Desktop vs Onsite Valuation: Which is Better for You?

In the fast-paced Australian real estate market, property valuation plays a crucial role for Australian expats living overseas and foreign buyers looking to invest. However, with the advancement of technology, two popular methods are used to evaluate property: desktop valuation and onsite valuation.

This guide explores the pros and cons of both approaches, helping you make informed decisions when it comes to property valuation in Australia. So, which is better for you: desktop vs onsite valuation? Let’s find out.

The Importance of Property Valuation in Australia

Property valuation is the process of determining the market value of a property. It is important in the Australian home loan scene because lenders use it to assess the risk of lending money against a property. The lender will want to be confident that the property is worth at least as much as the amount they are lending, so they will commission a valuation to get an independent assessment of the property’s value.

There are a number of factors that are taken into account when valuing a property, including:

  • The location of the property
  • The size and condition of the property
  • The type of property (house, unit, townhouse, etc.)
  • The amenities in the area
  • The recent sales prices of comparable properties

The value of a property can fluctuate over time, so it is important to get a valuation that is as up-to-date as possible. If you are thinking about buying a property, you should ask your lender to provide you with a copy of the valuation report so that you can see how they have assessed the value of the property.

If you are thinking about getting a home loan, it is important to understand the importance of property valuation. A valuation can help you get the best possible deal on your home loan and protect your interests in the event of default.

Get a free Australian mortgage assessment today.

Apply online to get a free recommendation with real rates and repayments.

What is Desktop Property Valuation?

Desktop property valuation, also known as remote valuation, is a method of assessing the value of a property without physically visiting it. Instead, data and information about the property are analysed using advanced algorithms and databases. This method is becoming increasingly popular due to its convenience and efficiency.

Desktop property valuation involves analysing various data points such as property location, size, features, comparable sales, and market trends to estimate the property’s value. This data is obtained from reliable sources such as government records, real estate databases, and historical sales data.

Pros and Cons of Desktop Property Valuation


  • Convenience: As an Australian expat living overseas or a foreign buyer, you may not have the luxury of visiting the property in person. Desktop valuation allows you to obtain a property valuation report remotely, saving you time and effort.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Traditional onsite property valuations often require engaging a valuer and paying for their time and travel expenses. On the other hand, desktop valuations are typically more affordable, making them an attractive option for budget-conscious individuals.
  • Speed: In a competitive real estate market, timing is crucial. With desktop property valuation, you can receive a valuation report within a short turnaround time, enabling you to make informed decisions quickly.


  • Lack of Physical Inspection: Unlike onsite valuations, desktop valuations rely solely on available data and cannot consider the physical condition of the property. Factors such as property maintenance, renovations, and unique features may not be accurately reflected in the valuation.
  • Reliance on Data Accuracy: The accuracy of a desktop valuation heavily depends on the quality and accuracy of the data used. While efforts are made to gather reliable information, there may still be instances of outdated or incomplete data, which can impact the accuracy of the valuation.

What is Onsite Property Valuation?

Onsite property valuation, also known as physical valuation, involves a qualified valuer visiting the property in person to assess its condition, features, and overall value. This method has long been the traditional property valuation approach and offers advantages over desktop valuation.

Onsite property valuation involves a certified valuer conducting a physical inspection of the property, thoroughly assessing its condition, features, location, and other relevant factors. The valuer takes into account both the interior and exterior aspects of the property, considering its overall market value.

Pros and Cons of Onsite Property Valuation


  • Physical Assessment: Onsite valuations allow valuers to inspect the property firsthand, taking into account its unique characteristics, potential issues, and renovations. This level of detail provides a more accurate representation of the property’s value.
  • Human Expertise: Certified property valuers possess extensive knowledge and experience in property valuation. Their expertise enables them to analyse various factors, such as market trends, property conditions, and location, resulting in a comprehensive and reliable valuation report.
  • Property-Specific Considerations: Onsite valuations consider property-specific factors that may not be evident through data analysis alone. These factors can include the property’s street appeal, orientation, natural lighting, and overall livability, all of which can significantly impact its value.


  • Time and Effort: Onsite valuations typically require scheduling an appointment with a valuer, which can sometimes cause delays, especially during peak seasons. Additionally, the process involves allocating time for the valuer to physically inspect the property, which may not be convenient for Australian expats living overseas or foreign buyers.
  • Higher Cost: Onsite valuations generally come with higher costs due to a certified valuer’s involvement and travel expenses. This may be a consideration when choosing the valuation method if you’re on a tight budget.

Choosing the Right Property Valuation Method

Now that we’ve explored the pros and cons of both desktop and onsite property valuation methods, you may be wondering which approach is best for you. Here are some key considerations to help you make an informed decision.

  • Property Type and Purpose: The type of property you are looking to buy or sell can influence the suitability of the valuation method. For standard residential properties, both desktop and onsite valuations can provide accurate results. However, for unique or specialised properties, onsite valuations are often recommended.
  • Location and Market Dynamics: The property’s location and the specific market dynamics should also be taken into account. In some areas, market trends change rapidly, and an onsite valuation may provide more up-to-date insights.
  • Urgency and Convenience: Consider your time constraints and availability when choosing the valuation method. If you require a quick valuation report or find it difficult to schedule onsite appointments, desktop valuation offers a convenient and efficient alternative.
  • Seek Professional Advice: Property valuation is a complex process, and seeking professional advice is highly recommended. Consulting with a reputable mortgage broker or a certified valuer can provide valuable insights tailored to your specific circumstances. They can guide you in determining the most suitable valuation method based on your needs, budget, and property type.

Need Help Deciding Between Desktop vs Onsite Valuation?

Property valuation is a critical step in the Australian real estate market, especially for Australian expats living overseas and foreign buyers. Understanding the differences between desktop and onsite property valuation methods allows you to make informed decisions that align with your unique requirements.

While desktop valuation offers convenience and cost-effectiveness, onsite valuation provides a more accurate representation of the property’s condition and market value. Consider the factors discussed in this guide and seek professional advice to choose the right valuation method for your specific situation.

Making informed decisions in the Australian real estate market is crucial, especially for Australian expats living overseas and foreign buyers. Whether you choose a desktop valuation for its convenience or an onsite valuation for its accuracy, partnering with a trusted mortgage broker can help you navigate the valuation process and secure the right financing solutions.

Contact us today to discuss your property valuation needs and explore your options.

Get a free Australian mortgage assessment today.

Apply online to get a free recommendation with real rates and repayments.

Frequently asked questions

Desktop property valuations can provide reasonably accurate estimates, but they may not consider the physical condition or unique features of a property. Onsite property valuations, on the other hand, offer a more comprehensive assessment, resulting in potentially more accurate valuations.

Many lenders in Australia accept a desktop property valuation, especially for standard residential properties. However, some lenders may require an onsite property valuation for certain property types or loan amounts. For instance, Westpac may accept a desktop valuation if you’re buying a new build and the valuer is unable to obtain a building inspection report. It’s essential to check with your lender to understand their specific requirements.

In some cases, lenders may accept a desktop property valuation for refinancing purposes. However, it ultimately depends on the lender’s policies and the specific circumstances of your refinancing application. It’s recommended to consult with your mortgage broker or lender to determine if a desktop property valuation is sufficient for your refinancing needs.

The turnaround time for a desktop valuation report can vary depending on various factors, such as the complexity of the property, data availability, and the valuation provider’s efficiency. Generally, you can expect to receive the report within a few business days.

While desktop valuations offer convenience and efficiency, some risks should be considered. These valuations heavily rely on data accuracy, and if the data used is outdated or incomplete, it can affect the accuracy of the valuation. Additionally, desktop valuations may not account for property-specific factors that can impact its value. It’s important to weigh these risks and consult with professionals when making property-related decisions.

Yes, in many cases, you can request an onsite valuation even if you initially opted for a desktop valuation. However, it’s important to note that additional fees may apply, and it’s subject to the availability and policies of the valuation provider.

The required documents and information may vary depending on the valuation provider and the specific property. Generally, you’ll need to provide details such as property address, property type, size, features, recent renovations or improvements, and any other relevant information. The valuation provider or your mortgage broker can provide you with a comprehensive list of required documents.

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