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#107-30 Cavan Street
Nanaimo, BC, V9R 6K3
Vancouver Island


As professional evaluators of real estate, appraisers have ongoing insight into the real estate market. The following advice from senior appraiser Jim Saunders answers the questions he hears most often from homeowners.

Q: What will increase the appraised value of my home?

A: Basic, ongoing maintenance of the entire property is the first step. If you are doing renovations, modernizing the kitchen and bathroom yield the greatest return. Painting and cleaning up are low-cost ways to improve a property.

Q: Are appraisals expensive?

A: Given the financial leverage you can obtain from a professional appraisal of your property, the cost is reasonable, especially when compared to other professional services. For most residential appraisals, Benson Appraisal fees range from $250 to $350, depending on the area, property involved, and individual appraiser.

Q: Property prices on Vancouver Island have increased significantly over the past five years. Do you think the Vancouver Island real estate market is going to crash?

A: No one can predict financial trends with absolute certainty. However, given the popularity of Vancouver Island as a residential destination, we anticipate a strong market to continue although not with the dramatic price increases of the past five years. We note that the construction industry is still flourishing, which usually indicates a strong market for the next nine months. There was a slight correction of about 10 per cent in prices in late 2006, but since then prices have continued to increase. An investment in Vancouver Island real estate is still a solid investment.

Q: I notice you handle appraisals for foreclosures. Has there been an increase in foreclosures similar to that now occurring in the United States?

A: No. Canadian lending laws and Canadian mortgages are handled differently than mortgages in the United States. In Canada, lenders cannot issue a mortgage that requires a borrower to pay more than 30% of income on the mortgage and taxes. Although this means it is more difficult for Canadians to quality for a mortgage, there are far fewer homeowners who default on payments because they cannot afford their mortgages.

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