Certified Appraiser of Autographed Documents

Find a Qualified Tangible Personal Property Appraiser

By: Brian Kathenes, ISA, CAPP
Managing Partner,
National Appraisal Consultants, LLC

Appraisals satisfy a variety of needs and legal requirements. At some point in our lives (or at perhaps at the end of it) we will all need the services of an appraiser. How well this appraiser provides his or her services will directly impact your financial status, tax liability, insurance needs, buying decisions, and perhaps how much time you spend trying to correct the mistakes of an unqualified appraiser. This article will cover two very basic elements of every qualified appraisal.

Scary thought:  Anyone can call himself or herself an appraiser.  There are no state laws in any state, that I know of, related to the qualifications of a personal property appraiser.  The responsibility of selecting a qualified appraiser falls upon you. There are dozens of recent incidents, and court cases, of unqualified people that got themselves, and their clients, into big trouble, by selecting an unqualified, untrained appraiser.

One way to avoid these untrained appraisal pirates is to understand that an appraisal is a formal, written document, or verbal statement, prepared by a qualified appraiser. The report contains an unbiased opinion of value, along with the documentation to support their value conclusion.

Every appraisal has a “purpose” and an “intended use” (or assigned use). The “use” is the reason the appraisal is being conducted.  Appropriate “uses” may include: estate tax liability, insurance coverage, charitable contribution (donation), equitable distribution (for perhaps divorce), estate planning, casualty loss, or pending sale.

The “purpose” is the value or cost being reported.  Fair market value, estimated replacement cost, salvage value, restoration cost, or orderly liquidation value are all examples of appropriate “purposes” of an appraisal.

Both the “purpose” and “the intended use” of the appraisal must be clearly stated in every report; verbal or written.

Appraisals must not mislead the reader. It must report a value conclusion based on proper research and accepted appraisal methodology. Although dealers and collectors may be very familiar with the prices of any type of tangible personal property, few know the appropriate and required procedures for presenting these value conclusions in a qualified, defensible appraisal report.

Ask for a sample appraisal report and check to see if it contains both the defined use and the stated purpose.  If the sample does not contain both of these basic elements of a qualified appraisal, look for a professionally trained and tested appraiser.  You’ll find trained, tested, and certified personal property appraisers at:  www.YourFavoriteAppraisers.com

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