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.
A property appraiser assesses value by taking into consideration everything that's permanently associated with the property. This includes the property's size and location, and whether it provides a view. If there is a building on the property, the appraiser will look at physical characteristics such as age, the number of bedrooms, and the overall condition of the structure. The appraiser will also consider the value of similar properties in the neighborhood when making a valuation.

Today the API represents the interests of more than 8,600 property professionals throughout Australia. API members include residential, commercial and plant and machinery valuers, property advisers, property analysts, property fund and asset managers, property facility managers, property lawyers and property researchers and academics. The Institute’s primary role is to set and maintain the highest standards of professional practice, education, ethics and professional conduct for its members and the broader property profession.[32]
In New Zealand, the terms "valuation" and "valuer" usually relates to one who undertakes that professional role in terms of the Valuer Act 1948 requirements or the unregulated or voluntarily self-regulated (if members of PINZ) plant and machinery, marine or art valuers. Whereas, the term "appraisal" is usually related to an estimate by a real estate sales person or licensed agent under the Real Estate Agents Act 2008. The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand includes many valuer members, but the governing legislation for sales and agency (disposal of interests of land on behalf of others) does not extend to include provision for that role by valuers regardless of membership of NZIV, RICS or PINZ.
Data is collected on recent sales of properties similar to the subject being valued, called "comparables". Only SOLD properties may be used in an appraisal and determination of a property's value, as they represent amounts actually paid or agreed upon for properties. Sources of comparable data include real estate publications, public records, buyers, sellers, real estate brokers and/or agents, appraisers, and so on. Important details of each comparable sale are described in the appraisal report. Since comparable sales are not identical to the subject property, adjustments may be made for date of sale, location, style, amenities, square footage, site size, etc. The main idea is to simulate the price that would have been paid if each comparable sale were identical to the subject property. If the comparable is superior to the subject in a factor or aspect, then a downward adjustment is needed for that factor.[clarification needed] Likewise, if the comparable is inferior to the subject in an aspect, then an upward adjustment for that aspect is needed.[clarification needed] The adjustment is somewhat subjective and relies on the appraiser's training and experience. From the analysis of the group of adjusted sales prices of the comparable sales, the appraiser selects an indicator of value that is representative of the subject property. It is possible for various appraisers to choose a different indicator of value which ultimately will provide different property value.
Data is collected on recent sales of properties similar to the subject being valued, called "comparables". Only SOLD properties may be used in an appraisal and determination of a property's value, as they represent amounts actually paid or agreed upon for properties. Sources of comparable data include real estate publications, public records, buyers, sellers, real estate brokers and/or agents, appraisers, and so on. Important details of each comparable sale are described in the appraisal report. Since comparable sales are not identical to the subject property, adjustments may be made for date of sale, location, style, amenities, square footage, site size, etc. The main idea is to simulate the price that would have been paid if each comparable sale were identical to the subject property. If the comparable is superior to the subject in a factor or aspect, then a downward adjustment is needed for that factor.[clarification needed] Likewise, if the comparable is inferior to the subject in an aspect, then an upward adjustment for that aspect is needed.[clarification needed] The adjustment is somewhat subjective and relies on the appraiser's training and experience. From the analysis of the group of adjusted sales prices of the comparable sales, the appraiser selects an indicator of value that is representative of the subject property. It is possible for various appraisers to choose a different indicator of value which ultimately will provide different property value.
Today the API represents the interests of more than 8,600 property professionals throughout Australia. API members include residential, commercial and plant and machinery valuers, property advisers, property analysts, property fund and asset managers, property facility managers, property lawyers and property researchers and academics. The Institute’s primary role is to set and maintain the highest standards of professional practice, education, ethics and professional conduct for its members and the broader property profession.[32]

With effect from the 1st of August 2017, new amendements to the Federal Valuation Law came to impose the compulsory certification of valuers by a state-affiliated testing centre. Consequently, this 2 hour written-exam certification measure, aimed to counter a perception of wide-spread malpractice among the members of the national valuation profession, provides for 3 valuer-specializations: real estate valuers, plant and machinery valuers, and business and intanglble asset valuers, with the exam content requirements varying substantially for each specialization. Valuers would lose a right to practice, unless they comply with the requirement to take this compulsory certification exam at or before March 31, 2018. A general assessment of this measure is that the numbers of certified valuers in Russia are set to dwindle down to some 2000-3000 valuers nationwide (across all the specialisms mentioned), i.e. decimating some 80% of the current Valuer SRO's membership, due to the complexity of the certification exams.
Most of valuations in the country tend to be performed for statutory purposes envisaged by the Federal Valuation Law (the latest amendment in 2016) and other related laws, such as the Joint Stock Companies Law. Such pieces of legislation provide for more than 20 so-called "mandatory cases of valuation", including valuations for privatization purposes, lending purposes, bankruptcy and liquidation etc. Valuations for corporate accounts used to be much more prominent before 2000, when the national accounting regulator ceased to incentivize the accounting fair value option. At present, the mass appraisal of property for taxation purposes is also starting to be outsourced by the Government to the institution of professional valuers.
Meanwhile, a residential appraiser would focus on those properties where individuals and households are domiciled. This can include condominiums and single homes. Typically a residential appraiser works with properties with no more than four housing units. Larger scale properties, such as multiunit apartment buildings, would likely be classified as a commercial property for the purposes of an appraiser.
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