Frequently Asked Questions
Why get an appraisal?
There are several reasons why you may need a professional appraisal, here at BV&A we can assist in all these scenarios:
Below are a few
- Personal accounting – This would be an appraisal of a property for your own needs and edification. Perhaps for some internal accounting, year end financials or just out of curiosity.
- Matrimonial proceedings – Where two parties are getting divorced and property is owned either singularly or jointly, it is likely that an impartial appraisal will be required to assist with the distribution of assets. This is usually a joint instruction from both parties (or their lawyers) and as such, both parties will be provided with a copy of the report
- Probate Settlement – If a family member or third party has inherited property in Bermuda then chances are that the property will have to be valued in order to assist with the settlement of probate. A copy of the report will usually have to be submitted to the office of the Tax Commissioner for stamp duty adjudication.
- Voluntary conveyance / estate planning – If you are considering changing the ownership of property or distributing assets then a valuation may be required. Similarly, as part of the conveyance process a stamped copy of the appraisal will be required by the Office of the Tax Commissioner in order to adjudicate on the amount of stamp duty payable
- For sale or purchase – As a purchaser you may not know how much to list your property for. Whilst a realtor can provide advice to you, with a formal valuation you know that it will be totally impartial. Similarly, if there is a property listed for sale that you are interested in, by obtaining a valuation from BV&A you will be able to make a reasoned offer.
- For bank financing – As part of the mortgage process, the lending institution will require a valuation to ensure that the loan to value (LTV) ratio is within their lending parameters. If the bank instructs us, they are the client and the report belongs to them. Without their express approval, a copy will not be released to the mortgagor.
Do I need a stamp?
The majority of valuation reports do not require the $25 government revenue stamp. The application of stamps falls under the remit of Head 8 of the Bermuda Stamp Duties Act 1976. Typically a revenue stamp is only applied for reports which will be considered by the Office of the Tax Commissioner or for court reliance. If you are unsure then please ask us.
Are all Chartered Surveyors the same?
The short answer is ‘no’. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is the governing body of which all chartered surveyors are members of. There are several different faculties including Building Surveyors, Quantity Surveyors, Art and Antiques, Planning and Development as well as Valuation. A Chartered Surveyor may have expertise in more than one of these areas but only a Registered Valuer specializes in valuation matters on a day to day basis.
How much does an appraisal cost?
Costs vary depending on the size and complexity of the property. The time spent on site, travel time and the nature of the property will all have a role in preparing a quote. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to provide a quotation. It will vary and will typically start from around $625 for a condo or small cottage.
Do you need to come inside the structure?
In the same way that you wouldn’t put an offer on a property without seeing the inside, we are unable to give an accurate opinion on the Market Value without gaining internal access. When we inspect we take note of the type of construction, the condition of the property, the room dimensions as well as any additional amenities such as pool, air conditioning, generator, views etc. We also take photographs to assist with the valuation process.
How to you arrive at the Market Value? Do you have a formula?
The majority of property valuations are completed using the ‘comparable analysis method’. This involves taking all salient points of the subject property such as number of bedrooms, bathrooms, location, size of lot, square footage and any additional amenities and comparing them to sales of similar properties. Ideally the house next door will be identical and will have sold recently but as we know in Bermuda, very few properties are directly comparable like they are in other cities around the world. This is where the valuer must use their judgement based on years of experience to arrive at the Market Value. Whilst we measure the internal square footage, this is used for guidance rather than it being multiplied by a dollar per square foot.
Can I use my valuation for insurance?
The valuation that we give is the Market Value i.e. how much we think it would sell for on the date of valuation the open market assuming it has been marketed and there is a willing buyer and willing seller. This is a very different approach that the reinstatement value that would be used for insurance purposes. In a falling or ‘buyers market’ the reinstatement value may and often is significantly more than the Market Value which may result in your property being under insured. We are more than happy to provide the details of a suitable qualified building surveyor or quantity surveyor who can give you an insurance valuation.
How does the process work?
If you are interested in having BV&A carry out an appraisal for you, we will send you letter of engagement with the terms and conditions as well as a quote set out clearly. Once the letter has been signed and sent back we will issue an invoice for payment. All appraisal fees are due in advance of the inspection.
We will then arrange a time to come and inspect the property. Full access is required which includes additional apartments or structures. We will take site notes, measurements and photographs.
We will have the completed report emailed to you within 10-12 working days from inspection.