Depreciation is a crucial concept in property appraisal that determines the value of a property. It refers to the loss of value over time due to wear and tear, obsolescence, or any other factor that affects a property’s condition. In real estate, depreciation can be either physical or functional, and both can have a significant impact on a property’s appraisal. In this article, we will discuss the concept of depreciation and how it is factored into a property’s appraisal.

Physical Depreciation

Physical depreciation refers to the loss of value due to the aging and deterioration of a property’s physical components, such as the foundation, roof, walls, and other structural elements. This type of depreciation can be caused by various factors, including weather conditions, natural disasters, and normal wear and tear. Physical depreciation is the most common type of depreciation and is factored into a property’s appraisal by subtracting the estimated cost of repair or replacement from the property’s total value.

For example, suppose a property’s roof is in poor condition and requires immediate replacement. In that case, the appraiser will estimate the cost of replacement and subtract it from the property’s total value to determine the final appraisal value. The same applies to other components of the property, such as the foundation, windows, and doors.

Functional Depreciation

Functional depreciation refers to the loss of value due to the property’s functional obsolescence, which occurs when a property no longer meets the needs or demands of the market. This type of depreciation is typically caused by changes in technology, design, or lifestyle that make a property less desirable or functional.

For example, suppose a property was built in the 1980s and has not undergone any significant renovations. In that case, it may have outdated features, such as old appliances or poor insulation, that make it less appealing to buyers. The appraiser will take these factors into account and adjust the property’s value accordingly.

Depreciation and Appraisal

When appraising a property, the appraiser considers both physical and functional depreciation to determine the property’s value. The appraiser will conduct a thorough inspection of the property to identify any physical deterioration and estimate the cost of repair or replacement. Additionally, the appraiser will research the local real estate market to determine how the property’s features and condition compare to other properties in the area.

Once the appraiser has gathered all the necessary information, they will use one of three methods to determine the property’s value: the cost approach, the income approach, or the sales comparison approach. The method used will depend on the type of property being appraised and the local real estate market conditions.


Depreciation is an essential factor in determining a property’s appraisal value. Physical and functional depreciation can have a significant impact on a property’s value, and it is the appraiser’s responsibility to identify and account for these factors. When buying or selling a property, understanding the concept of depreciation and how it is factored into the property’s appraisal can help ensure that you receive a fair and accurate valuation. If you have any questions about the appraisal process, it is best to consult with a qualified appraiser or real estate professional.