

Finally, an agent will be able to give you advice on how to enhance the value of your home, such as renovations that are essential for the sale.

What elements impact the price of your house?

Different types of houses

prix d'une maison jumelé, individuelle et mitoyenne

All houses are unique and have a different market value. On the same street a semi-detached house in the middle will have a lower price than a semi-detached house at the end of the street.

It is therefore important to take into account all the specific characteristics associated with a house:

  • Semi-detached house: Semi-detached house: A house where the neighbours' walls are attached to yours, there is no space between the houses. There is a risk of hearing the neighbours' footsteps, the noise of the television or entrances and exits. The second disadvantage is the lack of natural light since the only windows are those on the façade. When several houses are attached to each other, they may apply a PPE model as in an apartment. This is the case if they have to share common expenses. For example, two houses that share the same boiler or the same electricity system will have to share the bills equally. This distribution can be disadvantageous for the owner who consumes the least. 
  • Joint house: A house that has only one wall adjoining that of the neighbours. This results in better soundproofing and more light. There is also a risk of burden-sharing, but it is less likely. It is definitely a point to check before buying a joint house.
  • Detached houses: These are the most popular because they are completely detached from neighbouring houses and allow more privacy than semi-detached or joint houses.

Semi-detached or joint houses deter thieves more than detached houses. This advantage is not important enough to add value but can be an asset for those looking for more security. 

A semi-detached house is therefore generally more valuable than a semi-detached house. And a detached house has more value than a semi-detached house.

Mandatory diagnoses

diagnostic immobiliere pour la vente d'une maison

Some diagnoses are mandatory and have a strong impact on the price of the house.

  • Diagnosis of asbestos: For houses built before 1970, it is mandatory to make this diagnosis because the vast majority of houses built before 1970 have asbestos. This diagnosis is the responsibility of the seller. If the house contains asbestos, the necessary steps have to be taken to remove it. The seller can take care of the work or they can sell as is with a reduced selling price to accommodate the work that needs to be done.
  • Energy diagnosis: This diagnosis analyses the energy consumption of the house.  If the results are poor and the house is not energy efficient, it will reduce the price of the house. Here again, the seller can take the initiative to replace the heating or gas system with a more modern and less energy-consuming system to readjust the price of the house.

External factors not to be overlooked

L'évaluation du prix d'une maison
  • Municipal taxes: In a city where municipal tax rates are very low, demand can increase very quickly because many people are looking to move there. It is the increase in demand that will automatically increase the price of houses because the city is very coveted a desirable place to live.
  • The projects/construction in the area: It is important to be close to transport, public services, schools and shops. Well located houses are much more popular than a properties that are far away from the city centre or public transport. It is also important to pay attention to the city's plans. If the city or region is planning to build a new highway, a new train station or new subway lines, the value of your home will probably be higher in a few years.
  • Negotiation: During negotiations, buyers often offer a price that is about 10% lower than the sale price. Because of this, the seller can often afford to raise the selling price slightly above the market value unless they are in a hurry to sell. Otherwise, if they want to sell quickly they can list at market price or lower and indicate that the price is non-negotiable.

Differentiate between habitable and non-habitable space

Not all areas of a house have the same value and thus cannot always be added in the calculation of the price per m².

  • Net living area: This includes the entire surface of the house except for the elements considered as not habitable:
    - The walls
    - The spaces between the stairs
    - The outside spaces (terraces, balcony).
  • Gross living area: The entire surface of the house including walls, balcony and terrace is taken into account.

When calculating your price, it is therefore important to check which surface should be taken into account. The gross area is usually 10% higher than the net living area.

In the cantons of Neuchâtel, Fribourg and Vaud, for example, the surface area to be used is the net living area, whereas in Valais it is the gross living area that applies.

The areas considered as habitable:

  • Balcony/loggia: Only half of its surface can be added to the living area.
  • Terrace: Only a third of its surface can be added to the living space.
  • Basement:  If it is heated and receives a minimum of 10% natural light the entire surface can be taken into account.
  • Veranda/conservatory: To be considered only if heated.
  • Mezzanine: Its height must be more than 130 or 150 cm depending on the canton.
  • The attic: To be taken into account only if the floor is finished, it is heated, has independent access and the height is higher than 130 or 150 cm.
  • Cellar and attic: Are not considered habitable but provide added value only.
  • Parking space: Considered as an added value only.

FAQ

How to estimate the price of a house with a garden?

The garden generally represents 60% of the land surface, the house represents 40%. If your land is constructible, it will necessarily be more expensive than a non-constructible land. For a builder, it will take into account 100% of the value of the land only, because his goal will be to raze the house and build on it. For a private individual, the fact of being able to enlarge his house will be a very interesting value-added.

How to estimate the price of a house with a swimming pool?

You can add the price of the installation of the swimming pool to the value of the house if it is recent and well maintained. The value of the pool will decrease depending on the year of construction and its condition.

How to estimate the price of an old house?

A house loses about 0.5% of its replacement value each year. If a house was built in 1940, in 2020 the house will have lost 40% of its value. 40 years later, a house that cost CHF 500,000 in 1940 will have a value of approximately CHF 300,000.

How to estimate the price of a renovated house?

You can use your invoices with the detailed work to add to the value of the house. If the work was carried out in 2010 and had cost CHF 30,000, the depreciation linked to the past 10 years will have to be reduced again. Knowing that a house loses approximately 0.5% of its value each year, in 2020 the work loses 5% of its value, you will have to add CHF 28,500 to the price of the house instead of CHF 30,000.

Thomas Miller
Thomas Miller has been a real estate agent for over 4 years now, when he is not in the field, he is dedicated to his second passion, writing, especially in the real estate market.
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