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An appraisal of a house or other property is the valuation of the rights of ownership. The appraiser does not create value, rather he or she interprets the market to arrive at a value estimate for the house or property in question. As the appraiser compiles data pertinent to a report, consideration must be given to the site and amenities as well as the physical condition of the property. An appraiser may spend only a short time inspecting the property, however, this is only the beginning.

There is a considerable amount of research and collection of general and specific data that must be carried out before the appraiser can arrive at a final opinion of value. There are many types of value (including Fair Market Value, Insurance Value, Tax Value and Value In Use), and as such the need to precisely define the purpose of the appraisal is essential.

An appraisal is generally defined as an opinion of value or the act or process of estimating value. This opinion or estimate is derived by using three common approaches, all derived from the market. These are explained below.

Cost Approach

Cost approach to value is dependent on what it would cost to replace or reproduce the improvements as of the date of the appraisal, less the physical deterioration, the functional obsolescence and the economic obsolescence. The remainder is added to the land value.

Comparison Approach

Comparison approach to value makes use of other properties of similar size, quality and location that have been recently sold in order to arrive at a final estimated value. A comparison is made to the subject house or property.

Income Approach

Income approach to value is of primary importance in ascertaining the value of income producing properties; it is generally less important in appraising residential type properties. This approach provides an objective estimate of what a prudent investor would pay based upon the net income the property produces. Then, after thorough analysis of all general and specific data gathered from the market, a final estimate or opinion of value is settled upon.


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