WHETHER you’re a potential homebuyer or a greenhorn property investor, your impending venture into the property market will very much revolve around valuations. You might have heard the term being thrown about by experienced property market players, but how much do you know about valuations and how the process would influence your purchase? Here’s what you need to know.

What is valuation?

Officially, “market value” is the estimated amount for which a property should exchange on the date of valuation between a willing buyer and a willing seller in an arm’s length transaction after proper marketing wherein the parties have each acted knowledgeably, prudently and without compulsion. Valuation calculations take into account recent transacted prices from the Government’s Valuations and Property Services Department (JPPH). Additionally, launch prices of new and upcoming projects in the area play a factor. Once a valuation is done, a bank would usually extend a loan of 90% based on the figure.

How valuation affects you

Say you’ve got your eye on an apartment unit, and after negotiating with the seller, the two of you agree on a price of RM500,000. A 90% loan means that you would need to fork out a down payment of RM50,000, aside from other entry costs. Now, here’s where the valuation comes into play – for a housing loan, a report by a real estate valuation firm recognised by the bank you’re dealing with is needed. If a valuation firm only prices the said property at RM450,000, you would only be eligible for a loan of 90% from RM450,000. Basically, this means that if you were to go ahead and purchase it, you would need to bear the price difference and come up with RM95,000; and not the RM50,000 you were initially expecting.

Why the disparity?

If you observed the Malaysian property market, you would know that prices in certain areas have surged upwards quite quickly. Herein
lies the issue – as it takes up to six months for JPPH to collect and analyse transaction data, which valuation firms rely on for their calculations. Basically, this means that valuations would be centred on outdated prices from up to six months earlier, and are likely to be lower than current prices.

Although many firms take the trouble to ensure an accurate and fair valuation by taking into account as many relevant factors as possible, many others only do as much as they need to, resulting in common cases of disparities between valuations and negotiated prices.

What can you do?

Here’s the bit where you have control over. It’s a well-known fact among veteran property players that different banks can provide different valuations on a single piece of property. Some bank sales agents may aggressively push up their valuations of your property, just so they can obtain more transactions. You could take advantage of this and go “shopping” for valuation rates. Remember to mention what the other branches are offering as you might just end up with the valuation that you want.