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Desktop Valuations: Must-Have Tools

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot about how business is conducted — including mortgage-related business. Public safety protocols encourage social or physical distancing wherever possible, which in turn has changed how mortgage brokers and lenders perform their tasks.

Mortgage Professionals Canada recently hosted a panel discussion series on this transformation and how its members have been affected by COVID-19 guidelines. Canadian Mortgage Trends reported on the key takeaways from this series.

One takeaway had to do with new appraisal techniques.

Lysa Fitzgerald, the VP of Sales at Manulife Bank, said that they have been revisiting some of their credit policies to make sure their appraisers are safe. This included ensuring the ability to perform drive-by appraisals or, on an exception basis, desktop appraisals.

Mark Aldridge, CEO of MCAP, said that MCAP and RMG had approved modified full appraisals and were allowing appraisers to rely on virtual inspections completed by the customer by various means.

Hali Noble, Senior VP of Residential Mortgage Investments & Broker Relations at Fisgard Asset Management, said their modified approval process could include the use of video and may also include revisiting appraisals after the crisis — for example, visiting the home in-person when it is safe to do so.

While drive-by and desktop appraisals do not always offer the same scope as an in-person appraisal, they can be a great starting point — especially when physical and social distancing guidelines are in place.

To facilitate remote appraisals most effectively, brokers and lenders can turn to technology — and, if you are a Purview subscriber, that technology may be closer than you are aware.

In Purview, users already have access to property information that can facilitate a desktop appraisal or bolster a drive-by one.

Here are some of the ways Purview achieves this:

  • Automated Valuation Model (AVM): AVM functionality enables you to quickly estimate the value of an address based on property details and comparable sales in the neighbourhood. This is a cost-effective way to give you an approximate idea of the property value to help with your appraisal, plus it can flag potential risks to investigate further if needed.
  • Aerial and street view property images: while exterior property images do not show the inside of the home, they can replace the need to drive by the property. They can also show you more than you can see from the street — such as adjacent structures.
  • Validating property details: property data can also help verify details such as the legal address, legal description, ownership information, and more to ensure the deal is legitimate and flag any risk indicators.
  • Equity estimate: this solution enables you to look at registered mortgages to estimate the available equity.

The most important consideration when using a desktop appraisal or appraisal technology is your data source. Whether you are relying on an AVM or another feature, you need to know where that the information you are looking at is accurate, complete, and timely.

We can only speak to our data at Purview — we obtain our data from the most current and accurate sources, including directly from the provincial land registries.

With COVID-19 ongoing, appraisal technology is key to maintaining social distancing. However, it can also aid your practice even outside of a pandemic as it saves time and costs on the front-end. When you use Purview, it is also convenient to access this information as it is all available online.

How have you adjusted your appraisal process during the COVID-19 pandemic? Share with us on social media. Purview is on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

Access our solutions for your drive-by or desktop appraisal today. Leverage your subscription or become a subscriber by calling 1-855-787-8439 or visiting

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