What is a “qualified appraiser”?

This is a term used by the Internal Revenue Service, which stipulates that appraisals for tax purposes (such as estate and donation) must be provided by an appraiser who has particular qualifications. The appraiser must have earned an appraisal designation from a recognized appraisal organization, demonstrate competency and meet minimum education and experience requirements. Specifics can be viewed here: IRS code, Section 170(f)(11)(E)(ii)

Why is it important to hire a “qualified appraiser”?

A qualified appraiser has formal education in appraisal theory, principles, procedures, ethics and law. There are many self-acclaimed personal property appraisers who have not completed any professional education. While a great deal of information is available to the general public, especially on the internet, only a trained appraiser can interpret the data properly and write a qualified appraisal report.

What do I receive for the appraisal fee?

Clients receive two original copies of a formal, itemized report with values and one set of printed digital images. Images are numbered to correspond with the items listed in the appraisal report. Additional copies of the report and extra sets of printed images are available upon request. For our clients convenience, completed appraisal reports can be emailed in PDF format.

What does the appraisal process entail?

Generally, the client contacts our office to discuss their appraisal needs and schedule an appointment for an appraiser to visit the residence. The appraiser compiles either a room-by-room inventory (useful for estate appraisals) or an inventory by category (preferred for insurance appraisals). The appraiser will be thorough and efficient and will document the objects to be appraised with notes and digital images. Usually, items of lesser value that do not need to be itemized will be grouped together as miscellaneous. The appraiser then brings the data back to the office, where the information is put into our computer, research is conducted and a written report is generated. Please note, all information pertaining to clients and their possessions are held strictly confidential.

How do you arrive at value conclusions?

Appraisers interpret market data based on the intended use of the appraisal report. Very often, values are determined by using the “sales comparison approach,” one of three approaches to value. This method involves comparing an object with similar items that are sold within a market that is considered to be the most common for that item. We consider various markets and review recent sale prices. Quality, condition and desirability are also considered as these elements affect value conclusions. A number of resources are utilized that may include sales at local, regional or national auction houses, used furniture and consignment shops, antique stores, galleries, retail stores, specialty dealers and subscription internet databases.