Why do some valuers get it so wrong?

Why do some valuers get it so wrong?

I was speaking with a finance broker last week and he was telling me a story about one of his clients who purchased a property for $661,000. Ok, so there’s nothing unusual about that but here's where it gets interesting. The finance broker knew the area as he lived close by and thought that $661,000 was a lot for a two bedroom apartment in that location so it must be something special. As per standard practice the bank ordered a valuation which came in at $661,000 (the purchase price). This surprised him as he was sure the valuation was going to come in well below that figure.

In sharing the story with a co-worker, they discovered that a different client had asked the co-worker to help them with a re-finance against a two bedroom apartment that they owned in the same street. As it turned out it was the same property and the valuation came in at $500,000. The co-worker added that the valuation figure wasn't enough for his clients to draw down enough cash to do what they wanted to and so they decided to sell the property. The vendor appointed a sales agent and the property was listed as offers over $620k but they were hoping to sell for at least 600k. We now know the sales agent managed to get $661,000 out of the buyer which was well over what even the sales agent thought the property would achieve (clearly the buyer didn't do much if any research as not many properties sell for more than what a sales agents tells you is achievable).

If that wasn't scary enough it gets worse as both the seller and the buyer were dealing with the same major bank! So the valuation was ordered by the same bank on both occasions and was quite possibly done by the same firm (one would assume if the same firm at least a different person within that firm). So the question I would like an answer to is “how do two valuers come up with such a staggeringly different result only eight weeks apart on a two bedroom apartment with no view or any other emotional features that could affect the value?”

Well as a manager of national valuation firm said to me only a few weeks ago when I shared with him several other valuation "please explain" stories like this one: "When the banks only pay you around $250 dollars for each valuation and you need to do 6-8 a day to be profitable there is only so much effort you can put in... in fact it’s not often we physically have time to inspect the properties as given the time constraints most of the time we just drive by the property or use google earth to make sure it exists!”

Sure a valuation is a wise thing to obtain if you’re unsure on a property’s value particularly if you’re buying in an area you’re not highly familiar with however it’s only helpful if it’s done properly. Here’s a hint - you are likely to get what you pay for... And here’s a tip - do some serious research or hire someone who will as it’s likely to save you tens of thousands of dollars.

Tags: Valuation