The value of your home, as determined by a real estate appraiser, is an important piece of information for the broker, the lender and the buyer. As such, the accuracy of the evaluation is critical, as a lot rests on it.

It is very important to work with an unbiased appraiser who can provide a thorough evaluation based on in-depth market research. Just as important as working with an objective appraiser, is understanding the process itself and the many misconceptions of the procedure.

Here are a few real estate appraisal myths that you should be aware of when undergoing the evaluation process.

Myth #1:  The appraised market value will be the same as the asking price

Reality: Based on the current state of the market – i.e. a “buyers’ market” versus a “sellers’ market,” the appraised value of your home may not be the same as the selling price. For example, in a “sellers’ market,” where there are multiple offers, also known as a “bidding war,” the selling price of your home can be inflated above the appraised market value. On the other end of the spectrum, in a “buyer’s market” you may unfortunately have to lower the asking price of your home, often meaning it will sell for less than its appraised value.  While multiple offers are good for the seller, the buyer may run into the opposite problem if they choose to sell down the road in a less active market.

Myth #2: The homebuyer is entitled to a copy of the appraisal since they paid the fee

Reality:  Even though you are the one footing the bill for the appraisal, you are technically not the client – the lender in which the appraisal is being prepared for is. Similar to the doctor patient or lawyer client professional confidentiality agreement, the appraiser has a legal obligation not to disclose the content of his report to you. As the prospective homeowner, you may be privy to a copy of the appraisal, if the lender agrees and provides consent to the appraiser. With that said, as some of the information in the appraisal is your personal property, it can be accessed under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) act.

Myth #3:  The investment a homeowner puts into renovations and upgrades will be fully reflected in the appraised value of his home

Reality:  Unfortunately upgrades and renovations do not always impact your home’s appraised value – no matter how much you spend or how good your home now looks. The appraisal will depend on the quality and the value of the renovations.  It is also dependent on the market conditions of your neighborhood. At times, upgrades may even negatively impact your home’s value. This happens when the renovations you have made are unusual in a given market. So, before you sink too much money into updating your home, it is advised to get an expert opinion from an objective appraiser that you hire independent of the bank.

An Appraiser’s Perspective

Whether or not the buyer is willing to pay your asking price, an appraisal is a necessary step in selling your home. This is because the lender requires an objective evaluation from an unbiased, professional, third party to determine your home’s true value. But what exactly do we look at when in an evaluation? Here are five key areas an appraiser assess when determining the market value of your property.

Condition of the Exterior

An obvious place to start is the exterior of your home. An appraiser will look at your home’s fixed qualities. This includes its age, structure and location. Specifically the appraiser will consider several areas, some include things like:

  • the quality of construction
  • the condition of the roof, foundation and even driveway
  • your neighborhood and how your house compares to those around it

Condition of the interior

No matter how well maintained the exterior of your home is, and the surrounding property, the condition of the interior is an important factor in assessing the value of your home. For example, an appraiser will pay close attention to things like the condition of your windows, floors, plumbing, electric and overall state of your bathroom and kitchen.

 Specs of your home

The next thing the appraiser will look at is the size of your lot and the size of your home.  Bigger lots and houses are evaluated higher typically because buyers tend to prefer large homes and properties.  For example, more bedrooms, more bathrooms and a large backyard means a higher market value. Appraiser will also look at things like number of closets, and additional rooms like laundry rooms and mud rooms when assessing your home.


Renovations, like new floors, an upgraded bathroom or kitchen are considered when apprising your home. Though only aesthetic, a fresh coat of paint can also play a factor in your home’s evaluation. In the case of older homes, pay special attention to plumbing and electrical upgrades to ensure that they are up-to-date.


Extras that make your home unique will also be appraised. Additional items considered could include things like:

  • A fireplace
  • security system
  • central-air
  • the garage and added features
  • an in-ground pool
  • a well-maintained deck


While you may not be able to sway an appraiser’s evaluation of your home, there are certainly things you can do help ensure you are prepared. Knowing what appraisers look at can help you determine whether or not your home requires upgrades, repairs or a face-lift. Even if the fixes are not in your budget, understanding what is appraised will help you prepare mentally, and financially, for the final verdict.


For more information about appraisals, please contact us here: 

Housing appraisals are a must for anyone looking to sell or refinance their home.

All too often a homeowner will complain about a low or “unfair” appraisal. While some grievances are valid, many are a result of poor planning and an overall lack of knowledge about the process.

As a homeowner you need to know how to get the best market value for your home.

Here is a list of what to do and what not to do, to ensure you get the highest real estate appraisal for your home.

1. Put a little TLC into your yard

While the inside of your house is obviously an important factor for an appraisal, so is the outside. Your front and back yards add to your home’s curb appeal, so make sure they are well maintained. If your yards are a little lack-luster, especially in comparison to your neighbours’, it may result in a less than desirable appraisal.

2. Don’t wait until the last minute to take care of repairs

Selling and buying a new home is a lot of work. Add in your day-to-day responsibilities, and time seems to vanish. Before you get lost in the daily grind, make a list of all the repairs that can affect your appraisal and take care of them right away. This way, you are ready in time for the evaluation and are stress free. Forgetting to take care of these repairs before the appraiser visits could reflect negatively on the evaluation.

3. Track all your updates and renovations

Upgrades like floors, the fireplace, central-air and even a security system can all raise the value of your home. But, if you don’t track all of your hard work, and the money you have spent, the appraiser may miss it. Write it all down as you go, including the cost, and give it to the appraiser so that they are considered when appraising your home.

4. Track the changes in your neighbourhood

While the upgrades to your home are important for a fair appraisal, so are the upgrades to your neighborhood. Just like the list you are compiling of your renovations, make a similar list of all the changes to your neighborhood since you have moved in. Have the roads recently been paved? Was there a new school or park built? These revitalizations can raise the market value of your home. Forgetting to mention them to your appraiser can result in a low appraisal.

5. Experience

No matter what you do – working with a green appraiser could negatively impact the valuation of your home. Do your research whether you are commissioning the appraiser yourself, or the evaluation is coming from a lender. A lack of experience can help with your appeal, and an appraiser with extensive experience can help your assessment.


If you have questions about a Real Estate appraisal, send us a message through our site here: 

Your home’s evaluated market value is an unavoidable part of the sale or refinancing process. A Real Estate appraisal considers several factors, but none of them should come as a surprise if you are prepared. Here’s a short list of appraisal facts you should be aware.

 You don’t technically have access to the appraisal

Just because you paid someone for it, doesn’t mean you are entitled to it. Since the appraisal request usually comes from the lender, they technically own the document. As they are the client, you’re not legally entitled to the report. This means, if the appraisal comes back lower than you expected, you won’t necessarily know why.

But you can order your own appraisal

While it’s typically the lender who requests the appraisal, this doesn’t mean you can’t request your own. In asking for your own evaluation, you are the client, and so, you are privy to the full report. There are various reasons in which you may want to order own appraisal. It can help you in the appeal of a previous evaluation. It can help you prepare for future assessments and upgrades needed to improve the evaluation. And, if you want to list independently, an appraisal will help you determine your asking price. No matter the reason, you can order your own report. The appraisal cost is relatively small in comparison to the return on investment that comes with knowing the details.

 You can challenge the appraisal

The value of your home as stated in your appraisal is not set in stone. This means you can go back to the lender or appraiser, and appeal. To challenge the evaluation make sure you’ve done your research, and have tracked your renovations. When conducting the evaluation of your property, the appraiser will look at the homes that have sold, or are on sale, in your neighbourhood. If you think the appraiser missed properties that could affect your evaluation, let them know. It’s also possible that the appraiser missed some relevant upgrades to your property. Make sure to list them all, including costs, and leverage this information in your appeal. This information can help change the assessed value of your home.

Your neighbourhood affects the evaluation

The proximity to low-income or affluent communities are obvious factors that affect your home’s appraisal. But beyond the obvious, there are other influencers that determine market value. Is your home close to a school or park? Are major highways easily accessible? Are you close to public transit? These are all aspects an appraiser will take into account when determining the value of your home.


Unfortunately, like your home’s neighborhood, there are other factors, beyond your control, than can affect your home’s appraisal. Interest rate fluctuations can impact evaluations – economic factors will affect your home’s appraisal.

Interest rates have gone down and you want to capitalize. You’ve outgrown your current home and you need to upgrade. Whether you’re end goal is to refinance, or to sell your existing property, an appraisal is in an inevitable part of the loan process.

You’ve done your research and have made sure all relevant repairs and upgrades, inside and out, have been completed, yet, the appraisal has come in much lower than you anticipated. Fortunately the appraised market value is not fixed. Aside from sinking more money into repairs to alter the valuation, you can appeal the appraisal based on current facts.

But what evidence will sway an appraisal and how can you challenge them? We have compiled a cheat sheet to help.

Comparable properties (comps) that might have been missed

As part of the evaluation process the appraiser must look at recent sales in your neighbourhood, as well as comparable properties and market trends. Specifically, appraisers should have used comps for properties sold in the past 90 days. It is not uncommon for appraiser to have missed properties – properties that you think would alter the market value of your home. Especially if they were sold after your appraisal was completed.  If you want to challenge the appraisal value of your home, do your homework. Make a list of all recent, and comparable homes in your neighbourhood.

Upgrades and improvements

As life changing and important your appraisal may be to you, and appraiser has many more evaluations to complete (and lives to change) in a given period of time. This means they might not be in your home long enough to catch its recent enhancements and subtle nuances.

Have you renovated your kitchen? Updated your roof? Installed a new furnace, or finished your basement? It is possible that an appraiser missed these upgrades in their evaluation.

Let them know exactly what you have done, and how much it cost.

If all else fails – seek a second opinion

If your list of comps and list of renos aren’t enough to change the appraisal evaluation, then maybe a second opinion will. A new appraiser will take a look at the market, and your home, with a fresh eye, and depending on timing, and changed market. If by chance the evaluation comes back the same as the original, you are entitled to the full report since you are the one who requested it. Full access to this report will help you determine anything you may have missed, helping with round two.

In the end, the appraiser has underwriters to answer to, meaning you may not be able to change the appraised value of your home. But, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a try. Do your research and find comparable homes. Look into similar neighbourhoods to assess market value. Provide a comprehensive list of all your upgrades. Get a second opinion. Whether now, or down the road it will pay off in the end.

Whether you are choosing to sell or refinance your home, a real estate appraisal is a necessary part of the process. The results of the appraisal can affect how much the broker is willing to loan you, your original asking price and the final sales price. Needless to say it can be both an exciting and nerve wracking situation. To help guide you through the process we have compiled a list of key things you should know about home appraisals.

Your home isn’t the only one on the appraiser’s list

To get a better understanding of your home’s market value, the appraiser will evaluate other, comparable homes. These homes are usually in your area and have similar characteristics like house and lot size, add-ons and condition of repair. The appraiser may also look for comparable homes outside of your area. Again these homes will have similar features, and will reside in similar neighbourhoods.


The buyer pays for the appraisal

If you are looking to refinance your home, the bank will likely send an appraiser to determine its market value before they agree to the amount and terms of the loan. But, just because you didn’t ask for the appraisal, doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay for it. Even though the appraisal is for the benefit of the lender, and the lender orders it, you have to cover the bill.


You can order your own appraisal

On the flip-side, you can commission your own appraisal. The reason you might want to do this is so that you have full access to your home’s evaluation and what may affect it, like repairs and upgrades that need to be done to raise its market value. It’s important to note, that in the case where the lender is the client – i.e. requests the appraisal – only they can see the evaluation report. Even though you paid for it. So ordering your own can help you prepare.


There are different types of home appraisals

Appraisals requiring both an exterior and interior inspection of your home and property are commonplace, but there are other, less invasive appraisals.  These are called drive-bys. While these appraisals are less thorough, they still do provide valid information for your market evaluation. The reason a lender might opt for a drive-by is because they do not question the value of your home, and so have likely already determined to support the loan amount requested.


How long are appraisal good for and how much do the cost?

An appraisal can be good for up to a year after completion date. However, in today’s fluctuating and challenging market, it is entirely possible that the lender might cut the effective date off at six months. If this is the case, the appraisal can be paid through a re-certification of value so that you don’t have to pay twice for a new report. This is good news considering an appraisal can run you upwards to $500.

6 Top Renovations with Big ROI

Increase Your Home’s Resale Value with These Tips

As a homeowner looking to sell, it can be a tough call knowing which renovations will actually increase the value of your home, and which will simply eat through your wallet without offering a substantial return on your investment. It’s important to recoup the costs you put into your home, and making the right choices when it comes to renovations can not only affect the price at which you sell, but also how quickly you sell! The most important thing is to focus on adding value and functionality over a personal aesthetic flair—especially since the former is universal, but the latter is largely a matter of taste.

Here are a few of the best renovations that come with a substantial return on your investment:

Replacing Old Doors

This is an especially popular choice for older homes—if your front door looks like it was installed in a year beginning with the number 19, then it might be time for an upgrade. While there is an aesthetic value to replacing your front door with a new steel door, there are also practical benefits as well, including better energy efficiency and increased security. A brand new garage door is also a worthwhile investment when looking to sell.

Adding Insulation

Speaking of energy efficiency, adding insulation to your home, especially in the attic, is a relatively inexpensive renovation—but one that can have a return of more than 100 per cent. The appeal to a better-insulated home is that it’s less expensive to own in the long run, as the new buyer will be spending less on heating and cooling.

Finish the Basement

This is one of the most common “ongoing projects” a lot of homeowners face. While finishing your basement is likely to consume both time and money, imagine the relief in a prospective buyer when they realize they won’t have to do it themselves. Finished basements can make or break a sale and add serious resale value.

Minor Remodelling in the Kitchen and Bathroom

While minor updates to kitchens and bathrooms are shown to give you a boost in resale value, there’s an inverse relationship between how extensive your remodel is and how much you’ll recoup. Instead of going all-out, look at the details—fixtures, countertops, appliances—and remember to focus on functionality.

Adding Useable Space

Adding a bathroom to your home is an expensive process, and will not add tremendous value—but if yours is a three-bedroom home with only a single bathroom, it could make or break a sale. Never build a superfluous add-on; these should only be added in special cases.

New Windows

These can be filed with new doors and added insulation in the “energy efficiency” department—replacing older windows with newer models can improve your home’s heat retention in the winter while reducing heat gain in the summer. Increasing the size of your windows will be more expensive, but if done right, you’ll add a lot more natural light to your home, which can be a major draw for homeowners.

Wondering what the difference between an “appraisal” and an “inspection” is? A lot of people think these two terms mean the same thing. In reality, they serve two very different functions. We’ve put together an infographic to explain the difference between the two.

Are you considering buying a home or property, but unsure what to look for? We’ve put together an easy-to-use checklist of things to consider when shopping around.