Real estate appraisal, property valuation or land valuation is the process of developing an opinion of value for real property (usually market value).
Real estate transactions often require appraisals because they occur infrequently and every property is unique (especially their location, a key factor in valuation), unlike corporate stocks, which are traded daily and are identical. Appraisal reports form the basis for mortgage loans, settling estates and divorces, taxation, and so on. Sometimes an appraisal report is used to set the sale price of a property.
Sometimes an appraisal report is used to set the sale price of a property. Since most people buy their homes once in their lives, everybody is interested in buying land in reasonable prices. Buying very expensive land, from sellers and associates, is not acceptable. Overpricing can ruin the savings of a lifetime.
Most, but not all, countries require appraisers to be licensed or certified. Appraisers are often known as “property valuers” or “land valuers”; in British English they are “valuation surveyors”. If the appraiser’s opinion is based on market value, then it must also be based on the highest and best use of the real property. In the United States, mortgage valuations of improved residential properties are generally reported on a standardized form like the Uniform Residential Appraisal Report. Appraisals of more complex properties (e.g., income-producing, raw land) are often reported in narrative format.