It’s known as the “foot in the door”, and it’s been around for decades. Estate agents are always letter-box dropping cards advertising “Free Market Appraisals” or “Find Out What Your Home Is Worth”.
It is important for consumers to note that a free appraisal is worth what you pay for it – NOTHING! Remember, there is a huge difference between an “appraisal” and a valuation. Estate agents can (and do) tell home owners what they want to hear, not what they should hear. If the estate agent thinks he or she can impress you by telling you your home is worth $50,000 more than the most ambitious estimate would suggest, they will.
The valuer, on the other hand, will tell home-owners what they need to hear – what the property is worth at current market value. Further, the valuer will put the valuation in writing, and if necessary will be able to justify that valuation on oath before a court. Of course, the valuer will charge a fee for this service, but that is because the service is a genuine and valuable service.
So, the next time you receive a card or flyer offering a “Free Appraisal”, be sure to see it for what it is – a “foot in the door” for an estate agent who is simply hoping to source more commission-earning sales.