How to be prepared for your Home Appraisal

What is an Appraiser looking for when they come to my home?

Have you ever asked this question as the appraiser walks through your home?
As one of the owners of WesTech Appraisal Services Ltd., I have been asked this numerous times in my many years of appraising homes in Vancouver and it is surprising what people think we are checking on.

In simple terms the focus of our questions are:
How big, old, updated, renovated, is your home and how well maintained is it? Is there anything good or bad about your property that will have a positive or negative effect on the value?

Our questions are posed to help us complete an accurate estimate of the value of your home.

So when a team member from Westech Appraisal asks questions, takes notes, and takes photographs, there is more going on than meets the eye. By doing so, we are gathering information about your home to ensure an accurate appraisal

10 simple questions Westech Appraisal will ask you at your home

1. Have you done any updates?
2. Do you know how old the roof is?
3. Have your renovations been completed with a permit?
4. Have you added an addition to your home?
5. Are you aware of any easements on the property?
6. Are you aware of any special assessments (if your home is a strata property) ?
7. What is the total living area and style of the home?
8. Are you aware of an oil tank on the property
9. Do you have a copy of a site survey certificate?
10. And finally, is there anything you need to know about the appraisal process?

WesTech has very experienced and professional appraisers ready to help you with your next Real Estate transaction. To browse through the services we provide visit our Services page.
For more information about our professionals visit our Team page and see if there is an appraiser or customer care team member who can help you.

For answers to some of your likely appraisal questions please visit our FAQ’s page or contact us.

~ Mark Doherty

Moving for the job? WesTech can help facilitate the relocation process.

Are you being relocated for your job? Why is a relocation appraisal necessary? How is it different than a mortgage financing appraisal?

An appraisal can be completed by one of three appraising methods: the cost approach, by direct comparison, or the income approach. According to Steven Coull, the executive director of the Canadian Association of Real Estate Appraisers, the first two methods are used to value residential homes for appraisals (including relocation appraisals), with an emphasis on the direct comparison approach. The direct comparison approach uses recent sales or active listings in the area, to make adjustments and determine an estimated value for the property.

Now you may be thinking “I just had an appraisal done a couple of months ago when I refinanced my home. Why do I need to have another one done now that I am being transferred?”. To answer this, let’s look at the difference between a relocation appraisal and a mortgage financing appraisal.

Simply put, a relocation appraisal is done in a more detailed appraisal format, often requiring more narrative descriptions as opposed to just ‘ticking the boxes’. A mortgage financing appraisal typically asks the question “What is the fair market value for this home, today?”, whereas the relocation appraisal is written with the question “What will the home likely sell for in the forecasted market, in a reasonable time period?” in mind.

The relocation appraisal has a more comprehensive market analysis than the mortgage financing appraisal, and provides comments on the current market trends in the neighbourhood. It also requires a detailed commentary on the comparable sales and listings used in the appraisal.

WesTech Appraisal Services’ appraisal team has considerable experience in the valuation of property for the purposes of employee relocation. We are very familiar with the minimum requirements for relocation appraisals and can complete your report on a variety of Canadian industry relocation forms. Come check us out or contact us at (604)-986-2722 .

Real Estate Market Update

Thanks to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver for keeping us posted.

Here are the stats, as per their latest video:

There’s about 1,760 homes have sold in January of this year.
That’s about 30.3% increase from January of last year and about 7.2% increase in the past 10 years for the January average.

There have been 5,345 homes listed for sale in the Greater Vancouver on MLS this month.
That’s a 4% increase from January of last year and about 17% increase in the past 10 years for the January average.

There are 12,602 homes listed on MLS today.

Watch the REBGV Market Update video, CLICK HERE

The year of the Horse… 2014

Gong Hey Fat Choy
Gong Xi Fa Cai

The year is 4712; year of the Horse starts tomorrow!!!!

The Chinese New Year is underway, with its traditions of lucky money, renewal and family…

From our family at WesTech to yours, 恭禧發財.

Thinking of using your lucky money to purchase a new home? Want to manage your asset? Do you have clients who can benefit from our services? Or simply hoping to see what your home is worth?

Let us take care of your residential appraisal needs, anywhere in the lower mainland. With a 24 hour turnaround time and over 60 years of combined professional experience, you are guaranteed excellent experience & results!

We would love to hear from you!

CBC NEWS: RBC cuts fixed-rate mortgages by 10 basis points

Here’s an interesting Article from CBC NEWS:

Bond yields fall, cutting borrowing costs to the bank and mortgage costs for Canadians

RBC has cut two-, three, four- and five-year fixed mortgage rates by 10 basis points after a slide in Canadian bond yields.

Other Canadian banks will be watching the change and could move Monday to follow.

RBC posted the new rates over the weekend on its website. RBC’s discounted five-year fixed rate is now 3.69 per cent, though it may discount that rate for preferred customers.

Five-year fixed mortgage rates rose industry-wide for much of 2013 with an uptick in August helping to cool the overheated housing market.

The five-year rate is an important measure because it is the rate used to qualify borrowers for CMHC financing and for variable and other fixed-rate terms.

The new rate reflects the lowering of Canadian bond yields by 26 basis points in January, which mirrors the slide in yields on U.S. bonds. Bank borrowing costs rest in part on bond yields.

The Bank of Canada has not changed its key overnight lending rates to the banks – it will announce its latest decision on interest rates on Wednesday..

Bond yields rose when the U.S. Federal Reserve decided in December to taper its bond-buying program to $75-billion US a month, but the market has since absorbed the change. However, further Fed tapering or changes in the U.S. economic outlook could lead to fluctuation in the bond markets later this year.


Property Assessment Too High? What Can You Do About It?

by Emily

Recent headlines in both local and national newspapers

VanCity Buzz BC Assessment

While a majority of assessments may have dropped are you certain that your assessment reflects an accurate drop in market value? Conversely, if you happen to have one of the properties where the assessed value has increased is the increase accurate?

An assessment on your property is done by BC Assessment, who values your property as at July 1st of the previous year (i.e. your 2014 assessment is based on the value of your property on July 1st 2013). If you think your home is over assessed, you can appeal to the PARP on the grounds of unfair market value, or an inequitable assessment. Arguing on the basis of equity means that homes in your neighbourhood are valued either above or below market value, and that your home is valued substantially differently (usually the neighbouring homes are undervalued and your home is valued at or above market value).

Both appeal processes require you to prepare an evidence package which includes an appraisal of your home. This is done by using comparable properties in the neighborhood, and then making appropriate adjustments to come up with your estimate of the market value, which you will later present at court.

Assessments are released on December 31, and all appeal requests must be submitted by January 31 each year. Below is a timeline of the appeal process for any given year.

Some of the most common reasons why appeals are rejected by the court are that there is not enough evidence, the evidence isn’t presented in the correct manner, or there are errors in the evidence. WesTech Appraisal Services Ltd. is one of the largest appraisal companies in the Lower Mainland, and has the experience and knowledge to ensure this doesn’t happen.

We are expecting that there may be more assessment appeals this year given the softened market. Contact us today at 604-986-2722 for a FREE review.

Watch a video from BC Assessment – Property Assessment Review Panel Process here.

Family Law Act

Changes to the Family Law Act come into effect starting March 18, 2013. You may have a client who is affected by these changes.

The New Family Law will deliver drastic changes to how property is divided in BC for both married and unmarried couples.
The changes are outlined as follows:

Enacts major reforms to the common law and married persons property division regime upon relationship breakdown, that:
1. Extend it to common-law spouses who have lived together for two years in a marriage-like relationship.
2. Exclude certain types of property (e.g. pre-relationship property, gifts, and inheritances) from the pool of family property to be divided 50-50.
3. Limit judicial discretion to reapportion family property or to divide excluded property to circumstances where it would be clearly unfair not to do so.
4. Provide that debts are subject to equal division.
5. Set as defaults: the date of separation as the triggering event and the date of the court order or agreement as the valuation date.
6. Limit the ability of judges to set aside or change property division agreements.
7. Enable interim orders, including for the distribution of property for the purposes of funding litigation or dispute resolution.
8. Enact conflict of laws provisions to address property outside of British Columbia.


WesTech is sensitive to the delicate dynamics of divorce situations and we handle all information with discretion and a guarantee of confidentiality.
If you or any of your clients ever have any questions please feel free to contact us about our appraisal services.

Phone: 604-986-2722

“I have used Westech Appraisals for over 6 years and have always recommended them to my fellow Mortgage Specialists at Investors Group in the lower mainland. I have been very pleased with accuracy of WesTech’s reports and the timely manner in which they complete their appraisals. When rush appraisals were required, WesTech came through every time. An added bonus is the extremely competent and friendly customer service that we receive at all levels of the company.”

Bradley, Investors Group

“I have been using WesTech Appraisal Services for the last six years and have found them to be very quick, efficient, and cost effective. I appreciate their great customer service and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to any client.”

Dave, Mortgage Dave The Lynn Valley Mortgage Expert