Calgary Realtor providing a Real Estate home appraisal

Home Appraisal Calgary | Real Estate Property Assessment

Determining property value is of key importance when preparing to sell your home. Priced correctly, you will sell your house quickly and for the largest amount of money.

Many people make the mistake of estimating their home’s value based on the list prices of a similar homes in the area or by looking at their city assessments. Unfortunately listing too high or too low is a mistake that could ultimately cost you thousands of dollars so it's important you understand the problems with those methods and get it right before you list.

Paid Home Appraisal vs. Free Home Appraisal

First off, let us state up front, our home appraisals (technically called a "Comparative Market Analysis" or "CMA") are always free. Regarless of the name used, "property appraisal", "home appraisal", "market assessment", "market evaluation", etc.. if it's being done by a REALTOR®, it's almost certainly a "CMA" and represents what you can expect the property to sell for based on what similar homes are selling for. It's not a legal document.

Most Realtors will provide a home appraisal, or "CMA" free of charge, however, the level of training and experience varies greatly between Realtors and if you obtain market value assessments from 3 different Realtors there’s a good chance you’ll get 3 different values. The training most Realtors get on property appraisal is a few chapters in the initial licensing course. There are optional courses that go into much more detail. Be sure any Realtor you use for property appraisal has taken these courses. One good way to ensure a Realtor has taken this important extra training is to ensure they have a "Broker" or "Associate Broker" license (not just "Associate") as an advanced Property Appraisal course is required to obtain that license. Every Realtor's class of license should be printed on their business cards and if it isn't you can look up their licence class here.

Feel free to contact us for an accurate and free home appraisal performed by our Broker.

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City Property Assessments vs. Home Appraisal

The City of Calgary and many other municipalities provide property assessments loosely based on market value. It is a fair way to determine taxes as all assessments are based on a common set of criteria at a set point in time. For any other purpose, however (such as pricing your house for sale), the city assessments are completely useless because they are based on data gathered up to a year or more in the past. To make matters worse, the home value data is collected on a different date from the land value data (6 months apart!). Anyone looking for an idea of current value of the property (land + home) must never use city property assessments.

Only an independent property appraisal will look at current data and take into account a more detailed picture of the features and quality of the home. Appraisals can come in many forms and for different purposes (insurance replacement value, investment value, resale value, etc..) and it is important you enlist the correct type of property appraiser for the correct situation. When selling a home, a free evaluation by a Realtor with extra training in property appraisal is usually the best option.

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Market Value vs. List Price

Once you have a good idea as to the market value of your home, you should list your home between 1% and 5% above this value depending on the level of competition in the market (in an "average" market, list no more than 3% above value). The simple laws of supply and demand work in Real Estate as they do in everything else. If there are lots of other homes for sale in the area or if prices are falling, stick close to the 1%. If there is an identical house for sale, be sure you’re priced less than they are.

Be wary of the strategy of pricing high at first "just in case" and then bringing the price down if there is no sale after awhile. A property that has been on the market for too long tends to get stigmatized as buyers wonder what’s wrong with it?. This can often lead to lower offers than you would have received at the same price while it was a new listing. To get the most money for your property, price it right the first time! To be sure you are listing it at the right price, you must have confidence in the Realtor's ability to perform property appraisals correctly. Insist on a Realtor with advanced property appraisal training.

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