While many professionals in the real estate industry are willing to offer their opinion on a property’s value, not all estimates can be considered equal. Beware of informal estimates given by real estate brokers or others with potential ulterior motives. While their advice can offer some insights, only a certified appraiser can provide accurate, unbiased information on which you can rest assured basing important financial decisions.

Real estate brokers often provide rough price estimates, but these informal speculations are based on general knowledge rather than research. By comparing the property in question to others that they know have sold in the neighbourhood, real estate brokers have a general sense of how much a property is worth. This type of estimate is usually given solely for the purpose of establishing an appropriate listing price or offering a ballpark figure for how much a property might cost you to purchase. But the legitimacy of this estimate is debatable since the listing price of a property can vary significantly from the true market value.

A certified appraiser, on the other hand, provides a market value estimate for a property’s worth based on extensive analysis, knowledge and research. Their valuations are not free – and for a good reason. Their research process generates estimates that are formal, impartial and relate only to a specific date. Unlike the estimates a real estate broker might offer, certified appraisers strive to provide objective, fair and accurate appraisals using actual data and training. Appraisers are not swayed by the desire to offer the highest price or biased by potential commissions. Obtaining a certified appraisal is a crucial step in your real estate investment process and one which should always be left to professionals.