Updated: Jul 21, 2020
Do you have antiques, collectibles, estate jewelry, firearms or family heirlooms? Do you have a rough idea of what they’re worth or think you know? How about in today’s market? And not, what grandma told you….
The reason I bring this up? I am often contacted when someone is looking to insure those special items or attempt to pre-determine a projected value before selling them. Also, there are those cases when a donation value is needed for tax purposes. In most of these instances you must seek out a personal property appraisal.
1) Would I need a personal property appraisal ? 2) What should I have appraised? 3) What kind of appraiser do I need? 4) How will an appraiser figure the value of my items? 5) Will the intent of my appraisal need affect the valuation? 6) Should I consider insuring my more valuable items or am I covered ?
Would I need a personal property appraisal ?
Many believe they “already know” or have an educated guess, and they might, but that may not be enough. An experienced personal property appraiser is skilled in determining an item’s value using the current market trends, specialized tools you probably don’t have access to and other expert colleagues in the field. Plus, while your guess may be educated, they will not hold water with your insurance company, an estate attorney, or the IRS.
For these reasons, a professional appraiser can provide the proper documentation you need for:
• Estate settlements • Insurance purposes • Sales or charitable donations
If you've never had an appraisal in the past, you might not know what to expect, here’s a quick overview of the process, as well as how to choose an appraiser. Plus I want to cover what happens during and after the actual appraisal is conducted.
What Items Should I have Appraised?
I am asked this often and I hate to see people waste money on an appraisal for something that is either, “A” covered in general insurance, without the need for an additional rider or “B” is just not worth paying for the additional coverage. So generally asking the right question of your insurance agent or the appraiser during the initial consultation should save you some valuable time (which is money) to an appraiser.
The most often requested appraisals are for, expensive jewelry, antiques, valuable collections, sterling silver, vintage watches, porcelain, paintings and other works of art.
Generally, it can’t hurt to ask about any item you believe may have significant value. Also, a little DIY research about your item or similar items online might help too.