What is an Appraisal?
Are real estate appraisals really necessary?
Does an appraisal include an engineer's report or whole house inspection?
Is there anything I can do to speed up the process?
What constitutes a typical appraisal?
What is the market approach?
What is a comparable sale?
What is an arms length transaction?
What is market value?


What is an Appraisal?
The Professional Real Estate Appraisal
An appraisal is an objective estimate of the value of an adequately described piece of property, supported by the collection and analysis of relevant, factual data and is made by a person who has sufficient knowledge, training and experience to accurately estimate its value.

Are real estate appraisals really necessary?
The importance of a Professional Real Estate Appraisal
Because much private, corporate and public wealth lies in real estate, the determination of its value is essential to the economic well-being of society. It is the job of the professional appraiser to determine these values by gathering, analyzing and applying information pertinent to a property.

Unquestionably, the professional opinion on the appraiser, backed by extensive training and knowledge, influences the decisions of people who own, manage, sell, purchase, invest in and lend money on the security of real estate. And because the appraiser is trained to be an impartial third party in the lending process, this professional serves as a vital "check in the system, " protecting real estate buyers from overpaying for property as well as lenders from overlending to buyers.
Does an appraisal include an engineer's report or whole house inspection?
Appraisal versus property inspection
The appraiser is not a home inspector, engineer, architect, electrician, plumber, lawyer or land surveyor. The appraiser walks through the house to get an idea of the general condition and room count. An appraisal is not a guarantee of condition. An appraiser will ask about any visible problems and those which may not be visible and will do their best to gauge any impact on value attributable to those problems. You are encouraged to seek the advice of an expert if you have any questions regarding the structural or mechanical aspects of the property.

Is there anything I can do to speed up the process?
The following items, if available, will help your appraiser to provide a more accurate appraisal in a shorter period of time:
A survey or Real Property Report of the house and property, a copy of any current purchase agreement on the property, a deed or title report showing the legal description, a recent tax bill and recent assessment notice, a list of personal property to be sold with the house (if applicable), a copy of the original plans and specifications, the date and purchase price you paid when you purchased the property, a list of recent improvements and cost as well as any other information you feel may be pertinent.

What constitutes a typical appraisal?
The appraisal process
The appraisal process is an orderly and concise method of reaching an estimate of value. The process has six major steps which include: definition of the problem, preliminary survey and appraisal plan, data collection and analysis, application of the applicable approaches to value, reconciliation of value indications, final estimate of defined value. This process assists the appraiser in reaching a sound conclusion. In most residential appraisals, particularly those of single or two family dwellings, the direct sales comparison or market approach best reflects the actions of buyers and sellers and is the most convincing and defendable approach to value.

What is the market approach?
The market or direct sales comparison approach to value
The market or direct sales comparison approach to an estimate of value is a process of comparing market data, that is, prices paid for similar properties, prices asked by owners, and offers made by prospective purchasers or tenants willing to buy or lease. Typically, a comparison grid is used and adjustments are made to each of the comparable sales used for major differences between the comparable and the subject property for such items as location, gross living or building area, lot size, condition/effective age, market conditions, degree of remodelling, construction quality and significant amenities, i.e.: fireplace, jacuzzi, in ground pool, garage, deck, patio, porch and central air conditioning etc. In the market approach, the appraiser attempts to both gauge and reflect the anticipated reaction by a typical purchaser to the subject property.

What is a comparable sale?
Comparable sales
A comparable sale is a property that is similar to the subject property in most respects, is located in a similar (nearby) location, and has sold recently at arms length. The selection of comparable sales is in most residential appraisals, the single most important determining factor in establishing value. It is the appraisers responsibility to adequately research the local real estate market and determine which comparable sales best represent the value characteristics of the subject property.

What is an arms length transaction?
Arms length transaction
An arms length transaction is one in which both seller and purchaser act completely independently of each other and have no connection or relationship to each other.

What is market value?
Market Value
The most probable price which a property should bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller, each acting prudently, knowledgeably and assuming that the price is not affected by any undue stimulus. Implicit in this definition is the consummation of a sale as of a specified date and the passing of title from seller to buyer under conditions whereby: (1) buyer and seller are typically motivated; (2) both parties are well informed or well advised with each acting as they consider in their own best interests; (3) a reasonable time is allowed for exposure to the open market; (4) payment is made in terms of cash in Canadian dollars or in terms of financial arrangements comparable thereto; and (5) the price represents the normal consideration for the property sold unaffected by special or creative financing or sales concessions granted by anyone associated with this sale.


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