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Formal appraisals - When is one needed?


  1. Accurate valuation: A formal appraisal provides an objective and professional assessment of the practice’s value. It takes into account various factors such as financial performance, patient demographics, location, equipment, and goodwill. This helps ensure that the buyer pays a fair price based on the practice’s true worth.

  2. Negotiation leverage: Having a formal appraisal gives the buyer an advantage during negotiations. It provides a solid foundation for discussing the purchase price and terms with the seller. The appraisal report can be used as a reference to support the buyer’s position and provide justification for any requested adjustments.

  3. Financing requirements: Lenders often require a formal appraisal when providing financing for a practice acquisition. They need assurance that the practice has sufficient value to serve as collateral for the loan. Without a formal appraisal, it can be challenging to secure the necessary financing or negotiate favorable loan terms.

  4. Risk assessment: A comprehensive appraisal helps identify potential risks associated with the practice. It allows the buyer to evaluate the financial stability, patient retention rates, competitive landscape, and growth potential of the practice. This information is crucial for making an informed decision and mitigating risks associated with the acquisition.

  5. Legal protection: A formal appraisal can provide legal protection to both the buyer and seller. It establishes a documented record of the practice’s value at the time of the transaction, which can be crucial in case of any future disputes or legal issues.

  6. Transition planning: The appraisal report serves as a valuable tool for the buyer in developing a strategic transition plan. It provides insights into the practice’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for growth, allowing the buyer to make informed decisions regarding staffing, marketing, and operational improvements.

While a formal dental appraisal may involve some costs ($3000 – $5000) and time (usually a few weeks at least), it is a worthwhile investment to ensure a fair and informed purchase. It provides a comprehensive evaluation of the practice’s value, enhances the buyer’s negotiating position, satisfies financing requirements, and helps manage risks associated with the acquisition.

When are formal appraisals not needed?

1. Trust and familiarity: If the buyer is already familiar with the practice and has a high level of trust in the seller, they may feel more comfortable relying on their existing knowledge and relationship rather than obtaining a formal appraisal. This can be the case in situations where the buyer has been working as an associate in the practice or has a close professional relationship with the seller.

2.Seller financing or personal relationship: In some cases, the buyer and seller may have a personal relationship or an arrangement for seller financing. This can lead the buyer to place more emphasis on the terms of the sale and the ongoing support from the seller, rather than relying solely on a formal appraisal.

3.Well-established reputation: If the dental practice being purchased has a well-established reputation and a strong track record of success, the buyer may feel more confident in the value of the practice without a formal appraisal. This can be particularly true if the practice is located in a desirable area with a high demand for dental services.

4.Cost considerations: Formal dental appraisals can be costly, and in some cases, buyers may choose to forego a formal appraisal to save on expenses, especially if they feel confident in their own assessment of the practice’s value.

It’s important to note that while a formal dental appraisal may not be considered essential in certain situations, it’s generally recommended to conduct a thorough due diligence process when buying a dental practice. This may include reviewing financial records, assessing patient demographics, evaluating the physical assets and equipment, and seeking professional advice from accountants or dental consultants. Ultimately, the decision whether to pursue a formal dental appraisal or rely on other factors depends on the specific circumstances and risk tolerance of the buyer.

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