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For a quick, accurate property valuation, more and more mortgage brokers are turning to automated valuation models, or AVMs, for readily accessible data to help confirm application information before referring clients to lenders.

However, does an automated valuation model replace the need for an appraisal? It’s not a cut and dry, this-or-that answer. Each situation is unique, and your decision to use either or both for a property valuation will always need to take into consideration how you can save time and money.

That’s the first value of an AVM over an on-site appraisal – saving time and money. Obtaining an online property valuation using an AVM can help you make better decisions, faster, without compromising your bottom line. Available 24/7 online, you can request an AVM report and quickly and inexpensively get an estimate of a residential property’s value that uses public record data analysis, market conditions and neighbourhood comparable sales – without the bias of an appraiser.

So, with one quick review of a report, you can confirm much of the application information, as well as aspects such as the ownership history, current owner, property location, nearby amenities and more. You can often access aerial imagery and street views with an AVM, providing an even deeper look before ever investing in an on-site appraisal.

Plus, with an AVM report, you get unbiased, error-free information. Humans make errors and have bias, where an AVM can be counted on to never make critical calculation mistakes. By removing the human element and relying on mathematical calculations, brokers can quickly process more applications before investing in hiring an appraiser.

While an appraisal may be an investment, they can also add value that an AVM never can. Once you’ve reviewed an AVM and decided the application may be a contender for approval, you may need an appraisal to confirm key aspects you can’t confirm from the comfort of your office. Unlike computers, appraisers can actually review the internal property conditions. With experience, they can also quickly and efficiently provide a valuation that you can pair with the information in an AVM report to make the most risk-free mortgage decisions.

Brokers can also use an AVM to audit the on-site appraisal process, while adding value appraisers don’t have access to – comparables and neighbourhood reports. With both, you can mitigate risk with access to on-demand, automated valuation and fraud detection tools AND the hands-on expertise of a professional appraiser.

It is true that both an automated valuation model and an appraisal have their place in the mortgage application process. Mortgage brokers tend to lead with the AVM to make faster and better decisions early in the process to determine value, ownership and other legal aspects. However, you can’t count out the value of having an expert on-site to confirm the property details in person.

Purview relies on more than just nearby sales, as most AVMs do. Our AVM relies on the most recent, accurate land information available from the Province of Ontario’s Land Registry Information System (POLARIS), with data from outside provided by municipalities, assessment offices and other trusted third-party vendors for the most robust bank of data possible. With a property valuation through Purview, you get customizable reports, aerial imagery, fraud checks and more. Learn more today by visiting