• Olivia Proudley

Desktop v Physical Valuations - when are they appropriate?



When it comes to the valuation of assets, property and businesses, there are two main appraisal options available to you; a desktop or physical.


A desktop valuation is essentially what it says on the tin, a valuation carried out from a computer based on information provided and carrying out market research. The required information can include asset make and model, specification, photographs, finance documents, descriptions, repair costings, property addresses, title documentation, lease documentation etc. The more information we are provided, the more of a reasoned and informed valuation we can produce.


A physical valuation is a more in-depth appraisal process which can be relied upon with a higher degree of certainty due to the valuer having actually seen and inspected the asset. For a property, this would involve a walk-around inspection of the property, land and surrounding area. For a chattel assets, it allows the valuer to appraise the physical condition of an asset in much more detail and may identify areas that impact the value that may not be ascertainable from photographs.


There are of course, multiple limitations to using a desktop valuation. It makes numerous assumptions, and any deviation from these assumptions would impact on the value of the asset or property.


These assumptions may include:

  • All machinery is CE certified, where applicable

  • The client holds full title to the asset or property

  • There is full compliance with all applicable environmental, health, safety and welfare legislation

  • Information provided by other parties is assumed to be reliable and no warranty is given for its accuracy

  • Property is assumed to be in good condition and that a building survey would not reveal defects that would result in a material change to the valuation

  • Services are in working order and free from defects

  • The asset or property is free from contamination and hazardous substances


Particularly with property, desktop valuations can be challenging. There is information that can be sourced online, in terms of title documentations, previous sale prices and even previous sale listings that document the condition of the property at the time it was marketed. However, without recent photographs, there is no way of determining the current internal and external condition of the property. Planning portals can be used to check for any consented works to the property but this does not cover any works carried out without consent. For flats in particular, it can be very difficult to source information online and even to determine how many bedrooms a property may have.


For chattel assets, it can be very difficult to find historic sale prices, as there is no central database like there is the Land Registry for property. We can source active bids from dealers for assets, look at similar assets we have recently sold and talk to other agents. We can also research auction sold prices, although these have to be analysed to reflect the auction’s limited marketing period when compared with an open market sale.


So, when are desktop valuations appropriate? Due to the less work involved, they are usually more cost effective than a physical appraisal and can be used to give an early indication of potential value in an asset or property. Desktop appraisals can give an estimate of value to indicate whether a physical inspection is required. They are also used when a company doesn’t have any physical assets, and a valuation is carried out of the intellectual property and goodwill.


At Proudley Associates, we carry out both desktop and physical valuations for all types of assets, property and businesses. Our team has extensive experience in carrying out these valuations and are always happy to take a look at anything and advise if we can work with you.


If we can be of assistance to you or any of your clients, please do not hesitate to get in touch on 01425 200366 or op@proudleyassociates.com