How Appraisers Work

When you need to know the value of your woods, an appraiser is essential.

Appraisers are specifically trained to provide you with an objective, accurate estimate of the value of your land. They do this by pulling together and analyzing a range of facts and figures, including:

Your land’s resources. The location and characteristics of your land, the zoning regulations or other restrictions placed on it, and its potential and desirability for future development all factor into an appraiser’s opinion. For example, properties that are near large population centers, have great scenic beauty, or hold sought-after timber or other resources will command a higher value on the market.   

The “comps.” Recent sales of properties that are comparable or similar to your property—called “comps”—can also inform an appraiser’s opinion. Using their assessment of your property’s qualities, appraisers identify these comps, adjust for differences between those properties and yours, and derive a sense of what your property might sell for.

Local trends. The land use and development trends at work in your area can also increase your property’s value.

Sometimes, appraisers call on the expertise of other professionals to gain more information about your land. An appraiser may work with a forester to learn about the value of the timber on your property, and to identify whether there are unique plant or animal communities or other special features on your land that should be considered when determining its value.

An appraiser may work with a surveyor as well. A licensed surveyor’s survey is a legal representation of the dimensions of your property. Surveyors use a variety of tools to precisely measure the location, size, physical features, and boundaries of your land. That gives an appraiser more complete information to work with, for a more thorough and accurate appraisal.

Once appraisers gather all the information they need, they can arrive at an estimate of the fair market value of your land.

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