Brisbane's sales market

Estimating your property’s price in a changing Brisbane market

Despite the (southern-based) media claiming home prices are racing downwards, the latest data shows while the pace has definitely cooled,  prices across most of our non-Sydney nation are still rising. For now at least.

But in a changing Brisbane market how do you keep a handle on where your property’s value sits? Is it as easy as clicking on one of those “instant valuation” buttons? Or do you need to pay a valuer for their formal report?

Here’s some insight on how home prices are estimated, and why an online valuation will do little more than sign you up to someone’s database!

Let’s clear up one item early on. There’s only one professional who can give you a “valuation” of your property and that’s a registered valuer. Equipped with the required qualifications and a hefty liability insurance policy (why else would the banks insist on their reports) only they can write a number on a page and call it a valuation.

Us real estate agents – and the various online data sources that are popping up – can only provide “market appraisals” or “selling price estimates”. So what’s the difference in our approach?

The online estimates are pure algorithm, looking at what the data thinks it knows about your property and doing some calculations based on what it thinks have been comparable recent sales, and how much it thinks property in your area has changed in value in recent years. It’s by nature a broad brush approach and there’s a HEAP of ways it can fail.

Unless your property’s been for public sale or rent in the past decade or so, they’ll have limited info on its size and configuration. No knowledge of bedroom, bathroom and car numbers. And even if it does, there’ll be no info on your recent renovations that might have had a huge impact on its price. There’s no consideration for views, your apartment building’s presentation or body corp fees, for flight paths or adjacent rail lines, or even for the smorgasbord of appealing cafes and bars that might be at your doorstep.

Online “guesstimates” are just a way for companies like banks to attract potential customers. For web portals to sell your lead to real estate agents. To give you some tiny drop of info in exchange for your contact details. Beware the fine print – one of the big 4 banks has a disclaimer that says your data can be supplied to third parties! Who?! We first wrote about online estimates in 2007 – they’re not new – but they’re often wildly inaccurate.

Real estate agents have one hugely important price-estimating advantage to online database and to valuers: we inspect properties with buyers. The people who take out their cheque book (modernised reference required!) and actually determine the prices. Buyers are market-setters so their feedback to us is gold.

We hear what they like and will pay more to have. And the reverse. We hear what they really think of the rusting car outside next door’s place, and how they feel about the easy walk to their favourite bar or school or park. They point out noise issues and floorplan design oddities and a lack of pantry storage and a thousand other completely unexpected things. Because they’re spending their money!!

Valuers will measure the dwelling and land and will count bedrooms and are very thorough at finding comparable property sales for their calculations. They do a good job. But they can’t possibly predict the market response (i.e. selling price) with the accuracy of your local, experienced real estate agent who’s been inside a dozen similar properties with 100 feedback-giving home buyers in the past few weeks alone. Our insight is highly current and hugely valuable to you.

Real estate agents can also look more clearly at the now and the soon. It can take weeks or even months for accurate past sales records so a valuation is necessarily a view from the rear vision mirror. We compare what properties are currently for sale and we reflect (and data dive) on our buyers lists to see how much demand we’d have for your property if it was on the market today.

Yes we offer market appraisals free of charge – it’s part of keeping clients and potential clients updated so they can be better informed on the changing Brisbane market. We do this 6 monthly for many clients – often when they have no intention of selling, but like to update their personal balance sheets or even keep an eye on their insurance cover.

If your property’s rented we can still provide a ‘desktop’ estimate (without disturbing the tenants) with a fairly narrow price range if we have photos and details.

The broad market data shows price rises are still part of the changing Brisbane market. No doubt this week’s big lift in interest rates will have its impact. But whatever the shifts we’d be very happy to provide you a market appraisal. And keep you off the databases of whoever it is that those banks want to sell you to!