What You Need to Know
Do all appraisers have similar qualifications and training?
In short, no. Unlike real estate appraisers, few states require any licensing of personal property appraisers. Many "appraisers" have not completed any professional education in specialty areas or valuation methodology.
Specialty Asset Appraisals has been trained, tested and credentialed by the International Society of Appraisers (ISA). ISA is the largest of the professional personal property appraisal associations representing the most highly trained and rigorously tested independent appraisers in the United States and Canada. Few appraisal organizations require their members to take specific coursework or pass comprehensive exams before being considered accredited.
Be cautious. Some appraisers are describing their credentials as "USPAP Certified." According to the Appraisal Foundation and the Appraisal Qualifications Board, “there is no such credential. The use of the expression ‘USPAP Certified Appraiser’ is misleading. Completing a USPAP course does not entitle one to call oneself a ‘USPAP Certified Appraiser’.”
Please find Stephanie Daugherty's credentials here: https://www.isa-appraisers.org/find-an-appraiser/profile/11292/stephanie-a-daugherty
The appraisers on the Antiques Roadshow know the value of the property in front of them immediately. Will you know the value as soon as you see my property?
The Antiques Roadshow has helped give the importance of appraising personal property nationwide attention. However, it is important to note that professional appraisers adhere to strict ethical codes and report writing guidelines. I may know the value of your property immediately given my past experiences and familiarity with the market, but this opinion must be substantiated by research and analysis.
The appraisers featured on the Antiques Roadshow are specialists who research the property either prior to the show and/or after filming. Any corrections to the identification, value determinations, or cost estimates of an item are made before the episode is aired. Although the public will only see a sound bite, the appraisers conduct market research behind the scenes to determine the value of the property.
How will you handle an appraisal of property outside your area of expertise?
An appraiser cannot be an expert in every type of personal property. A good professional appraiser knows his or her limits and knows when it is time to consult with a specific expert. My experience as a former Curator and Appraiser has allowed me to develop an extensive and varied network of experts who can assist when necessary.
What's the difference between identification and authentication?
While related, the terms identification and authentication have distinct meanings when it comes to appraising personal property. Appraisers discern the nature of the property, with special emphasis given to those characteristics that contribute to or detract from its value or cost. USPAP states that an essential element in all appraisals is an adequate identification of the which, "which should accurately describe the property within its market." (Core Course Manual, 9-2). The process of identification is the scientific determination of quantitative or intrinsic elements. What is the property? Is it a painting or a print? Accurate identification is imperative for ranking the subject property alongside similar items in order to arrive at a sense of relative value. Identification is the first step in the authentication process in appraising the property.
Authenticators are experts that have an extraordinary level of knowledge and familiarity with a specific property. Unlike identification, it is rarely definitive or absolute, but rather an informed decision using the facts available. This opinion is subject to change, especially when new information is uncovered regarding the property.
Will you authenticate my property?
While an appraiser must always identify items of personal property, few appraisers authenticate items of personal property. Normally, appraisers rely on recognized experts to ascertain genuineness when authentication is required by the specific needs of the assignment. Because of the existence of fakes and forgeries in the personal property field, the appraiser must apply due diligence to determine if authentication is required.
What can I expect during an Appraisal assignment?
Initial consultation (either by phone or email)
Identification of the Scope of Work and Intended Use (transmitted to the client in a formal proposal)
Review and approval of a service agreement
Setting a date for on-site inspection & inventory of the property
Market research and analysis
Determined value/estimated costs (depending on the intended use)
Compilation of research results in a written, USPAP compliant, Appraisal Report (available in PDF and hardcopy, if needed)
I just want to know what my property is worth and don't need a formal report. Can you give me a "verbal" appraisal?
We believe that the best way to serve our clients is through formal appraisal reports, which are developed and written according to strict ethical codes and professional standards. Many appraisers also act as brokers or provide auction services. These professionals are more likely to provide free estimates for those who are interested in selling their property. If you do not need an appraisal report for the intended uses of federal tax functions or insurance, I suggest reaching out to a reputable auction house.