What is an appraisal?

An appraisal is a professionally prepared report documenting a reasoned conclusion of value for a specific purpose substantiated by facts. An appraisal may be used in the process of planning your estate, obtaining insurance coverage, settling a loss claim, to facilitate equitable distribution among heirs, for charitable contribution (donation) to a qualified nonprofit organization, to establish a new cost basis, to establish the cost-benefit of sale, for dissolution of marriage, or to determine estate tax, gift tax or income tax owed.

What if I just want to know what my stuff is worth?

As a rule, it does not make financial sense to pay for a professional appraisal report if you plan to sell an item or if you simply want to know its value. Auction companies can provide you with an estimate of the amount for which they believe they can sell the item; it is in their best self-interest to sell your item for the highest possible price, since this is the amount upon which their commission is based. If an auctioneer is not willing to offer your item for sale, that alone can be informative. If you own an object of significant value and wish to use a broker to streamline the sales process, please contact our office for a referral.

How long will it take to complete my appraisal?

Since each appraisal assignment is unique and the report is tailored to the specific needs of the assignment, the time required to complete a project varies. Factors that may affect the completion time of your project include the number of items to be addressed, the complexity of the market for each item category and the need for verification of documentation. Please inquire for an estimate of completion time for your appraisal requirements. Depending on our current workload, rush assignments can be expedited for an added fee.

How much will my appraisal cost?

Please see our Fees page. In accordance with professional ethics, our fees are based upon time and expenses incurred, never on the value of the items appraised.

How do I begin the appraisal process?

After we have accepted the assignment and the contract has been signed, the next step is the examination of the objects, usually where the property is located. We travel nationwide. With an appointment, you are welcome to bring items to our Monrovia office location. Please call for an appointment. The research process usually takes place over a period of weeks after the collection has been properly measured, described and photographed. Please inquire. Any invoices or other original paperwork documenting the history and acquisition of the pieces frequently prove helpful.

What does the complete appraisal document include?

Our appraisal reports include discussion of the scope of work performed, definition of the type of value used citing its source, item identification and description, condition report, photographs, discussion and analysis of markets selected, substantiated opinions of value, a signed confidentiality statement, glossary, bibliography, list of sources, and the signed USPAP certification.

What type of value do I need for my personal property appraisal?

The appropriate type of value for your appraisal will depend on the intended use of the document; this is determined by law, contract, or agreement. Be sure to discuss the intended use for your appraisal with your financial, legal, or insurance professional. The correct type of value will be used in your appraisal document. Feel free to contact our office if we may answer a question about types of value.