- Elford Group
- Real Estate Appraisal
- Environmental Assessment
- Real Estate Consulting
Why choose the Elford Group?
The Elford Group of companies provides intelligence to individuals and organizations involved in real estate transactions, delivering a balanced mix of technical expertise, sound judgment and wise counsel that comes from years of experience.
Elford Appraisal understands the most accurate and realistic valuation of a property is critical to any successful real estate transfer. We provide thorough appraisals on residential, commercial, agricultural and recreational properties and have been servicing clientele ranging from private individuals to international banking firms since 1985.
Unlike a real estate sales agent, an appraiser has no vested interest in what value the property sells for. To conclude with a reliable valuation, current market conditions, sales of comparable properties within close proximity and similar attributes are all taken into consideration.
Real Estate is a valuable commodity and there cannot be enough emphasis placed on the need to attain the most accurate and unbiased valuation of properties. Whether buying, selling or obtaining financing on existing property you need the most reliable information available.
Reasons to choose us:
- The Elford Group of companies deliver a balanced mix of technical expertise, sound judgment and the wise counsel that comes with years of experience.
- Elford Appraisal, Environmental & Consulting Services Ltd. (Elford Group) has been appraising all manner of real estate throughout southern Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia since 1985.
- The Elford Group of appraisers are highly educated professionals and all are members of the Alberta, Canadian Appraisal Institute of Canada and Real Estate Council of Alberta.
- The Elford Group is very knowledgeable in the South Alberta market place.
- Real Estate transactions are made easier and more transparent with the able assistance of the Elford Group.
- As the independent eyes of the client, The Elford Group is committed to providing accurate, unbiased and highly detailed appraisals in a timely and efficient manner.
How long has Elford Group been in business and what are the qualifications of the appraisers?
Elford Appraisal, Environmental & Consulting Services Ltd. has been completing appraisals within the City of Calgary and Municipal Districts in southern Alberta for over 30 years. Our senior appraiser has extensive knowledge of all areas in southern Alberta and has been appraising for 30+ years. For more information on the qualifications of our appraisers please refer to our Meet the Team page.
What is an Appraisal?
A Real Estate Appraisal can best be described as the process of determining a property’s worth. It is described in appraisal text books as “a supportable and defensible estimate of value.” “Value is determined by the market and estimated by the appraiser.” The desired outcome of an appraisal is an unbiased estimate of a property’s value. Performing an appraisal requires the completion of a series of predetermined steps, each designed to glean the most detailed information available regarding the subject property.
The appraisal does not create value; rather, the appraisal interprets the market to arrive at the most accurate value estimate possible. Data collected by the appraiser is compiled, giving due consideration to the factors specific to the property in question and used to calculate the value of the property.
Why an Appraisal?
An appraisal may be required for the following reasons:
- In settling an estate, tax authorities, beneficiaries, or trust facilities may require an appraisal of property to establish the value of an estate. The survivors often require a value estimate that allows them to plan for any possible tax liability and future disbursal of an estate.
- Appraisals are regularly used, and are very helpful, in establishing replacement cost for insurance purposes, to assist property insurance agents in setting realistic premiums for specific properties.
- An appraisal is critical in determining a fair level of compensation in the event of the condemnation or expropriation of a specific property. An appraiser can serve as an expert witness in an appeal or other related hearing.
- An appraisal may be required to establish Historical or V-Day value for the Canada Revenue Agency.
- An appraisal can be very useful in contesting a tax assessment that is considered incorrect by the land owner. Mass appraisal tax assessments may not consider certain factors regarding a specific property, and these factors can have significant impact upon assessments.
- An appraisal can often be critical in determining a selling or asking price on a specific property. In rising or falling markets fluctuations may affect some properties more than others.
- Most financial institutions require an appraisal as a condition of financing.
- As well, you may require an appraisal for legal matters, whether it be for matrimonial property settlement, foreclosure, bankruptcy, etc.
Why would a person require a property appraisal?
Generally, to establish a sale price for divorce or legal purposes; foreclosure / bankruptcy proceedings; mortgage / financing; or for estate planning / probate.
What is the difference between a realtor valuation and an appraisal completed by a qualified appraiser?
A property appraisal will give you a market value estimated of your property based on an intensive analysis of the local real estate market. A realtor will provide an opinion of value to establish an appropriate listing price to market your property. Listing prices and market values usually differ. The appraiser’s report can be used in court proceedings as well as having the appraiser appear as an expert witness if necessary.
What does an appraiser provide?
The appraiser provides a professional, unbiased opinion of market value to be used in making a real estate / legal decision. Appraisers present their formal analysis in the appraisal report.
What is included in the appraisal?
The report includes the client or other intended user; the purpose of the assignment; neighbourhood description; land and building description (size; style; age and condition); description of interior and exterior; and any of, or a combination of, the three Approaches to Value to establish the market value, either current, prospectively or retrospectively.
The report must include a street map showing the appraised property and comparable sales used; an explanation of how the square footage was calculated; photographs of the home's front, back and street scene; front exterior photographs of each comparable property used; and any other information, such as market sales data, public land records and public tax records, that the appraiser uses to determine the property's fair market value.
Where does the appraiser obtain the information that concludes on an estimate of value?
General data is gathered from a number of sources. Multiple listing services (MLS) provides data on recently sold homes that may be utilized to compare to the subject property. Tax and assessment records; land titles information as well as other public documents verify actual sale prices in the market. Specific data is gathered from the home itself. Location, condition, amenities, size and other detailed data is gathered by the appraiser during an on-site inspection of the property.
Do all Appraisers have the same qualifications?
The simple answer is no. There are many personal property appraisers who have not completed any professional education. It is important to ask the prospective appraiser what type of formal appraisal education training he or she has received. Obtaining a copy of the appraiser's professional profile or resume can help you evaluate the appraiser's credentials; the burden is on the consumer to evaluate an appraiser's qualifications.
What qualifies your staff to be appraisers?
As qualified appraisers we have formal education in appraisal theory, principles, procedures, ethics and law and all are up-to-date on the latest appraisal standards and practices and participate in continuing education. According to the Appraisal Institute of Canada, an association of professional real estate appraisers, a qualified appraiser should be licensed or certified and be familiar with the local area. Federal regulations state that the appraiser must be impartial and have no direct or indirect interest in the transaction.
What is the difference between a Residential Appraisal and a Home Inspection?
There is a substantial difference between these two reports. Appraisers attempt to look at a home the way a buyer would, taking into consideration any visual flaws that might discourage a purchase. They also will consider the quality of its neighbourhood and proximity to schools and other amenities. Our reports include only "readily observable items and surface observations." While we make sure there is running water and a functioning heating system, the testing of mechanical systems or making recommendations beyond repairs needed to address any observable health/safety deficiencies is beyond the purvey of the Appraiser. A “home inspection” is primarily intended to protect the prospective buyer from purchasing a home with structural defects and other major problems. The “residential appraisal” is meant to protect the lender from paying more than the house is worth. A home inspection is a visual inspection of the components and the structure of a home. It is normally conducted at the buyers request and expense once the seller has accepted the buyer’s conditional offer.
What does an Appraiser look for when establishing a property’s value?
The Appraiser looks at location; design; quality of construction and finish; age and condition; upgrades and extras that may have been added that would enhance the property; building and lot size; parking facilities; landscaping; neighbourhood and curb appeal.
What does an Appraiser look for during the inspection?
The appraiser must complete a visual inspection of the interior and exterior and note any conditions that adversely affect the property's value, such as needed repairs. The inspection generally begins on the exterior.
Electrical/Water Services: A visual inspection of electrical utilities is made from the street – noting whether the subject has overhead or underground electricity. As well if the subject has sanitary sewer or septic fields and municipal water or water well on site.
Exterior Structure: The Appraiser views the type of foundation; exterior siding; roof type and cover; driveway. As well, the type of construction such as standard built; custom designed; prefabricated; mobile home. Whether there is an attached or detached garage or on-street parking/rear parking stall. The quality and condition is noted along with photos taken to verify the condition.
Outbuildings: On an acreage or agricultural appraisal all outbuildings and services are noted.
Interior: The total number of rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms is made on the main living areas above ground and the basement area. A cursory inspection is carried out on the walls and ceilings; floor coverings; type of windows; plumbing and electrical fixtures and appliances. These are noted for age, condition and any defects.
Basement: The basement is inspected for any development; location of laundry facilities and mechanical components; as well as style such as standard full basement; partial basement; crawl space; no basement; or walkout basement. Any observed defects, such as cracked foundation or floor; dampness or evidence of flooding is noted.
Upgrades: Such as counters (granite/quartz/etc.); fireplace; air conditioning; alarm system; intercom; baseboard / forced air / in-floor heating or geo-thermal heating; interior fire sprinklers; solar panels, etc. Any renovations / remodeling / additions are noted.
Extras: In-door swimming pool/hot hub; elevators; wall features such as waterfalls; handi-capped ramps and lifts; decks; patios; verandahs; porticos; pergolas, etc.
Yard: Location is noted, such as: corner; cul-de-sac; quiet residential street; arterial route; backs onto lane; greenspace; wooded area; fronts or backs onto waterfront; views of downtown, river, mountains or ravines, etc. Both front and rear yards are inspected for size, condition and appearance. (In-ground swimming pool; under-ground sprinklers; gas-lines to BBQs; outdoor fireplaces; professional landscaping are generally considered extras).
As the Appraiser moves through the subject property photographs are taken from different angles of the exterior; garage and the interior of the residence, including basements and lofts. Notes are taken to form a visual description of the subject and is corroborated by the photos. Any visible defects that are observed by the Appraiser are then mentioned in the appraisal. The Appraiser will also search the Alberta Government Flood Hazard database to determine the exact location of the subject and whether or not it is located in the flood zone / flood way / flood fringe.
How does an Appraiser calculate a home’s value?
The appraisal value is influenced by recent sales of similar properties and by current market trends. The home’s amenities, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, floor plan functionality and square footage are key factors in assessing a home’s value.
There are three appraisal techniques used by appraisers. The Direct Comparison Approach, Cost Approach and Income Approach. Generally the option most used for residential property is an appraisal technique known as the “Direct Comparison Approach” (DCA).
With this approach to value, an appraiser draws the sales information from sources such as the Calgary Real Estate Board (MLS); city/town assessment and tax records; Alberta Land Titles; and Realtors. The appraiser will choose the most recent sales (also referred to as comparables) of the most similar homes that have sold within close proximity to the subject. Sales are usually dates within a 90-day marketing period; as the market fluctuates, older data is less accurate in establishing “Current Market Value”.
The sale prices on the chosen comparables are then given either positive or negative adjustments based on the features, characteristics and attributes of the subject property. Some adjustments would include, but are not limited to, location, age and condition, parking facilities, land and building size; bathroom count, basemen development, extras and upgrades on the comparable versus the subject property.
Once these adjustments are applied it creates a narrowed range of value for the subject and the appraiser will conclude on a value within the adjusted value range.
What homebuyers need to know?
When buying a home and you are under contract, the appraisal will be one of the first steps in the closing process. If the appraisal comes in at or above the contract price, the transaction proceeds as planned. If the appraisal comes in below the contract price, however, it can delay or derail the transaction.
The bank will not lend on any property.