When you’re buying your groceries, you go to the same place, often buy the same stuff and do it every week for years (I hate shopping so go far less frequently than that!). In doing it so frequently you get a really good idea as to what the price should be and what you’re expecting for the price. If the pears have gone up £2 kg it’s not like you wouldn’t notice, right? What if the pears were half the size they normally were? You’d notice that too. Or if they weren’t as firm… etc. etc. etc.
How often do you buy or sell a property? Probably once every 5 years for a bit of a serial mover, but likely less than that for most. So by the time you’re 30, at most, you may have been the main decision maker in the buying or selling process maybe twice. Not too easy to become a shopping expert like you are in a supermarket.
So what do I suggest? I suggest you do some work. Proper work. Research, get out and about. Get to know people, houses, completion prices, details, etc. etc.
I come across lots of people that are utter experts on Rightmove. They’re on there daily. Often multiple times daily. Heck, some people actually know more about what’s going on Rightmove than I do! They’ve seen every set of details going. It’s a bit weird if the people aren’t actually moving house, but if they are thinking about it, this is ideal. A few things to make it easier are that you can set up alerts to show you when something comes on that fits your criteria. I think buyers and sellers should both do this. Learn as much as you can and then you’ll be in a position to make an educated decision (and likely see through the estate agents’ mumbo jumbo too).
Check the land registry for actual sold prices.
Look on Rightmove as early as you possibly can to gauge what comes on; but most importantly, what sells. On valuation, I sometimes meet an owner that says “Such and such over the road is on at £400k and mine’s a nicer house, so mine is surely worth more than that?” That’s great, if the house over the road hadn’t been on the market for 2 years…. If you’d like to NOT sell for the next two years that’s a great example to use.
If you’ve got any questions or queries in relation to finding good resources for researching property, please do drop me an email. Happy to talk. firstname.lastname@example.org