What is Value in Use for Land?

What is Value in Use for Land?
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Published By Jennifer Jewell

Question: What is value in use for land?

Answer: Value in use for land refers to the specific utility or purpose the land serves for its owner or user, which can influence its value.

What is Value in Use for Land? Understanding the Concept of Value in Use

Value in Use is a term that, while not commonly heard in everyday conversations, holds significant importance in the realm of real estate. At its core, Value in Use refers to the specific value of a property based on its current use, rather than its highest and best potential use. This value can differ significantly from the market value, which is the amount a property might fetch if sold on the open market.

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The Distinction Between Value in Use and Market Value

To truly grasp the concept of Value in Use, it’s essential to understand how it contrasts with Market Value. Market Value is the probable price a property would bring in a competitive and open market. On the other hand, Value in Use is determined by how a specific user utilizes the property, which might not always align with its highest and best use. [ 1 ]

For instance, consider a plot of land zoned for commercial use but currently houses an older residential structure. The Market Value of this land, considering its potential for commercial development, might be significantly higher than its Value in Use as a residential property.

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Related Article: What is Meant By Land Evaluation?
Related Article: What Three Things Determine the Value of Land?

Real-World Examples of Value in Use

Example 1: The Underutilized Property

Imagine a property located in a rapidly developing area, zoned for commercial use but currently used as a residence. The land, if vacant, might have a Market Value of $200,000. However, if it’s rented out as a residence for $1,000 per month, its Value in Use might be closer to $100,000. In this scenario, the Market Value is double the Value in Use, highlighting the potential lost due to its current use.

Example 2: The Over-Specialized Property

Conversely, there are situations where properties have a higher Value in Use than Market Value due to their specialized nature. Consider a factory designed for a specific tenant with unique requirements, such as specialized electrical components. The tenant might be willing to pay a premium for these customizations, leading to a higher Value in Use. However, these modifications might not appeal to the broader market, resulting in a lower Market Value.

When to Consider Value in Use

Value in Use appraisals are less common than Market Value appraisals. Typically, appraisers default to providing a Market Value unless directed otherwise. However, there are specific scenarios where Value in Use is more appropriate:

  • Tax Assessments: Some local property taxing authorities employ Value in Use evaluations, especially for specialty properties. This method can sometimes yield a higher tax value.

  • Title Insurance Claims: The title insurance industry might use either Market Value or Value in Use appraisals when settling title claims, depending on local laws and claim details.

  • Contract Disputes: Resolving real estate contract disputes might require appraisals. Depending on the contract language and local laws, Value in Use might be the preferred valuation method.

The Importance of Local Legislation

One of the primary factors influencing the decision between Market Value and Value in Use is local state statutes. Different regions have varying regulations regarding property valuation, and it’s crucial to be aware of these when seeking an appraisal.

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There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when determining whether a property’s value should be based on its Market Value or Value in Use. Each situation is unique, and the decision should be made based on the specific circumstances and local regulations. However, understanding the differences between these two valuation methods is crucial for anyone involved in real estate, from property owners to investors and appraisers.


1. https://cre.org/real-estate-issues/market-value-in-use-is-not-an-oxymoron/

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