Getting a Valuation

Sources of Information

Various organisations and brokers offer information products and maps to help buyers, sellers and their agents estimate the market price of houses in specific areas.

The Department of Natural Resources and Mines (NR&M) offers several products including SmartMap which provides the latest property information (including sales prices, dates and property dimensions) for most Queensland houses, units and townhouses and the surrounding properties in that area.

Some of the properties include:

  • SmartMap property sales maps - recent property sales, property boundaries and property identification information within a selected area.
  • SmartMap surveying maps - showing property boundaries and survey control marks.
  • SmartMap cadastral maps - showing property area and boundaries
  • SmartMap valuation maps - Showing property boundaries, sales and unimproved land valuation information for properties within a selected area.
  • SmartMap property unit sales package - contains a unit sales report for community titles scheme (unit block or townhouse), registered survey plan for the requested lot, and a cadastral SmartMap displaying the location of the building in relation to surrounding properties.
  • Sunmap suburb maps - high resolution aerial photographs over selected Brisbane suburbs showcasing suburb boundaries, local features, street names and origin of suburb name information.
  • Search of title - registered title highlighting current property owner and property details.

These products and more are available to consumers, agents and valuers alike at a reasonable price and help reduce the guesswork in determining the market value of your property or desired property.

Purchase these online at www.nrm.qld.gov.au or call (07) 3896 3216 for more information on mapping products, services and geographical data.

There are a number of private firms (brokers) who also provide access to and compile information about properties in addition to the information available from government agencies such as the Department of Natural Resources and Mines. A list of external distributers is available in the Services and Information section of www.nrm.qld.gov.au

Choosing a valuer

If you're thinking about buying a property, the Office of Fair Trading strongly recommends you have the property valued by an independant valuer before you sign a contract (or at least during the cooling-off period). Keep in mind the cooling-off period is only a five day period and you may not have time to appoint a valuer and receive the result in that timeframe. For more information on the cooling-off period, see the "Buying a Home" Section.

It is in your best interests to find your own valuer and not use someone referred to you by the seller or seller's agent. If you do want to use the services of a valuer referred to you by the seller or their agent, make sure the seller or their agent discloses the nature of the relationship and any benefit (monetary or otherwise) any other person will receive as a result of the sale. They should disclose this information to you on an official form, Selling Agent's Disclosure to Buyer PAMD Form 27c. Copies of this form are available from OFT at www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au.

If you decide to locate your own valuer, make sure he/she is a registered valuer. Check with the Valuers Registration Board on (07) 3221 3892 or the Australian Property Institute on (07) 3832 3139.

Once you choose a valuer, write them a letter of instruction which states your requirements and provides information to help the valuer give you the most accurate advice.

Note that sellers may also engage the services of valuers to determine how much their property is worth. Alternatively, seek property appraisals from a number of agents before you appoint. Beware though that a high appraisal does not guarantee you will be able to obtain this price on the property.

Q. What if I disagree with the valuation amount?

A. If the valuer is independent you should be able to rely on that information. Consider carefully whether you are taking an emotional view of the property which is clouding your objectivity. If you still disagree with the valuation, you can attempt to negotiate a higher (if seller) or lower (if buyer) sale/purchase price. Alternatively you can seek a further valuation.

If you have serious concerns regarding the valuation process or the conduct of a valuer, contact the valuers Registration Board.

Your instructions to the valuer

Your instructions should be clear and include:

  • your name and contact details and the party or parties to whom the valuation is to be addressed, and on whose behalf the valuer is to act (in most cases, this will be you);
  • the type of property (eg. vacant land, house and land, unit, townhouse), address and legal description of the property (if known);
  • what you're going to use the valuation for (e.g. to assist you in the decision making process to purchase a property, or for mortgage purposes);
  • who the valuer should contact to access the property - they will want to go inside;
  • that the basis of the valuation is to be market value unless you specifically want it to be based on some other value. (Market value is the estimated amount at the time of the valuation for which the property should exchange hands between a buyer and seller on the basis that all parties have acted knowledgeably, cautiously and of their own free will.);
  • a negotiated agreed fee and payment method;
  • the seller's asking or contract price and a copy of the contract if appropriate;
  • the date you want the property valued (the valuer will value the property on the date specified unless otherwise requested) and when you want the valuation report done by - set a date which is agreed upon by both you and the valuer; and
  • whether you want the report sent to you by fax, email, post or courier.

What to expect in the report

The valuer's report should contain all the information you've specifically requested, and may include any or all of the following (note, reports will vary according to the type of property and the purpose of the valuation):

  • Valuation summary;
  • land and title;
  • location;
  • site description and services;
  • town planning;
  • improvements;
  • environmental matters;
  • comments on the property;
  • basis of valuation including valuation rationale or approach and sales evidence;
  • market review or summary;
  • valuation; and
  • qualifications and disclaimers.

The report may also have appendices including:

  • location map;
  • certificate of title;
  • strata/unit plan;
  • photographs; and
  • any other relevant documentation.

Fees

There is no set fee for the provision of valuation advice. You should negotiate a fee with your chosen valuer before the valuation proceeds. As with the purchase of any service, the Office of Fair Trading recommends you shop around before appointing. Check with friends and family for recommendations and ask several valuers about their fees.

Next Page: Buying a Home