The cost approach was once called the summation approach. The theory is that the value of a property can be estimated by summing the land value and the depreciated value of any improvements. The value of the improvements is often referred to by the abbreviation RCNLD (for "reproduction/replacement cost new less depreciation"). Reproduction refers to reproducing an exact replica; replacement cost refers to the cost of building a house or other improvement which has the same utility, but using modern design, workmanship and materials. In practice, appraisers almost always use replacement cost and then deduct a factor for any functional dis-utility associated with the age of the subject property. An exception to the general rule of using the replacement cost is for some insurance value appraisals. In those cases, reproduction of the exact asset after a destructive event like a fire is the goal.
Thus, the definition of value used in an appraisal or Current Market Analysis (CMA) analysis and report is a set of assumptions about the market in which the subject property may transact. It affects the choice of comparable data for use in the analysis. It can also affect the method used to value the property. For example, tree value can contribute up to 27% of property value.[8][9]

The federal government regulates appraisers indirectly because if the Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC) of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) finds that a particular state's appraiser regulation and certification program is inadequate, then under federal regulations all appraisers in that state would no longer be eligible to conduct appraisals for federally chartered banks.[25] The ASC oversees the TAF. Banks make widespread use of mortgage loans and mortgage-backed securities, and would be unable to do so without appraisals.

The BauGB defines the Verkehrswert or Marktwert (market value, both terms with identical meaning) as follows: "The market value is determined by the price that can be realized at the date of valuation, in an arm's length transaction, with due regard to the legal situation and the effective characteristics, the nature and lay of the premises or any other subject of the valuation"[19] (non-official translation). The intention, as in other countries, is to include all objective influences and to exclude all influences resulting from the subjective circumstances of the involved parties.
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