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How To Do Property Valuation

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Wonder what your house or a house you might buy is worth? The short answer is easy: A house is worth whatever someone will pay for it. The long answer depends on the market and whether you’re asking a lender, an agent or a county tax assessor. 

The real estate market can be a complex and dynamic landscape. Thus, knowing how to calculate your home’s value with the help of online tools and trained professionals better prepares you to buy, sell, refinance, tap into your home’s equity or even negotiate lower property taxes, whether you are planning to buy or sell a residential or commercial property.

Key Takeaways: 

  • The value of a property is heavily influenced by its location. 
  • Conduct a comparative market analysis by examining recent sales of similar properties in the area. 
  • The condition of the property plays a crucial role in determining its value. Factors such as age, maintenance history, and upgrades or renovations
  • Appraisers use industry-standard methods to assess various factors and provide an unbiased estimate of the property’s value.

What is the Market Value of Property?

The market value of property is a fundamental concept in the real estate industry. It is the price at which a property can be sold on the open market between a willing buyer and a seller. In this case, both parties are well-informed about the property. Thus, they are not under any compulsion to buy or sell. Market value often differs from the assessed or appraised value, which is useful for taxation purposes.

It is essentially the worth of a property as determined by market forces. This can be done by considering various factors that affect its value.

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Benefits of Calculating Market Value of Property

Calculating the market value of a property offers numerous benefits for home buyers. At the same time, sellers can also benefit from the information. Here are some key advantages:

Informed Decision-Making

Knowing the market value empowers both buyers and sellers to make informed decisions. Buyers can determine if a property is priced fairly. On the other hand, sellers can set a competitive asking price.

Accurate Pricing

For sellers, accurately pricing a property based on its market value increases the sale chances. Overpricing can discourage potential buyers, while underpricing can lead to financial loss.

Negotiation Advantage

With knowledge of a property’s market value, buyers and sellers have an advantage in negotiations. They can confidently make and respond to offers, leading to smoother transactions.


Lenders use the market value to assess the property’s worth, which can influence the mortgage terms. Knowing the market value can help buyers secure favourable financing.

Property Tax Assessment

Property taxes are often based on the assessed value, which the market value can influence. Accurate valuation can prevent overpayment of property taxes.

Investment Decisions

Real estate investors rely on market value calculations to evaluate potential investments. It also helps to assess the return on investment and determine rental rates.

How to Calculate Property Value in Real Estate

The property value of a real estate asset, such as a commercial building or office space, is the estimated price at which a property can be sold in the open markets.

Broadly put, the estimated market value ascribed to a specific property is determined by the market demand and supply available at the present date.

  • Market Demand: The amount of interest from potential investors (and buyers) in the market to purchase or acquire real estate in a specific market.
  • Market Supply: The amount of real estate (e.g. properties, land) available for sale in the market.

If the market supply remains constant while market demand increases, the property values in the market should expect to rise, all else being equal.

Therefore, property values constantly fluctuate based on the current balance between market demand and supply, among other factors such as the interest rate environment (i.e. the cost of borrowing).

For a property value estimate to hold weight, the property must have been marketed transparently – i.e. via non-deceptive marketing or concealing material information influential on the fair value of a property – such as leaking ceilings or damages.

The two parties involved in the real estate transaction – the buyer and the seller – must have both acted with knowledge of all material information regarding the property, without compulsion and formally agreed to the sale on their own accord.

Factors Influencing Property Value

Property value is influenced by a multitude of factors, each playing a significant role in shaping its perceived worth in the market.

Location and Neighborhood

The old adage in real estate, “location, location, location,” rings true when it comes to determining property value. Factors such as proximity to amenities, quality of schools, safety of the neighborhood, and access to transportation networks all contribute to the desirability and, consequently, the value of a property.

Property Size and Layout

The size and layout of a property also impact its value. Larger properties with spacious layouts tend to command higher prices compared to smaller, cramped spaces. Features such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and living areas, as well as the overall functionality and flow of the layout, influence the perceived value of a property.

Condition and Age of the Property

The condition and age of a property play a pivotal role in determining its value. Well-maintained properties with modern amenities and up-to-date infrastructure typically fetch higher prices than properties in need of repair or renovation. 

Market Conditions and Trends

Property value is inherently tied to market conditions and trends. Factors such as supply and demand dynamics, interest rates, economic indicators, and consumer sentiment all influence property values. 

In a seller’s market with high demand and limited inventory, property values tend to appreciate, while in a buyer’s market with ample supply and subdued demand, property values may stagnate or decline.

Economic Factors and Interest Rates

Economic factors, including inflation rates, employment levels, and GDP growth, directly impact property values. Changes in interest rates, mortgage availability, and lending standards also influence affordability and purchasing power, thereby affecting property demand and prices.

Methods of Property Valuation

Property valuation relies on various methods, each offering unique insights into the worth of a property in the market.

Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is a widely used method for determining property value. Real estate professionals analyze recent sales data of similar properties (comparables) in the same geographic area to establish a fair market value for the subject property. 

Factors such as size, location, condition, and amenities are considered when selecting comparables, allowing for a comprehensive assessment of the property’s value relative to others in the market.

Income Approach

The Income Approach to property valuation is commonly used for income-generating properties, such as rental units or commercial buildings. This method calculates the property’s value based on its potential income stream. 

By estimating the property’s net operating income (NOI) and applying a capitalization rate (cap rate) that reflects the property’s risk and return profile, investors can determine the property’s present value as an investment asset.

Cost Approach

The Cost Approach assesses the value of a property by determining the cost of rebuilding or replacing it. This method considers the current construction costs, depreciation factors, and land value to arrive at the property’s value. 

The Cost Approach is particularly useful for unique properties or in situations where there is limited comparable sales data available.

Sales Comparison Approach

The Sales Comparison Approach, similar to CMA, evaluates the property’s value by comparing it to similar properties that have recently sold in the market. Real estate appraisers assess the subject property’s features, characteristics, and condition relative to comparable properties to determine its fair market value. 

This approach is widely used in residential real estate transactions and provides valuable insights into current market trends and pricing dynamics.

Role of Appraisals in Determining Property Value

Property appraisals play a crucial role in the property valuation process, providing an independent and unbiased assessment of a property’s worth.

Overview of Property Appraisals

Property appraisals involve a comprehensive evaluation of a property’s physical attributes, condition, location, and market dynamics. Licensed appraisers conduct on-site inspections, review comparable sales data, and consider various valuation methods to arrive at an accurate appraisal value.

Importance of Appraisals in Real Estate Transactions

Appraisals are integral to real estate transactions, helping lenders, buyers, and sellers determine the fair market value of a property. Lenders rely on appraisals to assess the property’s collateral value and determine loan eligibility and terms. 

Buyers use appraisals to ensure they are paying a fair price for the property, while sellers use them to justify their asking price and negotiate effectively.

Factors Considered in Property Appraisals

Property appraisers consider a range of factors when conducting appraisals, including property size, location, condition, recent sales data, market trends, and zoning regulations. By carefully analyzing these factors, appraisers provide an objective assessment of the property’s value, free from bias or subjective influences.

Differences Between Appraised Value and Market Value

It’s important to note that the appraised value of a property may differ from its market value. While appraisals provide a professional opinion of a property’s worth based on current market conditions and valuation methods, market value reflects the price a willing buyer and seller would agree upon in an open and competitive market. 

The table below outlines the most notable appraisal methods used by practitioners:

CRE Appraisal MethodDescription
Sales Comparison The sales comparison approach (SCA), one of the more intuitive methods to value a property, involves compiling data regarding the recent prices paid to purchase comparable properties in the same location and using either the mean or median as a benchmark to guide pricing.Other internal factors to consider include the size of the property (e.g. sq. footage), the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, amenities, property condition (i.e. repairs), etc.
Income Approach – Direct Capitalization MethodThe income approach, frequently used in the commercial real estate (CRE) market, estimates the value of properties based on their implied revenue potential and capitalization rate (or “cap rate”).Initially, the net operating income (NOI) of a property is calculated, and then the property’s NOI is divided by its cap rate to arrive at a property value estimate.Note that there is much overlap between the sales comparison approach and the income approach.
Income Approach – Gross Rent Multiplier (GRM)The gross rent multiplier (GRM) method is often categorized under the income approach.The GRM method determines the market value of a property by multiplying the gross rent multiplier (GRM) by the property’s annual gross rental income.The formula to compute the GRM divides the sale price of a property by its annual gross rental income, which can be rearranged to isolate the price variable.
Cost Approach – Replacement Cost MethodUnder the cost approach method, the approximate value of a property is calculated by estimating the total cost incurred to replace (i.e. the replacement value), or “rebuild” the asset(s) from scratch.The included costs are items such as land costs, labor expenses, and construction expenditures.In comparison to the income approach, the cost approach is less prevalent, as the method is usually only used if recent sales data is limited, or if the property has been non-operational.
DCF AnalysisBuilding a discounted cash flow (DCF) model to value a property starts by projecting the future free cash flow to equity (FCFE) of the real estate project and then discounting them back to the present date – i.e. the original date of purchase – using an appropriate discount rate.Since the cash flow projected is free cash flow to equity (FCFE), the coinciding discount rate to use is the cost of equity.The magnitude of the discount rate should reflect the risk-return profile of the property investment, or said differently, the target internal rate of return (IRR) of the investor.The implied property value derived from the DCF represents the price that the investor should be willing to offer to proceed with the investment, i.e. the potential return validates taking on the project’s risk.While the DCF approach is far more common in valuing non-real estate corporations – as opposed to real estate properties (and REITs) – the method can still technically be used here.

External Factors Affecting Property Value

Beyond intrinsic property attributes, external factors significantly impact property values and market dynamics.

Zoning Regulations and Land Use

Zoning regulations dictate how land can be used and developed within specific areas. Changes in zoning laws, such as rezoning for commercial or residential purposes, can influence property values by altering the neighborhood’s character and potential for development.

Environmental Factors

Environmental considerations, such as proximity to natural amenities (e.g., parks, waterfronts) or environmental hazards (e.g., pollution, flooding), affect property values. Properties located in pristine environments often command higher prices, while those in areas prone to environmental risks may experience reduced demand and values.

Infrastructure and Development Projects

Investments in infrastructure, such as transportation networks, schools, and public amenities, can enhance property values by improving accessibility and quality of life. Conversely, ongoing construction projects or infrastructure deficiencies may detract from property values in the short term but could lead to appreciation once completed.

Demographic Trends and Population Growth

Demographic shifts, including population growth, migration patterns, and changes in household composition, influence property demand and values. Areas experiencing population growth due to job opportunities or lifestyle preferences typically see increased demand for housing, driving up property values.

Strategies for Increasing Property Value

Property owners can implement strategic measures to enhance the value of their properties and maximize returns on investment.

Home Renovations and Improvements

Investing in home renovations and improvements can significantly increase property value by modernizing features, enhancing functionality, and improving aesthetics. Focus areas may include kitchen and bathroom upgrades, flooring replacement, and energy-efficient enhancements.

Curb Appeal Enhancements

First impressions matter in real estate. Enhancing curb appeal through landscaping, exterior renovations, and maintenance projects can elevate the perceived value of a property and attract potential buyers or tenants.

Energy Efficiency Upgrades

Incorporating energy-efficient features, such as insulated windows, energy-efficient appliances, and solar panels, can enhance the sustainability and value of a property. Energy-efficient homes often command higher prices and appeal to environmentally conscious buyers.

Neighborhood Revitalization Initiatives

Engaging in neighborhood revitalization initiatives, such as community beautification projects, infrastructure improvements, and neighborhood watch programs, can contribute to a sense of community pride and positively impact property values over time.

Common Misconceptions About Property Value

Despite efforts to understand property value, several misconceptions persist among buyers, sellers, and investors.

Property Tax Assessments vs. Market Value

Property tax assessments, determined by local tax authorities, often differ from a property’s market value. While tax assessments serve as a basis for property taxation, they may not accurately reflect current market conditions or true property worth.

Emotional Attachments and Perceived Value

Buyers and sellers may develop emotional attachments to properties, influencing their perceived value. Emotional biases can lead to unrealistic pricing expectations or missed opportunities for negotiation, highlighting the importance of relying on objective valuation methods.

Market Speculation and Pricing Strategies

Speculative market trends and pricing strategies may inflate or deflate property values temporarily. It’s essential to differentiate between short-term market fluctuations and long-term value appreciation when assessing property worth.


Estimating the value of a home you want to buy helps with deciding an offer price. And knowing your own home’s value can help with setting a listing price and estimating how much  equity you’ll pocket when the property sells.  

But the benefits of finding a home’s value don’t end with a purchase or sale: Refinances, home equity lines of credit, and annual property taxes are all based on home value. Determining your home’s value means greater control over these processes.   

For example, you can file an appeal with your local assessor’s office — and may be rewarded with a lower tax bill — if you think your property tax assessment was too high and provide evidence to prove your case.


How can I estimate the value of my property in Nigeria without hiring a professional appraiser?

You can estimate the value of your property in Nigeria by conducting a comparative market analysis. Research recent sales of similar properties in your area and consider factors like location, size, condition, and amenities. Additionally, online property valuation tools and platforms may provide rough estimates based on available data, although they may not be as accurate as a professional appraisal.

What role does location play in determining the value of property in Nigeria?

Location is a critical factor in determining property value in Nigeria. Properties located in desirable areas with access to amenities such as schools, hospitals, transportation hubs, and commercial centers tend to have higher values. Conversely, properties in less desirable or remote locations may have lower values. When assessing property value, consider the neighborhood’s infrastructure, safety, and proximity to essential services.

How do I account for potential income when determining the value of an investment property in Nigeria?

When determining the value of an investment property in Nigeria, consider its potential income-generating capacity. For rental properties, analyze rental rates in the area, vacancy rates, and projected rental income. Subtract estimated expenses such as property taxes, maintenance costs, and property management fees to calculate the property’s net operating income (NOI). Apply a capitalization rate (cap rate) based on market trends and investor expectations to determine the property’s value based on its income potential.

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