The term is generally used to describe an expert opinion of the open market or existing use value of a property. An asset valuation can be incorporated into company accounts, where the ownership of the asset is not necessarily being transferred, but the valuation is of interest to, say, shareholders. It is also used for establishing the value of an asset for company takeovers, share floatations or mortgages.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' Appraisal and Valuation Manual is the valuer's standard book of reference for such matters. This sets out guidance notes and practice statements to be adopted by the valuer in order to ensure consistency of approach.