Understanding the distinction between property appraisals and property valuations in NSW

Aug 23, 2023 | by DiJones

In the realm of real estate, property appraisals and property valuations play pivotal roles in determining the worth of a property. Although the terms “appraisal” and “valuation” are often used interchangeably, they are, in fact, distinct processes with different purposes. 

Here we discuss the characteristics of property appraisals and property valuations in New South Wales (NSW) and shed light on why these assessments are a key element in most property transactions.

Property appraisals

A property appraisal, also known as a market appraisal, is an estimate of a property’s worth based on various factors, including recent sales of comparable properties in the same area.

Typically, property appraisals are carried out by real estate agents who have an in-depth understanding of the local market and are able to provide a quick, realistic assessment of a property’s market value. 

Their estimation will usually consider recent sales data, property features and overall condition, location, current market conditions, and demand-supply dynamics. Because agents are in the thick of it every day, they have a solid understanding of current market dynamics and buyer sentiment. These factors can have a considerable effect on the sale price of a property, and agents will always take this into account when evaluating your property. 

Property appraisals are generally a great first step if you are considering selling, refinancing, or assessing potential rental income. They are also a handy tool for understanding how recent renovations may affect the value of your property or for getting an idea of how much equity you have in your property.

Property valuations

In contrast, property valuations are more in-depth assessments. They are carried out by certified property valuers who charge a fee for their services.

Legally recognized, property valuations must adhere to specific standards and guidelines set by professional bodies to ensure objectivity and accuracy. Valuations are often required for legal and financial purposes, such as mortgage applications, taxation, property settlements, or when dealing with deceased estates.

A property valuation involves an extensive examination of a property’s physical attributes, structural soundness, land size, zoning restrictions, improvements, and other factors that influence its value. 

Valuers use multiple methodologies to arrive at an accurate figure, considering not only the property itself but also macroeconomic factors and regulatory considerations to determine a fair market value.

Unlike real estate agents, valuers may not consider local demand and buyer sentiment in their evaluation. As a result, their estimate may appear more conservative than that you get from an appraisal. 

When you should consider getting an appraisal or valuation

Selling or buying property 

When considering the sale or purchase of a property, understanding its market value is crucial. A property appraisal is an essential first step as it provides a reasonable estimate to help set an appropriate sale price or guide your purchase decision. 

A property valuation, on the other hand, will be needed to satisfy lenders and insurers when it comes to obtaining finance, exchanging contracts and insuring your property.


When refinancing a mortgage, lenders often require an up-to-date property valuation to determine the property’s current value. This ensures that the loan amount is aligned with the property’s worth and assists in loan approval processes.

Rental income assessment 

Property appraisals are useful when assessing potential rental income for investment properties. Real estate agents can provide insights into the rental market, enabling property owners to set competitive rental rates and maximize returns.

Legal and financial matters 

Property valuations are essential for legal and financial purposes, such as taxation assessments, family law property settlements, or resolving disputes. They provide an unbiased and reliable assessment of a property’s value, ensuring fair outcomes in legal proceedings or financial transactions.


Summing up

Although they are similar in many ways, property appraisals and property valuations serve distinct purposes in the real estate landscape. Property appraisals provide an estimated market value based on recent sales data and property features, while property valuations offer a comprehensive assessment considering legal, financial, and physical factors.

Whether you are buying, selling, refinancing, or dealing with legal matters involving property, understanding the difference between appraisals and valuations can help you make informed decisions. It is advisable to consult with licensed professionals, such as real estate agents or certified valuers, to ensure you receive accurate assessments tailored to your specific needs.

Other buying, selling and investing articles and resources 

Guide to property investment success in NSW

Selling a house or apartment in NSW eBook

Buying a house or apartment in NSW eBook

Property investment in NSW FAQ’s

What is a property cycle and what drives a change? 

DiJones Real Estate, together with their directors, officers, employees and agents have used their best endeavours to ensure the information passed on in this document is accurate. However, you must make your own enquiries in relation to the information contained in this document and seek advice from your financial advisor, broker or accountant to ascertain its application to your circumstances.

This information is provided subject to our Terms and Conditions.