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.
In Israel, the real estate appraisal profession is regulated by the Council of Land Valuers, an organ of the Ministry of Justice; the largest professional organization, encompassing the majority of appraisers/land valuers is the Association of Land Valuers. Valuers must be registered with the Council, which is a statutory body set up by law, and which oversees the training and administers the national professional exams that are a prerequisite for attaining registration. In 2005 the Council set up a Valuation Standards Committee with the purpose of developing and promulgating standards that would reflect best practice; these have tended to follow a rules-based approach.
The appraiser has to think about the way that most buyers usually buy a given type of property. What appraisal method do most buyers use for the type of property being valued? This generally guides the appraiser's thinking on the best valuation method, in conjunction with the available data. For instance, appraisals of properties that are typically purchased by investors (e.g., skyscrapers, office buildings) may give greater weight to the Income Approach. Buyers interested in purchasing single family residential property would rather compare price, in this case, the Sales Comparison Approach (market analysis approach) would be more applicable. The third and final approach to value is the Cost Approach to value. The Cost Approach to value is most useful in determining insurable value, and cost to construct a new structure or building.
The National Association of Appraisers (NAA) was formed with a purpose of uniting those engaged in the appraisal profession for the purpose of exerting a beneficial influence upon the profession and to advocate appraiser interests. The NAA has established an advisory group consisting of leadership at the state organizations and coalitions called the Board of Governors where those states can help guide the NAA in acting in the best interest of all appraisers. The NAA also has a designated membership, MNAA (Member of the National Association of Appraisers, who is an individual who holds an appraisal license, certification or similar appraisal credential issued by a governmental agency; and who accepts the membership requirements and objectives of the National Association of Appraisers.
For example, single apartment buildings of a given quality tend to sell at a particular price per apartment. In many of those cases, the sales comparison approach may be more applicable. On the other hand, a multiple-building apartment complex would usually be valued by the income approach, as that would follow how most buyers would value it. As another example, single-family houses are most commonly valued with the greatest weighting to the sales comparison approach. However, if a single-family dwelling is in a neighborhood where all or most of the dwellings are rental units, then some variant of the income approach may be more useful. So the choice of valuation method can change depending upon the circumstances, even if the property being valued does not change much.
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