What is an appraisal?

An appraisal is an unbiased, formally presented opinion of a property’s value. WesTech’s professional valuation expertise provides our clients with a sound basis for making real estate decisions such as buying / selling a home or refinancing a mortgage.

Why do I need an appraisal?

An appraisal is important if you will be making a significant financial decision based on your home’s value. A few examples:

  • Determining a property’s buying / selling price.
  • Estate planning / valuations.
  •  Ensuring that a property is fairly divided in a divorce or estate settlement.
  • Refinancing your current mortgage to buy an investment property.
  • Contesting unfairly high property taxes.
  • Establishing replacement costs for insurance purposes.
  • It is ordered by a government department such as Canada Revenue Agency.
  • For accounting purposes if you plan to turn your primary house into a rental property.

How much does an appraisal cost?

Our prices are competitive and depend on the complexity of the appraisal report. If you have any questions, please contact us. We’d be happy to talk to you about your needs and to provide a quote for an appraisal.

Email: mail@westechappraisal.com
Phone: 604-986-2722
Fax: 604-986-2552

What is in an appraisal report?

A WesTech appraisal report will identify:

  • Estimated market value of the home
  • Sales data for comparable properties
  • Purpose and intended use of the report
  • Value analysis
  • Estimated rental income (if applicable)
  • The client and other intended users
  • Type and definition of value reported
  • Effective date of the appraiser’s opinions and conclusions
  • The scope of work used to complete the assignment
  • Property characteristics including physical / location attributes, legal / economic attributes, and the real property interest valued

How does WesTech estimate value?

Your appraisal will be based on information such as: the home’s location, condition, size, and access to amenities; recent sales data from the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS); public records and BC assessment data; and the appraiser’s experience in the same market. The process usually involves two of the three “common approaches to value”:

Cost Approach – This approach takes into account the site value, overall condition of the home, improvements made to the property, and depreciation factors such as physical deterioration.

Sales Comparison Approach – How much have similar, nearby properties sold for recently? This approach typically gives the most accurate indication of residential property value.

Income Approach – Given the income produced by the property, what would an investor pay for the property? This approach is used when appraising income-producing properties.

Is an appraisal the same as a home inspection?

No. An appraisal is a professional estimate of a home’s value, while a home inspection is a detailed evaluation of a home’s structure and mechanical systems (electrical, plumbing, heating, etc.). An appraisal does take a home’s structure and systems into account, but in less detail than a full inspection. An appraiser’s inspection will, at the minimum, be thorough enough to:

  • adequately describe the real estate in the appraisal report;
  • develop an opinion of highest and best use, when such an opinion is necessary and appropriate, and;
  • make meaningful comparisons in the valuation of the property.

What is the difference between an appraisal and a comparative market analysis (CMA)?

While they may seem similar, they are quite different based on levels of diligence and impartiality. Both are an estimation of a property’s value based on market trends and comparable properties, taking into account factors such as condition, location, and construction costs. However, appraisals performed by WesTech are completed by highly qualified valuation professionals who have completed a rigorous program of appraisal-specific professional studies, examinations, and hands-on experience. In fact, we are often asked by very successful realtors to give second opinions when a listing is unique or there is a need for an objective third-party opinion.

WesTech is an impartial party with no vested interest in the home’s value. A WesTech appraisal is a carefully documented, defensible, presentable, and recognized report that is widely accepted by Canada Revenue Agency, BC Assessment, courts, real estate corporations, chartered banks, trust companies, mortgage lending institutions, and all levels of the government and private individuals. This sets a WesTech report apart from a realtor’s CMA – even if the CMA has been completed with the same level skill, knowledge, and expertise.

What is an AMC?

Most major lenders engage an AMC (appraisal management company) to manage their appraisal needs. An AMC is an impartial body whose role is to coordinate interactions between lenders / brokers and appraisers. The AMC may deliver orders to appraisers, track appraisals in progress, oversee quality of appraisal reports, deliver appraisals to the lender/broker, negotiate appraisal fees, or verify an appraiser’s certification. WesTech completes reports for all major lenders and works with their AMC of choice.

How do I order an appraisal from WesTech?

If you have a property that needs an appraisal, we’d be happy to help. You can place an order with WesTech Appraisal Services Ltd. in a number of ways:

Phone – Call our office at 604-986-2722 and speak to our Customer Care Team. If it is after hours, please leave a detailed voice message and we will contact you as soon as possible on the next business day.

Email – mail@westechappraisal.com. We will contact you to confirm the order.

Fax – or send us your request through fax to (604) 986-2552. We will contact you to confirm the order.

What should I expect on the day of appraisal?

A WesTech appraiser will arrive at your home, introduce themselves, and present a business card. The appraiser will gather information that will allow for meaningful comparisons in the valuation of your home. The appraiser will typically confirm the living area of your home, establish the floor plan, assess its condition and quality of finish, determine the home’s “effective age”, and document the report with photos. You will be asked questions about updates, additions, renovations (if any), special assessments, oil tanks, awareness of easements, etc. You can help streamline the process by making sure that all areas of the home are accessible – especially if you have tenants.

It is very helpful and will aid in the completion of the report if the appraiser is provided with or can view any of the following:

  • Survey and building plans of the house and/or property.
  • Certificate of Title.
  • Recent tax assessment.
  • A copy of the original or renovation plans/budget.

Appraisals are generally billed to the financial institution/broker directly, but if not, payment will be collected at this point or will be charged to the mortgage broker/lender involved in the transaction.

We always welcome questions or feedback regarding the property, neighbourhood etc. Similarly, we would be happy to discuss the “process” of an appraisal.

What happens after the appraisal? When will I receive the report?

If the appraisal was ordered through an AMC/broker:
The appraiser will research and send the file to the bank usually within 1 business day, depending on the complexity of the appraisal. After this point the lender/broker will contact the client to proceed with the lending process.

If you ordered the appraisal directly through WesTech Appraisal Services Ltd.:
Depending on the complexity of the case, your appraisal will be emailed to you between 1 and 5 business days. Hard copies will also be provided. During the process, the appraiser will keep you informed about the status of the report. Please feel free to contact WesTech with questions at any time.

Do I get a copy of the report? Or who actually owns the appraisal report?

WesTech has no reservations about providing a copy of our report if instructed to do so. Appraisal Standards require “client confidentiality” and unfortunately, only the “client/party or parties who engaged” the appraiser for the specific assignment are privy to the appraisal report. Appraisals ordered by a banker, broker, Appraisal Management Company, or such may be released to the homeowner if their own internal policy permits.

So what does that really mean? Unfortunately, even though you may have paid for the report we are bound by our appraisal standards and may not be able to provide a copy.

In the case of a private appraisal, WesTech Appraisal Services Ltd. will deliver the report to you and may stipulate how the appraisal can be used (i.e. asset management, estate planning, tax purposes, etc.) based on your requirements.