A growing part of my business in recent days has been in “pre-purchase appraisals,” whereby a prospective purchaser orders an appraisal of a property (especially commercial properties) before making a firm contract purchase offer. The benefit of this should be obvious, and can be very significant: by knowing in advance what the property is worth (and, by extension, what it is likely to appraise for when applying for mortgage financing), the prospective buyer can be confident that he/she is paying market value (and, only market value) for the property in question.
Another benefit of this (as with nearly all appraisals) is that I can identify well in advance whether the tax assessment is accurate. If not (that is, if the assessment is significantly higher than the market value estimate), then the new owner/purchaser can be prepared to challenge the tax assessment right away, usually without the need to order a new appraisal.
If you are currently considering purchasing a commercial property, you would be well advised to have an appraisal in hand prior to making a purchase offer. Doing so could save you thousands.