Frequently Asked Questions

What is an appraisal?

An appraisal is an unbiased opinion of current market value provided by a trained, accredited professional. There are many reasons why you may need a professional appraisal of your property. Any decision regarding the value of real estate must be based upon an appraisal of some sort.

Reasons For An Appraisal

Here are just a few of the reasons for having your property professionally appraised:

  • To obtain the current value of a property you wish to buy, sell, or finance
  • Investment decisions
  • Application for a mortgage
  • Feasibility studies – completion value of a development
  • Preparing financial statements – capital gains taxation & estate planning
  • Disputing property tax assessments
  • Expert testimony in negotiation, arbitration or litigation
  • Establishing compensation in cases of expropriation
  • Ensuring adequate insurance coverage – verifying damage claims
What is the difference between an appraiser and a realtor?

Real Estate Appraisers will give you a market value estimate of your property based on an intensive analysis of the local real estate market and comparable sales that can be verified by public record.  A professional appraiser is an unbiased third party and will be more objective when valuing a home.  Typically banks/lenders, lawyers, and insurance companies will only use a formal appraisal. A realtor will provide an opinion of value (market analysis) to establish an appropriate listing price to market your property.  This data can rely on indefinite local market trends.  Listing prices and market values usually differ.

What is the difference between an appraiser and a home inspector?

A Real Estate Appraiser will inspect your home on the basis of size, rooms, general condition, etc., to form an overview of your property in order to compare it to similar properties sold in the area.  A home inspector will look at wiring, plumbing, roof, foundations, etc., to advise a home-buyer of the condition of those elements of the home but will not provide an opinion of value.

Who is the appraiser’s client?

The Client is not necessarily the one who pays for the report but rather the one ordering the appraisal report. Anyone wishing to obtain a copy of the appraisal report must contact the appraiser’s client. The appraiser can provide a copy of the report to a homeowner or a third party provided that the appraiser obtains his or her client’s permission in writing. Appraisers work on a confidential basis with their clients (known as client-appraiser relationship), in the same fashion as other professionals such as lawyers and accountants.  When a mortgage broker or lender requests an appraisal, they are the appraiser’s client, regardless of who pays the appraisal fee.  Under the AIC’s Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, any discussions on or disclosure of information contained in an appraisal report must be done with the written consent of the appraiser’s client. When a lending institution requires an appraisal report on a property, more commonly, they will engage an Appraisal Management Company (AMC) to act as an intermediary to facilitate the appraisal process on their behalf.  AMCs offer their clients a single point of contact for the management of the appraisal function and have a contractual relationship with both their lender clients and the local appraisal practitioner.  While there are a number of layers to the appraisal process, appraisers, AMCs and lending institutions are focused on making the process as seamless as possible to the consumer. For more information please connect to the Appraisal Institute of Canada’s website and read their consumer guides.

What can I expect when an appraiser comes to visit my property?

The appraiser will make a physical inspection of the property, which can take 30-40 minutes.  They will walk the outside of the property and take measurements of the home and outbuildings.  They are required to take pictures of the outside and inside of the home.  Some lenders require our appraisers to take pictures of every room in the house. The appraiser will take note of physical characteristic, interior/exterior finishes and systems (e.g. heating and cooling), quality of improvements and any deficiencies or required repairs.

How can I pay for my appraisal?

All residential appraisals must be paid for before the appraisal is released.  Payment and payment options should be discussed before an inspection is made. Payments are usually processed immediately after the inspection of the property.  Copies of invoices and receipts are emailed when the appraisal is completed.

Commercial appraisal fees should be discussed with the appraiser before the inspection is made.  Be aware there is often a deposit made for these types of appraisals and often the balance is to be paid at completion.  Credit accounts for long-time customers are available. Please speak to your appraiser or the administrative staff.


Payment Options



E-transfers are emailed to  In the security Question area we ask that you put in the Invoice number.  In the security Answer area we ask that you use payment (all small letters).

Q:        Invoice #, File #, Name
A:         payment



We take Visa or MasterCard over the phone, the CVV number (number on the back of the card) is required.  We ask that if this is a third party credit card that you have the person fill out a credit card authorization form.



Please note that all cheques must clear before the appraisal report will be provided.  This may take up to two weeks.



If you choose to pay with cash, please pay with exact change as our offices and appraisers do not carry change.  Ask the office staff for a total fee including taxes.


How much does an appraisal cost?

Residential appraisals within the communities of Cunningham & Rivard Appraisal offices (Victoria, Nanaimo, Duncan) that are single family properties within city limits and non-acreage are subject to a “base fee”.

Base fees are set for all properties accept those located in Sidney, Sooke, Deep Bay, Bowser, Dashwood, North Qualicum Beach, Horne Lake, Honeymoon Bay, Lake Cowichan, Youbou, Shawnigan Lake, Crofton, Chemainus, Ladysmith, Port Alberni, Ucluelet, Tofino and Gulf Islands (Gabriola Island, Protection Island, Salt Spring Island, Thetis Island, Pender Island, Mayne Island, Galiano Island, Valdes Island) where a fee increase is implemented.

All acreage properties and waterfront properties are subject to a fee increase due to further research and examination of the properties.  Ferry (BC Ferry Fare Guide) and mileage charges (0.60 per km) can also be applied to these areas.

Progress Inspections in “base fee” areas are $150.00.  All appraisals that require market rent are subject to an additional fee.  The first transmittal letter is free with $50 per letter thereafter.

Please be sure to check with office assistant or appraiser for a quote.

For all commercial appraisals a quote must be made by an appraiser to assess the individual needs of the client, the uniqueness of the property and time expected to complete the appraisal report.  All quotes are to be relayed and accepted in writing.

How long does it take to get an appraisal?
The time varies depending on how busy the appraisers are.  Residential appraisals take days and commercial appraisals take weeks.

Typically once authorization to proceed and payment is made a residential appraiser will be in contact within a few days.  Once the appraisal inspection has been completed, the report can be expected within 24-48 hours.  Unique properties will take longer to complete.

Commercial appraisals typically take 2-3 weeks for completion once approval and deposit (or full payment) is received.

Please confirm with the appraiser what your expectations are for the time frame of your appraisal report.  It is good practice to have your quote and timeframe expectations in writing.

Is the appraiser bound by a confidentiality agreement?
According to Canadian Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (CUSPAP), all appraisers are bound by a confidentiality agreement.  At Cunningham & Rivard, our professional appraisers and associates are all members of the Appraisal Institute of Canada and therefore adhere to all forms of confidentiality.

The Canadian Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (CUSPAP), first introduced in January 2001, respects the expanding role of the valuation professional within the Appraisal Institute of Canada. The Standards meet the sponsor criteria of the Appraisal Foundation in their international membership category, and endorse International Valuation Standards as an authority promoting worldwide acceptance of standards for property valuation. Four Standards have been developed:

  • Ethics Standard
  • Appraisal Standard
  • Review Standard
  • Consulting Standard


Rules provide minimum performance Standards for ethics, appraisal, review and consulting assignments.

Comments clarify, interpret, explain and elaborate on the Rules, and form an integral part of the Standards; for the purpose of these Standards, their application is compulsory.

Practice Notes offer advice, examples and resolution; their application is not compulsory.

Definitions form an integral part of the Standards; for the purpose of these Standards, their application is compulsory.

Cunningham & Rivard Appraisals Ltd. strictly abides by all rules and applications of the Canadian Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice.

What are the different approaches to value?/ How is value estimated?
Appraisal practice relies on an established body of knowledge, as well as on accepted technical approaches to estimating property value. An appraiser can use three basic methods of valuation to determine a property’s market value.

  • The Cost Approach estimates how much money it would take, at current material and labour costs, to replace your home or commercial property with an identical one. Accumulated depreciation is subtracted from that figure, and the estimated vacant land value is added.
  • The Direct Comparison Approach is also known as the Sales Comparison Approach, and is based on the selling prices of comparable properties. This method compares your property to others that have recently sold. When using this method, the appraiser must also analyze agreements of sale, listings, offers to purchase and other market factors to conclude a fair market value.
  • The Income Approach refers to how much income your property would produce if it were developed to its Highest and Best Use. The appraiser must consider the return on the property if it were leased as an apartment, retail store, or a warehouse for example. Operating expenses, taxes, insurance and maintenance costs must be analyzed. This approach is typically utilized for investment, commercial and industrial properties.


To arrive at a final estimate of value, appraisers will use one or all of these approaches. In specialized circumstances, for example when dealing with development land, other approaches may also be employed.

What do the appraisers designations mean?
Designated members or the Appraisal Institute of Canada are those who have completed AIC’s rigorous curriculum, experience and examination requirements to earn one of the following designations.  AIC designations are highly respected and recognized worldwide.

ACCREDITED APPRAISER CANADIAN INSTITUTE (AACI™): The AACI designation is granted to individuals who have completed the AACI program of studies and fulfilled all the professional requirements of the Appraisal Institute of Canada. AACI members are qualified to offer valuation and consulting services and expertise for all types of real property.

CANADIAN RESIDENTIAL APPRAISER (CRA™): The CRA designation is granted to individuals who have completed the CRA program of studies and fulfilled all the professional requirements of the Appraisal Institute of Canada. CRA members are qualified to offer valuation and consulting services and expertise for individual, undeveloped residential dwelling sites and dwellings containing not more than four self-contained family housing units.

P.App (Professional Appraiser) is used by Members with the CRA and AACI designation

Designated Members must adhere to AIC’s Canadian Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (CUSPAP) and undertake on-going professional development. In return, they enjoy the full support of the Institute and access to services, resources and intelligence that enables them to practice their profession with confidence.



Those who meet the education and admission requirements are eligible to become Candidate Members of the Appraisal Institute of Canada. Candidate Members of the Appraisal Institute of Canada (AIC) are individuals who are pursuing the rigorous AIC Program of Professional Studies to obtain an AACI or CRA professional designation. Candidate Members typically work actively in the profession as appraisers-in-training, within the limits defined by AIC’s Standards, policies and regulations. Candidate Members of AIC are accorded certain privileges, including the right to prepare and take limited responsibility for appraisal reports under the supervision of an AIC-Designated Member and as prescribed by the AIC’s Canadian Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (CUSPAP). Candidate Members participate in AIC’s Professional Liability Insurance program and can take on increasingly complex assignments as they gain expertise and knowledge, under the direction and mentorship of Designated Members.

I need market rent on my property, what is the process for this?

Market Rent can no longer be simply written on a line in the appraisal report or a single one page letter.  As of January 1, 2018 the Appraisal Institute of Canada made guidelines due to new Office of Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) regulations. The new guidelines state that where we are completing an appraisal with market value and including market rent the AIC Full Residential Appraisal Form should be completed and a Market Rent Addendum OR a qualitative narrative addendum should be included in order to comply with CUSPAP.  The market rent addendum provides a place to include a market analysis of rents for a subject property.  The report will require a rental data set (minimum three market rent comparables) so that the market rent value conclusion is supported with the appropriate data and analysis.  Cunningham & Rivard Appraisals are charging an additional fee for this service. If a stand-alone Market Rent Report is requested for an identifiable property (a property where a previous report has been done or available MLS listings) a ‘Drive By’ of the home is completed and all relevant sections of the AIC Full Residential Appraisal Form should be filled in and a Market Rent Addendum OR a qualitative narrative addendum should be included in order to comply with CUSPAP.  An unidentifiable property, where there is no data, a full appraisal (with inspection) is required.  

Allow us to prepare a quote for you today!