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 physical appraisal is necessary to evaluate a property. Depending on the size of the property, this can take anywhere from 15 minutes to three hours or more. After this step is complete, the appraiser will need to compare the results against recent area sales of similar properties to draw some conclusions regarding value. A report is provided once the appraisal is completed, and this is typically sent to the client within a week of the property inspection.
These appraisers also perform valuations on commercial property ranging from single to multiple tenant office buildings, shopping centers, retail, industrial, malls, hospitals, health care facilities, warehouses, and hotels to multi-family apartment buildings, co-ops, senior housing, condominium developments, and even vacant land, agricultural, and golf courses.  Regardless of the property type or local zoning, they'll determine the highest and best use of the project and assess the value using the actual or projected cash flow from the property's rent roll and financial statements, using both cap rates for capitalizing year one net operating income (NOI) and discounted cash flow (DCF) of multiple future income streams.  If you're a commercial lender, investor, builder, contractor, architect, or agent, you'll want to use these appraisers to conduct a feasibility analysis of any income producing real estate project you may be considering.  They can also help consult on construction costs and projected absorption rates.  They generally produce a commercial narrative appraisal when engaged for any commercial assignment.
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