Or you can embark on your own valuation. This is how we do it. The approach is analytical at first:
Surfaces: Ask for a floor plan, or draw it yourself if it is not available;
Base value per sq.m (m²): Obtain a rough estimate of the value in the area depending on the type of property (stone, recent built, architect house, good-location, etc.). Ideally, you would use price information from a recent sale of a comparable property;
Gross value: Compute a room-by-room value: multiply the surface of each room by the base value per sq.m, and multiply by a weight ratio for each type of surface: 100% for habitable rooms, 50% for verandas and outbuilding that can be converted, 30% for garages and sheds, 15% for dilapidated buildings. Add to obtain gross value;
Adjustments: Adjust for: location (distance from Uzès – as the first-ring villages tend to be more in demand –, views, etc.), neighborhood (roads, traffic noise, tranquility, etc.), features in the house (French ceilings, old fireplace, etc.). Each adjustment reduces or increases the gross value;
Cash flow value: Calculate the (net of service charges and taxes) rental income the property could generate if offered as a vacation rental, deduct services charges and taxes, and divide by your expected rate of return to obtain the cash flow value;
Comparables: And compare with “comparable properties” in the appropriate area (which could be the village itself or the whole of Uzège depending on the type of property). Better if you have recent-transaction information, but prices of listed properties are useful too. In the end, you will always add your “non-objective” bit – some call it “coup de coeur”. But it is important to start from an analytical basis.
The valuation exercise is also a very useful tool in the negotiation process – as sellers will usually not have the resources to dispute it. Although having a documented valuation won’t prevent them from arguing about the price, it will you in a stronger position.
The property is advertised as a 170 sq.m stone village “mas” (meaning: an old farm house located in a village), a 1-car garage built 20 years ago, a 60 sq.m barn that could be converted, and an impeccably maintained walled half-an-acre (2,000 sq.m) garden with a vegetable garden, but no swimming pool. The mas is located in a village 3 km from Uzès, with a local road in front of the garden – and a walking path into Uzès in the back.
Surfaces: as is mostly the case for older properties, there is no floor plan available. But you can always decide to use rough measurements, room by room;
Base value per sq.m: 3 km away from Uzès, stone mas, a bit of work required – the spread is 2,000€ to 2,700€. So you use 2,000€ to be safe (and as the mas will require a bit of refreshing);
Gross value: On the ground floor: kitchen and living room (30 sq.m each), 20 sq.m-utility room and 8 sq.m full bathroom, and 30 sq.m garage. On the first floor: a 10 sq.m full bathroom and 4 nice-sized (17 sq.m) bedrooms. And the 60 sq.m barn: just wall and a roof – but very nice. Hence: ([30 + 30 + 20 + 8 + 10 + (17x4)] x 2,000 x 100%) + (30 x 2,000 x 30%) + (60 x 2,000 x 50%) = (166 x 2,000€) + (30 x 600€) + (60 x 1,000€) = 332,000€ + 18,000€ + 60,000€ = 410,000€;
Adjustments: distance from Uzès +3%, lack of features (interior is bit blend): -1%, road noise (the local road is also the bus-to-school road): – 1%, and 25-mn walk to Uzès: +2%: Hence: 410,000€ x (1 + [3% – 1% – 1% + 2%]) = 422,300€.