How do you know what your property in Metro Vancouver is worth?

Posted on January 3rd, 2010

If you are selling your home, you want to attract buyers and you want to ensure you receive the best possible price. How do you and your REALTOR® establish your home’s value? To find out, we asked Andrew Peck, the general manager of Royal Pacific Realty.

Home sellers often look to their Property Assessment Notice, which is sent to home owners each year in early January, explains Peck.

Sellers also look to their Royal Pacific REALTOR® to provide an estimate of value based on comparable recent sales and current homes for sale in their neighbourhood.

There is often a difference between the assessment value and the actual value determined by your Royal Pacific REALTOR®, notes Peck.

What accounts for this difference? Peck told us the following:

  • BC Assessment (BCA), a government Crown Corporation, sends every property owner a Property Assessment Notice each January.  The notice contains BCA’s estimate of the market value of the property as of the previous July 1st. The purpose of the information is to create the Assessment Roll, which is used by local governments to levy property taxes.
  • BCA has a database of 1.7 million properties. When a new property is created through zoning or construction, or an existing property changes, a BCA appraiser visits the site and looks at the lot size, the structure and other factors. To update values, BCA appraisers don’t visit every property annually. Instead they use a mass appraisal system. They calculate values by evaluating prices for homes sold in each neighbourhood around July 1st and they then apply the information to get an average price. BCA also uses a broad range of variables that add up to 16 screens of data for each property.

Peck explains that a Royal Pacific REALTOR® examines:

  • the most recent comparable data for homes sold in a neighbourhood;
  • the exterior and interior of a property in detail, noting alterations and major renovations, such as new kitchens or bathrooms that affect the value of a home.

A Royal Pacific REALTOR® also takes into account view lines, architectural styles and intangibles such as whether the neighbourhood is up and coming – being gentrified and becoming popular.

“When a new property is created through zoning, construction or changes to an existing property, a BCA appraiser visits the site and looks at the lot size, the structure and other factors,” says Peck.

“Where every lot and every home on the street is generally the same, both BC Assessment’s value and a REALTOR®’S value will be similar,” explains Peck. “Differences will be more likely to occur in neighbourhoods where every lot on every street is different, every home’s architecture is unique and every view is distinct.”