In the UK, real estate appraisal is known as property valuation and a real estate appraiser is a land valuer or property valuer (usually a qualified chartered surveyor who specializes in property valuation). Property valuation in the UK is regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), a professional body encompassing all of the building and property-related professions. The RICS professional guidelines for valuers are published in what is commonly known as the Red Book. The 2011 version was the RICS Valuation Standards 7th Edition (2 May 2011), superseding an edition published in 2007 with later amendments. The RICS Valuation Standards contains mandatory rules, best practice guidance and related commentary. Changes to the standards are approved by the RICS Valuation Professional Group Board, and the Red Book is updated accordingly on a regular basis. While based in the UK, RICS is a global organization and has become very active in the United States in recent years through its affiliation with the Counselors of Real Estate, a division of the National Association of Realtors.
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There can be differences between what the property is really worth (market value) and what it cost to buy it (price). A price paid might not represent that property's market value. Sometimes, special considerations may have been present, such as a special relationship between the buyer and the seller where one party had control or significant influence over the other party. In other cases, the transaction may have been just one of several properties sold or traded between two parties. In such cases, the price paid for any particular piece is not its market "value" (with the idea usually being, though, that all the pieces and prices add up to the market value of all the parts) but rather its market "price".
The sales comparison approach is based primarily on the principle of substitution. This approach assumes a prudent (or rational) individual will pay no more for a property than it would cost to purchase a comparable substitute property. The approach recognizes that a typical buyer will compare asking prices and seek to purchase the property that meets his or her wants and needs for the lowest cost. In developing the sales comparison approach, the appraiser attempts to interpret and measure the actions of parties involved in the marketplace, including buyers, sellers, and investors.
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