Frequently Asked Questions
What is your service area?
We are based out of Ajax, Ontario and have a service area that covers most of the suburban centres east of Toronto. This includes the Durham Region (Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Brooklin, Oshawa, Courtice, Bowmanville and Newcastle) as well as Stouffville and parts of Markham and Scarborough. Please feel free to contact us to see if we service your area.
How long does it take to complete the appraisal?
The appraisal inspection for a typical home takes 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the size, layout and condition of the property. The inspection is just a small part of the appraisal process, with the great majority of the work taking place back in the office. A draft copy of the appraisal report is sent to the ordering broker two to three business days after the inspection and the final copy of the report is sent to the lender once we are given the listing broker's authorization.
Will you tell me the value of my home when you complete the appraisal inspection?
In most cases, we have not researched the property before the inspection and cannot give an accurate valuation without reviewing and analyzing comparable sales. Although we are familiar with your neighbourhood, values do fluctuate and there may be recent sales affecting neighbourhood value that we are not aware of until we do this research. Additionally, most of our lender clients have policies that expressly forbid us from discussing the appraisal results with the homeowner.
Can I get a copy of the appraisal report?
In accordance with the standards of the Appraisal Institute of Canada, the only person we are allowed to give a copy of the appraisal report to is our client.
If your appraisal is being done for financing purposes, our client is the lender. The report has been ordered by the lender as part of their underwriting process and is required prior to mortgage financing. The appraisal is written to the lender's specific requirements and our contract with them does not allow us to share the report with third parties. We cannot give you a copy of the report without their express written consent. This is the case even if the lender has passed the cost of the appraisal on to you.
If you have ordered the appraisal for your own purposes (such as marital separation or estate probate purposes), you are our client and, as such, you will be the only person who receives a copy of the report.
When is payment required for the appraisal? What forms of payment do you take?
Payment for the appraisal is required at the time of inspection, or prior to inspection. We cannot complete the appraisal prior to receiving our fees as we have found that it often becomes difficult to collect payment if the result of the appraisal is not what the homeowner expected or was hoping for.
Payment can be made by cash, certified cheque or bank draft at the time of inspection or by Interac email money transfer prior to inspection. If you wish to pay by credit card, we will issue you a PayPal invoice which can easily be paid by credit card without becoming a PayPal member.
How do I get ready for the appraisal inspection? What can I expect?
The purpose of the appraisal inspection is to gather the information necessary to complete the appraisal report in compliance with the lender's requirements and to develop an accurate value estimate.
During the inspection process, the appraiser will take notes about the layout, finishes and condition of the home as well as some basic information on the construction and mechanics. Upgrades and renovations will be noted as well as any maintenance or repair items that should be addressed. Photographs are taken for use in the appraisal report but generally speaking we are looking at the overall condition of the home rather than your daily housekeeping. An exterior inspection is also completed, including a sketch and measurements of the outside walls.
Please note that the appraiser must have access to all of the rooms in the house as well as the garage, utility area and electrical panel. Most lenders require each room to be photographed and require the appraiser to confirm in writing that all areas of the home were inspected. Please ensure that you have the necessary keys to open any locked rooms and, if the property is tenanted, please ensure that we have the tenant's permission to take photographs. If we are required to return to the property to re-inspect or photograph any areas, additional fees will be required.
We do not require much in the way of documentation as we have most of this available to us through various online services. However, if you have a survey, or the original builder's brochure and floorplans that show the model name and square footage of the dwelling, this is helpful to us and we will photograph it and leave you with the original. If you wish to make a list of any recent updates or renovations, that can also be helpful. If the appraisal is part of a private purchase and sale, we will need a complete copy of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale as well as any Amendments to the Agreement.
How do you determine the market value of my home?
In residential appraisal, this process relies mainly on the Direct Comparison Approach. During the Direct Comparison Approach, the attributes and features of the subject property are compared to recent sales of similar properties in the surrounding neighbourhood. If the subject property is larger, superior or has a feature that the comparable does not, the comparable sale will be given upward adjustments to its sale price. Conversely, if the subject property is smaller, inferior or is missing a feature that the comparable has, the comparable sale is given downward adjustments to its sale price.
Following completion of the Direct Comparison Approach, the adjusted values of the comparable sales are analyzed and reconciled into an estimate of value for the subject property. Lender guidelines may influence our comparable selection as well as the size of adjustments permitted. All of our appraisals are written in compliance with the Canadian Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (CUSPAP), which provides a clear definition of market value. We have a dedicated page on this website if you would like to learn more about the appraisal process.
What is the difference between a formal appraisal and a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) or Letter Of Opinion provided by a Realtor?
A formal appraisal report completed by a designated member of the Appraisal Institute of Canada (AIC) is generally the only type of valuation document accepted by mortgage lenders, government entities and the court system.
Designated appraisers have made a career solely out of valuing properties whereas Realtors offer CMAs and Letters of Opinion at little or no cost as a method of developing relationships and earning future business. An appraiser has a professional, unbiased approach to valuing properties. Under ideal circumstances, the value provided by an appraiser and a Realtor are going to be quite similar but in reality this is not always the case.
An appraisal completed by a designated AIC member is typically on an "as is" basis, with a current market value. In contrast, the value provided by a Realtor is often contingent on certain improvements and preparations being completed prior to sale (such as repairs, painting, decluttering and home staging) and may be projected forwards to a future listing date, such as an upcoming "spring market". A CMA is often part of an overall marketing plan whereas a designated appraiser provides a well-documented and clearly supported current market value of the property in its existing condition.