Real estate appraisal, property valuation or land valuation is the process of developing an opinion of value for real property (usually market value). Real estate transactions often require appraisals because they occur infrequently and every property is unique (especially their location, a key factor in valuation), unlike corporate stocks, which are traded daily and are identical (thus a centralized Walrasian auction like a stock exchange is unrealistic). Appraisal reports form the basis for mortgage loans, settling estates and divorces, taxation, and so on. Sometimes an appraisal report is used to establish a sale price for a property.
Most, but not all, countries require appraisers to be Licensed or Certified. Appraisers are often known as "property valuers" or "land valuers". If the appraiser's opinion is based on market value, then it must also be based on the highest and best use of the real property. Appraisals of more commercial properties (e.g., income-producing, raw land) are often reported in narrative format and competed by a Certified General Appraiser.