Value for You and Me
Value is, of course, a subjective rather than an objective term. If a buyer favors a detached house with a garden somewhere in the Cornish countryside, your two-bedroom apartment in central London is of little value to him or her. Even small features like the size of windows are worth more or less to different people. The forces influencing the value of property include the property features and its location; social institutions in the area; wage levels; tax codes; and also building zones and environmental legislation. It does make a difference whether a flat is in Sheffield or Swindon, whether the next good school is two or ten miles away, and whether it is a 12th floor flat with a view onto Hyde Park or a basement flat with a view of by-passers' footwear.
Price vs. Value
The appraisal methods discussed below are theoretical approaches to the question of value and help you estimate the worth of your property in accordance with overall market trends and your personal investment calculations. In practice, however, it is the free market, i.e. the forces of supply and demand, which decide what amount of money a house changes hands for.
There may be a substantial gap between subjective valuations and the fluctuations of the free market. Thus, the subjective value of a property rarely corresponds to its actual price. The forces of supply and demand cannot be scientifically predicted. You might be lucky and be approached three days after you put up the "For Sale" sign, by someone who is in desperate need of a property just like yours and possesses the necessary funds to pay the price you are asking for. On the other hand, there might be many similar houses like yours on the market, and the lack of buyers may force you to cut the asking price. Every property valuation can only ever be a guideline to what your house will eventually change hands for.