Law and order and health care make Canada an attractive destination

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By Shipra Chaudhury

Photographs by Nari Mavalwalla

If you need to know the value of a piece of real estate, you’ve come to the right place. This is the sign that greeted me in the lavish Brampton home of Arpna and Nilay Saha.

Their real estate appraisal firm, Galaxy Appraisals, was established in 2005 and provides residential real estate appraisal services to a wide range of clients and follows industry-approved uniform professional practice standards.

“Galaxy Appraisals is the company you can rely on when faced with complex matters that demand extraordinary combinations of financial, technical and industry expertise,” says Saha, who is the CEO.

Their firm provides services ranging from residential appraisal for single family and multi-family (up to four units), mortgages, capital gain for Revenue Canada purposes, legal and matrimonial services,

litigation, listing and sale price determination, etc.

Accountants and auditors are often stereotyped as math geeks sitting in dark cubicles tabulating endless, mind-numbing streams of numbers. However, while accountants do need solid math skills, the job involves much more, says Saha. “Accounting today is a blend of analysis, problem-solving and detective work; to do the job right you must be able to communicate effectively and deal with people, not just numbers. As such, the tasks are much more diverse than many people realize.

“The work environment for a CPA is constantly changing. New rules and regulations are passed frequently and it’s our job to learn and abide by them. Number crunching is part of the job, but our primary responsibility is to our clients. Effectively serving them involves a whole spectrum of responsibilities. We are in constant contact with our clients, either meeting personally or over the phone. We have a team of experts and highly experienced professionals to meet our goals. Our team has many years of experience in the sector and also has an understanding of the current market and resources. This allows us to deliver top-notch services to our clients. We take both conventional and unconventional approaches to help them navigate seen and unforeseen challenges. We add value because our involvement provides our clients credibility in the financial markets.” 

Born in Bangladesh, Saha completed his Master of Commerce at the University of Dhaka before migrating to Canada in 2000. For the first two years he worked as an accountant and then spent the next several years in the real estate business, becoming a professional appraiser in 2006. He is a designated CRA from the Appraisal Institute of Canada and he has also done other courses like DAR, CGA and CPA.

“The real property market is a key building block of the Canadian economy and affects every segment of our society,” says Saha. “Unbiased and dependable valuations are critical to the decision-making processes of individuals, businesses and governments when conducting real property transactions. Appraisal Institute of Canada designated members are real estate appraisal professionals who play a direct and vital role in the real estate sector. That role is to determine, report upon, and attest to the real value of property. Their valuation is the foundation upon which informed decisions about real estate are made – whether by a family purchasing its first home, a farmer selling acreage, a retailer deciding where to locate its next outlet, a developer considering an empty lot, or a lawyer defending or prosecuting a case.”

All AIC (Appraisals Institute of Canada)-designated appraisers are trained to complete appraisal, review, consulting and reserve fund planning assignments within their area of competence. This may include single-family homes and office buildings, shopping centres and rental properties, condominiums and hotels, retirement and long-term care facilities, industrial as well as recreational sites, farms, orchards, vineyards and much more.

When he launched his business, his wife Arpna played a great role in supporting him, says Saha. Today they have a team of eight and she is the general manager of their appraisal division. She takes calls from clients, salespeople, prospects, peers and other people in the community and tries to stay on top of all the emails that they receive daily. When clients submit financial documents to their firm, she performs bookkeeping services within two days of receipt.

“Our work includes verifying research results, confirming product quality standards, substantiating historical renovation compliance and assessing computer security risk,” says Arpna who is also in-charge of business development. “While each engagement is unique and may require different procedures, the profession provides a standard environment and approach to ensure the quality of the finished product.”

The Sahas love the law and order, secure life and the “amazing health care system” that Canada offers.

“The people are friendly, there’s good education for our kids and many opportunities for newcomers. What more can you ask for?”

Any tips for future newcomers based on their experience?

“There is a lot of competition, so you have to be good in your field to achieve success.”

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