canadian real estate trends 2020

Cost Comparison and Trends in Canadian Real Estate

2020 has been a year of highs and lows for the Canadian Real Estate Market

Fitting with the times we’re in, the CREA (Canadian Real Estate Association) couldn’t even publish a quarterly trend forecast in June. Instead, a notice on the webpage stated that “as providers of the most accurate and timely housing data and statistics, CREA believes the outlook to still be too uncertain to release a forecast at this time.”

However, there are still monthly forecasts. As of August 2020, the CREA’s monthly stats and forecast was quite positive, showing home prices and sales increasing across Canada (on average).

Canada’s Real Estate Market is Still Hot

July 2020 was a record-breaking month for many markets, which otherwise floundered during April and May. In fact, according to the CREA monthly stats report, home sales rebounded by 26% in July 2020. Transactions increased country-wide on a month over month basis.

At this point, supply has exceeded demand in many markets, creating a competitive and busy market as we close out summer 2020. Major markets like London-St Thomas, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver have seen large jumps in average home prices in the past year.

Sales Increases in the 11 Largest Markets

  • 49.5% in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)
  • 43.9% in Greater Vancouver
  • 39.1% in Montreal
  • 36.6% in the Fraser Valley
  • 31.8% in Hamilton-Burlington
  • 28.7% in Ottawa
  • 16.9% in London and St. Thomas
  • 15.7% in Calgary
  • 12.1% in Winnipeg
  • 9.7% in Edmonton
  • 5.4% in Quebec City

Housing Prices Across Canada

Note that this statistical information includes all housing types. This average price information is used for determining trends over time and doesn’t account for price ranges between dramatically different neighbourhoods or geographic areas.

  • Home prices have been rising nearly constantly for the past 17 years and between 2016 and 2019, pricing rose by 27.8% (18.5% adjusted for inflation).
  • Across Canada, the average home price rose to $571,471 in July 2020, compared to $500,164 in July 2019. B.C and Ontario are currently the most expensive markets, with average pricing of $699,300 and $606,400.
  • During 2019, Ottawa’s home prices rose the most at 7.38% (on average). Next was Halifax at 7.35%, Montreal at 6.37% and Toronto at 4.48%
  • There were also smaller increases in Quebec at 1.49%, Victoria at 1.13% and Winnipeg at 1.02%
  • Pricing fell in Vancouver at -4.05% and in two of Alberta’s major markets: Edmonton at -1.49% and Calgary at -0.94%

Average Housing Prices in Major Canadian Cities

East of Saskatchewan, most markets have seen strong sales and increasing prices. While prices have also risen in B.C. and Alberta, they haven’t been as distinctive. According to the CREA’s monthly statistical report, the actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in July 2020 was $571,500, up a record-setting 14.3% from July 2019.

This number is influenced by the increases in Canada’s two hottest and most expensive markets- Greater Toronto (GTA) and Greater Vancouver. Without the increases in these markets, the national average home price would be around $117,000 less.

View CREA’s National Price Map

Greater Vancouver

Average Price- $1,031,400 in July 2020 compared to $987,200 in July 2019

Fraser Valley

Average Price- $858,300 in July 2020 compared to $824,500 in July 2019

Victoria

Average Price- $724,600 in July 2020 compared to $700,300 in July 2019

Edmonton

Average Price- $319,000 in July 2020 compared to $323,800 in July 2019

Calgary

Average Price- $411,200 in July 2020 compared to $417,200 in July 2019

Regina

Average Price- $272,200 in July 2020 compared to $269,000 in July 2019

Saskatoon

Average Price- $296,900 in July 2020 compared to $291,300 in July 2019

Winnipeg

Average Price- $284,000 in July 2020 compared to $270,500 in July 2019

Hamilton-Burlington

Average Price- $687,000 in July 2020 compared to $608,600 in July 2019

London-St Thomas

Average Price- $485,802 in July 2020 compared to $406,125 in July 2019

Montreal

Average Price- $401,300 in July 2020 compared to $351,700 in July 2019

Greater Toronto

Average Price- $880,400 in July 2020 compared to $800,200 in July 2019

Ottawa

Average Price- $506,700 in July 2020 compared to $428,100 in July 2019

Quebec City

Average Price- $258,000 in July 2020 compared to $244,800 in July 2019

Halifax- Dartmouth

Average Price- $363,692 in July 2020 compared to $310,251 in July 2019

St John

Average Price- $202,297 in July 2020 compared to $185,632 in July 2019

The Price Gap Between Condos and Single-Family Homes is Shrinking

The mortgage stress test is potentially making it tougher for home buyers to get into single family and more expensive types of homes (particularly in major cities). First time buyers in major markets may opt to purchase a condo over a single-family home. Condo prices are rising due to increased demand (4.2% year over year) and single-family home prices remain relatively similar – the gap between condo pricing and single-family home pricing is narrowing.

Single Family Homes Under Development

In 2018, there were 46,747 units under construction, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This was down from 55,000 units in 2017. As people move further away from the larger cities (Toronto and Vancouver) there are more opportunities for development and more affordable housing prices.  Within pricier markets, home buyers may often look for properties with rental income potential to offset the cost of the mortgage.

Multi-Family Homes Under Development

Condos are the leader for new home construction. In 2018, inventory still under construction reached almost 121,000 units (54% of new builds). Condos also eclipsed single family and rental homes (apartments) at 46,747 units and 56,394 units, respectively. Condos purchased by investors also supplement and supply the rental market. Thinking about getting into the market this fall? Whether you’re considering buying or selling or just want to know what your home is truly worth, our team offers accurate, comprehensive and professional residential real estate appraisal services. D. Fritz Appraisals serves clients from South to Central Vancouver Island (Victoria to Nanaimo) as well as the Gulf Islands. For any questions or to order an appraisal, contact us today.

eco friendly house - tesla solar roof

Top Tips for Eco-Friendly House / Green Homes

Translating into energy savings, increased property value and a reduced carbon footprint, green homes are more sought-after than ever

Now a mainstream concept, eco-friendly homes provide incredible energy savings and contribute to lowered living costs and a positive impact on the environment.

Home buyers now look for smart features and eco-friendly options meant to reduce their carbon footprint, such as the new Tesla solar roof, smart thermostats, energy smart appliances and tankless hot water heaters. These initial investments in new technology dramatically reduce consumption and increase property value.

The Sustainable Home

Sustainability can be separated into passive sustainability and active sustainability

Passive Sustainability

A passively sustainable home is developed to take advantage of its surrounding environment. For instance, a home built with the most exterior surface facing north and south allows it to take advantage of the most sunlight possible. This simple solution reduces the need to turn on heaters and lights during the majority of the day and keeps the temperature comfortable during the evening.

You can also look to the landscape to create passive sustainability. Strategically planted trees add shade to the home, reducing the need to use air conditioning by approximately ten percent. As long as the trees don’t block out any solar panels, they’re an excellent natural way to cool the air both inside and out.

As a bonus, trees provide an excellent anchor for clotheslines to reduce reliance on clothes dryers. Ask your local garden centre for recommendations about the species of trees that would be best for your landscape and region.

Unsure about the permanence of trees? Homeowners can also plant gardens based around native species and grasses. These require much less water and create a naturally thriving green space.

Active Sustainability

The Tesla roof is a prime example of active sustainability. Made of sleek solar tiles, the Tesla roof completely replaces an existing roof with materials three times more durable than standard roofing tiles, but less than the cost of a new roof and new solar panels. The innovative Tesla tiles absorb natural light while the battery banks store extra power for when it’s needed, such as during a power outage (eliminating the need for a fuel generator.)

With the capability to power a home for decades and monitor/control power consumption in real time, the Tesla roof is an ideal solution for reducing energy consumption and costs.

Advancements in smart home technology also make it possible to monitor and lower energy usage. Controlling a thermostat while you’re away from home, using automated window and deck covers (awnings or permanent covers) to shade or heat the house at will, and setting lights on timers are all great ways to spot-reduce energy consumption using smart home technologies. Most commonly managed via smartphone apps, these technologies easily create customized control over your home’s energy expenditure.

Purpose-Built Sustainability During Renovations or New Construction

Green Options for Your New or Improved Home

Windows

Adding larger double or triple paned windows will allow your home to absorb as much sunlight as possible, while keeping the temperature at a comfortable level. Floor to ceiling windows will not only frame the views, adding more beauty to your home, but they will help fill your home with natural light.

Exterior

Sustainable building materials and reclaimed wood are a few other ways that you can lessen environmental impact. For exterior finishing, reconsider vinyl siding and look to a material like fiber cement instead. Sustainable and cost-effective, fiber cement is made from cement, sand and wood fibers. It’s also non-toxic, durable, holds paint well and is designed to last 50 years, much longer than vinyl. In comparison, vinyl is made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) a toxic material that cannot easily be recycled and has a long afterlife.

Paint

Low VOC and no VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paints are also becoming increasingly popular. These “green” paints are low in or free of chemicals that off-gas into your home and degrade the air quality. These paints also biodegrade more easily and have a much shorter afterlife than their toxic counterparts.

Flooring

Look to sustainable flooring options like engineered bamboo flooring, rather than traditional hardwoods. Harder than maple and oak, bamboo is a renewable material that grows at a much faster rate than hardwood trees, which can take decades to grow. In comparison, a stalk of bamboo only takes five years to grow large enough to be harvested. If you do opt for bamboo flooring, make sure that the flooring you choose is top-quality and manufactured using chemical-free materials.

Upgraded Water Heater

When adding or replacing a water heater, consider a tankless model. These heat water on demand, rather than continuously heating a large supply of water—a drain on energy and resources.

Simple Ways to Improve the Sustainability of Your Home

Not Quite Ready to Renovate? Shrink Your Home’s Carbon Footprint with These Small Changes

  • Cold water wash and skip the clothes dryer- This will save roughly 90% in energy used during the wash cycle, and 100% on the drying cycle. Your clothing will have a longer lifespan as well.
  • Use a programmable or smart thermostat- Climate control reduces excessive energy use and being able to turn AC off or on at the touch of a button can make a huge difference in consumption.
  • Use natural cleaning products- Since cleaning products are used every day, it makes sense to invest in chemical free cleaners. Many eco-friendly products are refillable as well, reducing packaging waste.
  • Add LED lighting- As your lightbulbs fade out, swap them with LED bulbs. These use approximately 90% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and they last for about 25,000 hours – that’s 3 years if they’re used 24/7!

When you’ve invested in major home improvements and would like to know what your residential property is worth, we can help. With decades of experience, our team of expert appraisers at D.Fritz serves Southern and Central Vancouver Island as well as the Gulf Islands. Contact us today to get a clear picture of your home’s value in today’s marketplace.

real estate market trends 2020

Current Real Estate Industry Trends

COVID-19 Halts the Vancouver Island Real Estate Marketplace

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, no aspect of the Canadian economy was left untouched and the real estate market felt this acutely with a major slump during March and April. During this period, many British Columbians experienced layoffs, placed themselves in social isolation and were hesitant to open their homes to strangers. For many, listing their homes or searching for a new home took a backseat to navigating the “new normal” during this very odd time in history when schools, workplaces, and all public spaces shut down, seemingly overnight. Also, as restrictions on rental properties were put into place to protect tenants from eviction during the lockdown period, owners of these properties were unable to list these homes. With realtors also self-isolating and avoiding in-person meetings, the market in the Victoria Real Estate (VREB) region was uncharacteristically quiet during what would normally be peak season. Live-streamed open houses, virtual walkthroughs, masks and sanitizer waiting at listed homes became common as the first weeks wore on.

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Bounces Back

The market experienced a stronger than expected bounce-back in late May and June, closely timed with the start of Phase 2 of the BC Restart Plan. As a result, in June the number of homes on the market was much closer to 2019 numbers and sales in June 2020 in the VREB region surpassed sales from June 2019. Despite a slow spring, home prices continued to rise. The sale price of an average single-family home in Victoria topped $1 million in June. Competitive/ multiple offers have also become common due to limited inventory. The BCREA, VREB, and VIREB, Real Estate professionals and other industry experts report this is likely due to a pent-up demand from buyers and sellers having to wait throughout the spring (normally the ideal time to buy and sell) to make their move.

real estate market trends 2020

Changes by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) may also have played a role in demand with new changes resulting in reduced borrowing power. The eligibility rules for a mortgage have now changed to include an inability to use borrowed funds for a down payment, requirements for a higher credit score, and a lower amount of debt that an applicant is allowed carry. Some buyers, particularly first-time buyers, may have felt a push to purchase a home before those changes came into effect July 1. “COVID-19 has exposed long-standing vulnerabilities in our financial markets, and we must act now to protect the economic futures of Canadians,” says Evan Siddall, CMHC’s President and CEO, of the changed eligibility rules for borrowers requiring mortgage insurance.

Changes in Pricing Could Lead to New Opportunities

Rising home prices are believed to be a result of limited inventory and more competitive/multiple offers seen through May and June as the market began to recover. Despite this initial rise, lower valuations may come into play as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, and as we experience a potential second wave.

The Vancouver Island Market Moving Forward

The Real Estate market on Vancouver Island is a mixed bag and it remains to be seen how it will fare long-term, particularly after Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and other government assistance programs wind down during the next few months. The CERB benefit, for example, is available from March 15 to October 3, 2020 but can be applied for retroactively up until December 2, 2020. These programs have temporarily taken the pressure off to pay the mortgages and bills and even defer taxes Industry professionals believe it’s possible there may be a surge in sales as these programs phase out, forcing homeowners to list their properties.

A bit of good news: in the most recent market intelligence report by the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCCREA), it is “anticipated that while the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak will be deeply felt, the bounce-back will be faster than in previous recessions. As the protection measures are lifted, as we have already seen in parts of the Province, the pent-up demand will return to local markets with buyers keen to take advantage of low interest rates.” The long-term effects remain to be seen, but on the positive side, a combination of lower interest rates, increased inventory and a drop in valuation have the potential to create an ideal buyer’s market and faster sales.

 

The Numbers:

  • In April 2020, sales in the VREB dropped by 58.8 percent compared to April 2019
  • Condo sales are down 3.2% with 209 units sold in June 2020- believed to be at least partly a result of rising Strata insurance costs.
  • Single family home sales are up 16.8% with 460 homes sold in June 2020
  • Sales in the VREB region were up in June at 808 properties sold, compared to 740 properties sold in June 2019
  • There are currently 2,698 active listings on the VREB Multiple Listing Service (MLS) as of the end of June 2020

Full VREB Stats

 

As one of Victoria’s longest-standing appraisal firms, rely on our years of expertise if you are considering buying, selling, or re-financing. At D. Fritz Appraisals Inc. located in Victoria BC, our expert team understands that these are uncertain times and its of utmost importance to have the most accurate and comprehensive valuations possible. To get the full picture of the value of your property, contact us today.

Purchasing an Income Property

Appraising Your Home to Access Capital for Purchasing an Income Property

How to get the best appraised value possible out of your current home to help you purchase an income property.

Own your own home and thinking about buying another? Excellent idea! Purchasing a secondary property to use as an income property or rental property is a smart investment and is often more possible than you’d think, especially if you have capital or home equity building up in your existing property. A local appraisal company working with a mortgage broker local to Victoria BC, can help you find out if you have enough capital or home equity in your existing property to qualify for a mortgage refinance so you can purchase another property.

Using your existing home’s equity, or increased value, to purchase an income property is something financial advisor and mortgage brokers advise all the time in order to help homeowners get ahead and secure financial freedom into their retirement years. With an income property, you’re allowing tenants to pay down your mortgage for you, and once it’s paid off, you have a property that has increased in value that you can either sell, pass on to your grown children, or downsize into and enjoy yourself.

Owning more than one property is made easy with a simple refinance of your existing mortgage. Mortgage refinancing involves having your existing mortgage re-evaluated so that you can borrow additional funds (access your home equity) from your lender to put towards a second property, or spend however else you’d like. This borrowing of extra money is made possible only if you have enough equity on your first home built up – and that is precisely where a real estate property appraisal company comes in!

Here are 5 things you should know about getting your home appraised to access your home equity.

1. An accurate appraisal of your property’s current market value is essential to the refinancing of a home.

If you’re like most homeowners, you are likely already somewhat aware of your home’s value in the current market. After all, you get annual assessments from BC Assessment, and you may see your neighbours selling their properties for top dollar, or receive letters from hopeful realtors informing you of how much your home is worth.

However, when it comes to something as important as refinancing, you want to make sure your home’s indeed got enough equity to refinance. A property appraisal company can confirm what you already know to be true, and in many cases delight you with an even higher number than you or your lender were thinking possible.

Remember, the cost for a property appraisal is a flat fee – it is NOT calculated as a percentage of your home’s appraised value.

2. The higher your home is appraised for, the more money you can borrow for your income property.

When refinancing, homeowners can borrow up to 80% of their home’s appraised value, minus the amount that is left still owing on their mortgage. For example, if your home’s appraised value is $500,000 and you have $125,000 still owing on the mortgage, you can apply for a refinancing amount up to $275,000. (80% of $500,000 is $400,000, minus the $125,000 still owing). This is $275,000 you can put towards your income property.

3. A home appraisal company comes to see your home in person, which provides a more accurate appraisal for your lender.

Depending on the property, some lenders can tell when a homeowner has equity or not, without even having to step foot on the property. They use an automated system that computes enough of an appraisal for them to deem that you have equity you can access during a mortgage refinance.

However, if you’re looking for a more on the nose appraisal, an on-site visit by a certified real estate property appraisal company is recommended and make a difference of tens of thousands of dollars in your appraisal, and therefore how much capital you can access for your desired income property.

See: Home Appraisals vs Online Home Value Calculators

4. There are several things you can do around your existing property to better your chances of a high appraisal.

Again, the more your home is deemed to be worth, the more capital you’ll be able to access to purchase a second property. To get the highest appraised value possible, you might have to work with your appraiser a little bit to make sure they have all the details they need to complete a fair assessment. For example, be sure to point out any renovations, additions, or value-added features to the home. Pointing out these items to the appraiser should be done in addition to Doing These 8 Things to Increase Your Home’s Appraised Value.

5. When you receive an appraisal that was much higher than you expected, you don’t have to borrow the maximum 80%.

As mentioned above, you can borrow up to 80% of your home’s equity to put towards your rental property, but that doesn’t mean you have to take the full 80%. It’s up to you when it comes to what amount to borrow. Take only what you need!

On a similar note, you don’t have to spend the borrowed money right away. When you access your capital and your refinancing is completed successfully, you’ll receive a cheque with the amount of money you’ve decided to borrow, which can be put into a savings account until you are ready to buy that perfect investment property. So, there’s no need to rush into anything, but it can be a nice comfort in knowing you have the highest amount possible ready to go when needed – achieved through a top-notch property appraisal.

Contact D. Fritz Appraisals at 250-413-7319 to book your next appraisal in Victoria, BC. We offer the fastest turnaround time in the region and can often deliver an appraisal within 24 hours. specialize in real estate appraisals for all situations, such mortgage refinancing, new construction, division of assets, and estates.

 

choosing the right real estate appraisal company

Get to Know your Home Appraisal Company

What to Look for in a Home Appraisal Company

Looking for a Home Appraisal Company in Victoria, BC? Here’s a Quick Guide to Help You Decide Who to Hire

If you own your own home, there are four main reasons why you might be looking to hire a property appraisal company instead of going through the banks:

  • you are planning on selling your property and want to know how much it’s worth;choosing the right real estate appraisal company
  • you are looking into refinancing your home and want an idea of its current value;
  • you need to start dividing assets amongst family members or a former spouse; or
  • you want a second opinion to compare with what a previous company gave you.

In any of these situations, a property appraisal company can help, and it will be up to you to hire the right company for the job. (This is unlike when you’re buying a home and paying for a property appraisal to satisfy the bank lending you your mortgage – in this case the bank has a list of companies they work with).

So, when it’s up to you, how do you know what property appraisal company to hire? Start with our quick guide to choosing a home appraisal company. Here are some of the key things to look for:

Knowledge of Your Property Type

Before anything else, be sure you’re only considering real estate appraisal companies that specialize in your property type. Some companies specialize in commercial buildings, while others specialize strictly in residential properties.

Depending on where you live, there may be companies that further specialize in condos or heritage buildings over detached homes, so double-check you’re looking at companies that can meet your needs in this regard.

For example, if you are looking for an appraisal on two acres of farmland, someone specializing in Victoria’s downtown core might not be a good fit. If you are planning to list a three-bedroom house with a suite in Oak Bay, look for appraisal companies with expertise in that kind of property.

Knowledge of Your Neighbourhood

Confirm the appraiser’s knowledge of your specific neighbourhood. The appraisal company you hire should have a complete understanding of the local region, including its facilities, amenities, property types, and recent home sales and prices.

They should know about potential rezoning and redevelopment set to take place in the neighbourhood, as well as any future investments taking place or ongoing efforts to make the neighbourhood even more desirable.

Is the neighbourhood set to densify in the next 10 years? Is a major transportation upgrade destined to arrive? Are new schools and hospitals being built nearby? These are all things a knowledgeable property appraiser will be able to tell you, and factor into their appraisal report.

Longevity in the Industry

A good indicator of whether a company has some or all of the attributes listed above is how long they have been in the industry for. A company with decades of experience speaks to their reputation and knowledge of the market. D. Fritz Appraisals is one of Victoria’s longest standing appraisal firms, with more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of the real estate industry in Victoria, BC. We would be happy to show you how we got there!

Word of Mouth Recommendations

If your neighbours, colleagues, friends, or family have recently gone through the home appraisal process, ask them who they used and if they would recommend their services.

Online Reviews

Likewise, use things like online reviews to help you decide on which company will be best at meeting your home appraisal needs. Online reviews often highlight things like the company’s level of customer service and timeliness of correspondence – two major factors when timing is of the essence in the real estate game.

Credentials & Education

Ask an appraisal company about their staff’s education, certifications, and amount of insurance liability. Look for a company whose appraisers are certified with the Appraisal Institute of Canada (AIC) and professionally insured for liability according to the Canadian Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (CUSPAP).

Level of Experience

Ideally the property appraiser you hire will have extensive industry experience, having worked as a mortgage broker, real estate agent, or otherwise in the past. It’s encouraged to evaluate the appraiser’s experience level and ask them for a short biography (often provided on the company’s website in the About Us section) and a list of two or three references (testimonials) from current or previous clients.

Level of Support

Confirm with the appraisal company what is included in their services, so you know exactly what you are paying for in the final report. If you have questions about the appraisal process along the way, and care to ask the appraiser for tips on how to improve the valuation, find out beforehand if this level of service is to be expected. Also make sure a copy of their report is included in the services you are paying for! This is especially important if this is your first time undergoing the process of having your property assessed.

Methodologies Used

Once you’re satisfied with all the above, the last step is asking the appraiser about their appraisal methodology. Find out what steps they take to determine the value of your home. Most appraisers start with their in-house database of recent sales and market trends, checking to see if prices are rising or falling. Next they supplement that data with data from the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), and then do a site visit of the property.

Up Next: Home Inspections vs. Home Appraisals

The property appraisers at D. Fritz Appraisals would be happy to provide you with more details on our real estate appraisal services in the Victoria region of Vancouver Island. Contact us today to learn more. We specialize in real estate appraisals for all situations, such mortgage refinancing, new construction, division of assets, and estates.

 

 

Home Appraisals - onsite vs online

Home Appraisals vs Online Home Value Calculators

Home Appraisals and Online Home Value Estimates Are NOT the Same Thing

On-site vs. Online: Proper Home Appraisals Need to be Done in Person

With so many types of transactions solely being handled online these days, it’s tempting to want to complete your required home appraisals entirely online and leave it at that. Online home value estimates, however, are not a substitute for a house appraisal carried out by a licensed real estate appraiser.

Online home value estimators can sometimes come close to providing the right answers, but they will never completely beat out the accuracy of an on-site visit by a professional. Nothing can beat the human touch when it comes to home appraisals! The following blog post explores why this is.

What is a Home Appraisal?Home Appraisals - onsite vs online

A home or house appraisal is a third-party report written by a professional appraiser who visits the property and does market research to analyze how much the house is worth in today’s market. An appraisal report informs homeowners, home buyers, and mortgage lenders on the market value of the home.

What is an Online Home Value Estimator?

An online home value estimator is a website or online tool that gives you a rough idea of what your home is worth, based on things like its address, square footage, lot size, and age. There are several competing websites and online platforms and tools offering home value estimators or home value estimating services. Sometimes these online services are referred to more formally as Automated Valuation Models (AVMs), or more casually, home value calculators.

There are online home value estimation tools for homeowners, realtors, and also for banks. While there are free online tools available to homeowners, the Realtors Property Resource is only available to real estate agents. Furthermore, some B2B home valuation services require a subscription, making them suitable for financial institutions and other companies who have recently started providing home estimates to accompany their other financial services.

Each of these tools, however, are likely to provide slightly varying results making them difficult to rely on for any definitive answers.

There are websites that provide home value estimations just by searching an address, while others may provide an estimate only upon request. The most basic ones are featured front row centre on real estate agent and mortgage broker websites. They start by simply asking you “What is your home worth?” or invite you to “Find out how much your house is worth.”

To use the tool, you simply enter your address, and then a few other property details, such as the age and type of property you have, how many bedrooms and bathrooms, and how big the lot size is.  Many of the tools ask you for your contact details or ask you to create an account so they can follow up with you. These free online calculators are essentially marketing tools but can provide a nice starting point for homeowners just starting to think about listing.

How Online Home Value Estimators Work

Online home value estimators provide estimated values for properties based on algorithms and calculations using different sets of property data, taken from MLS and BC Assessment, for example. They look for patterns and relationships between stored property values and the information you have input. These tools often look at past property tax records, what nearby homes have sold for recently, and the average price per square foot in the area.

Home value estimators are limited in what they can estimate, relying solely on the user’s answers to a handful of generic questions. They may or may not be able to calculate the desirability of the city the properties are located in. As such, they should not be considered as a substitute for formal home appraisals. This is because they are incapable of carrying out an up-to-the-minute comparative market analysis on your property, nor do they have intimate, in-depth knowledge of your local area like a local real estate appraiser would have.

Limitations of Home Value Estimators

Home value estimators can give you a rough estimate of what your home is worth, but they cannot account for things like:

  • unique features of a home
  • recent repairs or renovations
  • add-ons or upgrades
  • local markets
  • neighbourhood charm
  • nearby attractions and amenities
  • future amenities
  • quality of the views
  • how well-cared for the home is

In contrast, a licenced property appraisal professional looks at all of those things and more to deliver a thorough, trustworthy and confidential appraisal.

The Takeaway

As technologies get better and better and more data becomes available, the number of companies offering online home value estimates may grow. As it stands, although online home valuation calculators are not thorough or robust enough to replace a human appraiser, they are still commonly used to get both high and low ratio mortgages approved.

A good example of this is CMHC’s auto valuation tool called Emili. Described by the CMHC as “a groundbreaking on-line mortgage loan insurance [decision-making] system,” Emili is essentially a database of properties that uses different factors as way of determining what a house is worth.
Most of these online estimators will highlight the importance of meeting with a real estate professional or home appraiser to receive an in-depth, in-person appraisal of the property that factors in local markets.

A Homeowner’s Next Steps

If you require a general sense of how much your home is worth, an online home value estimator may be a good place to start as they are free and fast.  Some realtors, financial institutions, and professional property appraisers do use sophisticated versions of them as a starting point before doing an on-site appraisal.

After you have checked your home’s value online, consider meeting with a real estate agent to see what they would list your house for. If the numbers are aligned, that’s a good thing! But if the numbers are wildly off, a professional home appraiser can help.

If you receive a home appraisal that is a lot different than the amount an online value home estimator provided you, do not be alarmed. It’s common for these numbers to be different, and when they are, we recommend trusting the person who looked at your property in person. Artificial Intelligence cannot yet beat human input when it comes to home appraisals!

Contact D. Fritz Appraisals today to book your next appraisal in Victoria, BC. We specialize in real estate appraisals for all situations, such as mortgage refinancing, new construction, division of assets, and estates.

Home Inspection vs Home Appraisal

Home Inspections vs Home Appraisals

What’s the Difference Between a Home Inspection and a Home Appraisal?

If you’re in the market for a new home, the terms “home appraisal” and “home inspection” are more than likely to come up at some point as you zero in on a property you want to buy. Upon acceptance of your offer, the next steps are usually:

  • home inspection – a voluntary third-party service ordered by the buyer, and
  • home appraisal – an often mandatory step the buyer’s lender insists on.difference between home appraisal and home inspection

A home appraisal and a home inspection are two important steps in many real estate transactions, and for new buyers, there can sometimes be confusion over the two terms. An appraiser and a home inspector are two different service providers, who both happen to be looking at the house you are thinking of buying, but for different reasons. Understanding the differences between an appraisal and an inspection will help you understand when you might need one or the other – or both – before you buy your first home.

Let’s explore the similarities and differences between a home inspection and a home appraisal.

What Is a Home Appraisal?

Sometimes referred to as a property appraisal or a real estate appraisal, a home or house appraisal is a third-party report written by a professional appraiser that is meant to inform you and your mortgage lender on the monetary value of the property you are looking at buying.

Appraisals help make sure all parties in a real estate transaction get a current, accurate, and fair value for the property. In many cases, a mortgage lender assigns a home appraiser to go and view the property and generate a report. The appraiser confirms with the bank that the amount of money being loaned out is fitting, so the bank doesn’t lose in the case of foreclosure.

Like us here at D. Fritz Appraisals in Victoria BC, home appraisers check the overall condition of the home and compare it against the prices of recently sold and currently listed homes in the neighborhood to determine a value for the property. As professional appraisers, we also look at things like square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, any obvious property damage, quality of the views, and the working order of major systems and structures as well.

Appraisers also factor in the neighbourhood, such as nearby school zones, local crime rates, the lot size, proximity to amenities, and any up and coming construction that might increase the value of the existing property.

Read More: 8 Ways to Increase the Value of Your Home

Once our appraisal is complete, a report is generated. Real estate appraisal documents are legal, confidential documents that are only released to the original requestor of the appraisal report as well as other parties with the original requestor’s permission.

What Is a Home Inspection?

During a home inspection, a home inspector inspects the property to report on any issues that could spell trouble for the buyer down the road, such as a cracked foundation, leaking roof, mold and water damage, evidence of a pest infestation, building code violations, and poorly installed plumbing and electrical equipment, for example.

A house inspector does not report on how much they think a home is worth on the market in its current condition. While a home appraiser also looks at the home’s physical condition, the inspector delves a little deeper than an appraiser, peaking behind the walls and in the crawl space and attic, for instance, to report on any costly repairs that might be needed in the future.

What do home appraisals and inspections have in common?

Appraisals and inspections share many similarities. For example:

  • They are both provided by a third-party, non-biased, professional agency.
  • They both involve a professional visiting and analyzing the condition of the property.
  • They both happen prior to the sale of a home and are often both added as subjects on a contract.
  • They both result in detailed reports highlighting the property’s condition, functionality, and integrity.
  • They both benefit the buyer primarily during the closing of their desired property.
  • They both require the seller to give them permission to enter the premises.

Both services also give a buyer negotiating power. If a contract of purchase includes a subject of sale based on the results of a home inspection, for example, a buyer can back out of the deal or negotiate a better price. Likewise, in the case of an appraiser appraising the property for less than expected, the lender may not loan the necessary funding, and the buyer can go back to the seller with this information. If there was a subject to financing, the seller may choose to work with the buyer by lowering the price.

How are home appraisals and home inspections different?

Despite having many similarities, appraisals and inspections have some key differences:

  • An appraiser examines the home as well as the values of other properties that have recently been sold in the area. In contrast, an inspector only looks at the property in question.
  • A buyer typically orders a home inspection at their discretion, whereas a home appraisal is usually mandated by their lender (mortgage provider).
  • An appraiser determines the value of the real estate, whereas an inspector reports on the overall condition of the home.
  • A home inspector stays on site for longer than an appraiser, searching every nook and cranny. In contrast, an appraiser is doing a simple walkthrough and combining their findings with information they gather off-site.

Do You Need both an Appraisal and a Home Inspection?

As a buyer, booking a home inspection is entirely up to you. It’s not unlike having a used car checked out by an auto mechanic before you buy it. A home inspection can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.  A home appraisal, on the other hand, is almost always required if you are looking to secure financing from a mortgage lender.

However, a property appraisal isn’t just for your lender’s peace of mind. It can also help you answer the question: Is the property really worth as much as the seller is saying it’s worth? Scheduling a home inspection on top of the home appraisal your lending institution will likely require you to get is often the most recommended course of action, especially if the property you are looking at is older, is no longer under a developer’s warranty, or is in a neighbourhood you are unfamiliar with.

Remember:

  • a home inspector cannot tell you what the home is worth. A home inspection report cannot be used to calculate a home’s value.
  • a home appraiser cannot speak to the level of repairs the home will need now or in the future. In other words, a highly appraised property value does not mean the property is in good shape underneath the finishings.

By ordering both processes, you get a complete picture of the property, without having to go solely on the word of the seller and their realtor. If you’re buying your first new home, we at D. Fritz Appraisals recommend both an inspection and an appraisal be done on the property for your total peace of mind before you buy.

To learn more about the appraisal process and what appraisers look for when we visit your property, contact D. Fritz Appraisals – your property appraisal experts in Victoria, BC, servicing Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

landscaping improves the value of your home

8 Ways to Increase the Value of Your Home

Doing These Eight Things Will Help Increase Your Home’s Appraised Value

Looking for ways to increase the appraised value of your home? There are many things you can do to boost its overall value.  The biggest things determining the value of your home are its location, its size, and the current market conditions. While these three factors are out of your control, there are still many things you can do to impress appraisers and list your house for top dollar.

Before you go spending thousands of dollars in renovations, however, make sure you follow this advice from the outset.

  • Create a Budget – Do your research and come up with a realistic budget and do your best to play within it. You need to be careful that what you spend on renovations is less than the potential increase in value of your house.
  • Keep Careful Records – Every trip to the hardware store adds up, so write everything down, keep receipts, and make note of any warranties you get. This information will help you impress the appraiser as well as prospective buyers.

Now that you’ve got the “bookkeeping” out of the way, here are 8 things you can do to increase the value of your home.landscaping improves the value of your home

    1. Consult pros along the way – Ask your real estate agent, your contractor, or even the owner of the paint store for advice along the way. It’s often free!
    2. Book a Home Appraisal – Hiring an accredited appraiser at the beginning can help you understand what your home is worth in its current condition. It can also help you qualify for a home equity line of credit for larger projects.
    3. Consider Your Neighbourhood – Check to see the listing prices of homes in your neighbourhood before getting too deep into a renovation. The neighbourhood will dictate the upper limits of what you can realistically expect to sell your house for. This ultimately affects how much money you should invest in improvements.  For example, fancy fixtures might be over the top and quickly eat up the budget without adding any value to your listing price. You might not get back the cost of those $1,000 lighting fixtures. Likewise, a prospective buyer won’t be willing to overpay for your property just because it has a sauna.
    4. Enhance Your Curb Appeal – A house that looks well taken care of from the outside can impress appraisers and prospective buyers alike. Enhancing your home’s curb appeal includes things like:
      Cleaning the roof: Get rid of that overgrown moss. For most houses, it’s not a charming look.
      Repairing the roof: Attend to roof repairs. A roof in poor condition will be flagged during a home inspection, allowing people to low ball or withdraw their offers.
      Fixing the fence: Fix your fence if it needs fixing but note that adding a fence where there wasn’t one there before might cost a lot without adding value.
      Power wash: A thorough power wash can quickly revive patios, driveways, and paths.
      Lawns: Keep the grass green and trim.
      Landscaping: Weed the garden, trim the hedges, and check with your municipality about removing hazardous looking trees.
    5. Fix the Small Details – Inside, a lot of small fixes can add value. Things like leaking faucets, noisy bathroom fans, cracked windows, holes in the walls, burned out lightbulbs, carpet stains, and aging or outdated electrical fixtures can make your home seem like it needs a lot of work, thereby reducing its value. So, take care of these easy fixes.
    6. Fresh Coat of Paint – A freshly painted house will clean and brighten everything up. Pick neutral colours, shop around for reliable painting companies, and be amazed at how quickly your value has increased.
    7. Make It a Smart Home – Adding a few “smart” features to your home can add a touch of modern tech and appeal, without costing a lot. Consider installing Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats, doorbells and other gadgets to increase appeal.
    8. Kitchens & Bathrooms – In many cases, a kitchen or bathroom reno can increase the value of your home. But proceed with caution because these types of projects can end up costing more money than what they add to your home’s selling price.

Every home is different. A kitchen renovation might make sense in one home, whereas in another house, adding a second bathroom instead of replacing the kitchen might make more sense.

Sometimes you can avoid going the whole nine yards and can get away with just swapping out the appliances and adding a fresh countertop. Make kitchen and bathroom renovation decisions wisely and consult an expert before you begin ripping out cupboards and bathtubs.

To learn more about the appraisal process and what appraisers look for when they visit your property, contact D. Fritz Appraisals – your Victoria, BC property appraisal experts servicing Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.