What are the Three Main Valuation Methods for Investors?

What are the Three Main Valuation Methods for Investors?
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Published By Jennifer Jewell

Question: What are the three main valuation methods for real estate investors?

Answer: The three main valuation methods are the income approach, the sales comparison approach, and the cost approach.

What are the Three Main Valuation Methods for Investors? How to Choose the Appropriate Valuation Method

Valuation methods are used by investors to estimate the worth of an investment. This is an important step in the investment process, as it helps investors to make informed decisions about which investments to pursue. There are a number of different valuation methods that can be used, but the three most common methods are the income approach, the sales comparison approach, and the cost approach.

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Related Article: What is the Difference Between Investment Appraisal and Valuation?
Related Article: How Do You Determine Investment Value?

Income Approach Explained

Let’s talk about the income approach. This approach is all about looking at the future. Specifically, it calculates an investment’s value based on the income we expect it to bring in down the road. Real estate, businesses, and other assets that will make money over time are perfect candidates for this method. First, you’ve got to make a smart guess about how much money the asset will pull in in the future. To do that, check out past performance, what’s going on in the industry, and other important details. Once you’ve got that future income number in your head, you bring it back to today’s dollars using a discount rate. Think of the discount rate like a risk meter; the riskier the investment, the higher the discount rate, and that means the present value of the future cash is lower. [ 1 ]

Sales Comparison Approach Simplified

Now, let’s dive into the sales comparison approach. Imagine you’re shopping for something and want to know if you’re getting a good deal. You’d probably look at similar items, right? That’s exactly what this approach does for investments, especially real estate and other assets you can easily trade. First, find other assets that are pretty much the same and have been sold recently. Then, take a good look at what makes your asset similar or different from these others. Make any necessary price adjustments for those differences. Finally, average out those adjusted prices, and voila, you’ve got your estimated value for your asset.

Understanding the Cost Approach

On to the cost approach. This one is pretty straightforward. How much would it cost to replace the asset you’re looking at? That’s the question we’re answering here. This method is great for stuff that’s unique or not sold often, like custom houses or special gear. First, tally up all the costs—materials, labor, the whole nine yards. Then, factor in depreciation, which is just a fancy way of saying that stuff gets old and less valuable over time. After all that, you’ve got your estimated asset value.

Choosing the Right Valuation Method

So, how do you pick which method to use? It really depends on what you’re trying to value and what info you’ve got on hand. If you’ve got something that’s bought and sold all the time, like houses or stocks, the sales comparison approach is probably your best bet. If it’s something unique, like a custom house or special equipment, go with the cost approach. And if it’s something that’s going to bring in money over a bunch of years, like real estate or a business, the income approach is the way to go.

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Valuation methods are an important tool for investors. By understanding the different valuation methods and how to use them, investors can make more informed decisions about which investments to pursue.

Additional Tips for Investors

Here are some additional tips for investors using valuation methods:

  • Use multiple valuation methods: When valuing an investment, it is a good idea to use multiple valuation methods. This will help to reduce the risk of error.

  • Consider the future: When valuing an investment, it is important to consider the future. This includes factors such as economic growth, industry trends, and the competitive landscape.

  • Get professional advice: If you are unsure about how to value an investment, it is a good idea to get professional advice from a financial advisor or other investment expert.

By following these tips, investors can improve their chances of making wise investment decisions.


1. https://eqvista.com/company-valuation/3-methods-of-company-valuation/#:~:text=The%20most%20common%20are%20the,approach%2C%20and%20market%20value%20approach.

Jennifer Jewell Avatar

Jennifer Jewell, a licensed real estate representative serving Caledon, Orangeville, Shelburne, Dufferin County and Peel. A graduate of both Humber College and the Ontario Real Estate College Jennifer earned her stripes selling a high volume of real estate in the city, gaining the experience of handling twenty-plus multiple offer situations with a top one percent, multiple award-winning real estate group. A ten-year resident of Dufferin County Jennifer made the move north and quickly made a name for herself, with a reputation for tenaciously protecting her client’s interests. Jennifer is dedicated to serving you with savvy client-focused negotiations and state-of-the-art marketing strategies. Loyal clientele, personal referrals and repeat business form the foundation of Jennifer’s career offering seamless assistance to you for every aspect of your home purchase or sale. Contributor to the Toronto Star, Orangeville Banner and Caledon Citizen as well as being named ThreeBest Rated Five years straight with over 150+ Google reviews and growing. Get in touch with Jen here.