Appraisal Basics – How to Prepare for Appraisal Process

How to Prepare for a Personal Property Appraisal

There are many things you can do before and during the appraisal process that will help us to work effectively and reduce unnecessary project costs.

Before the Appraisal Assignment Begins

Be Clear About Your Appraisal Needs:

Why do you need an appraisal? What items do you want to include? Are they part of an estate, being donated, needing insurance, part of a damage claim, involved in a divorce, being split among beneficiaries, or what? Are you the client or someone else representing the client? What is your time frame, and who will be paying for the appraisal services?

Check Us Out:

Review our website and association listings to see if our expertise meets your needs.

Contact Us:

You can use the easy Contact Form on our website, or you can call, text or email us. Let us know your needs!

Send Us Photos:

We often ask our clients to send us photographs of the items to be appraised, if there aren’t too many, so we can get an idea of what we would be appraising.

Finalize the Appraisal Assignment Details:

Whether a full appraisal assignment contract is being used or whether instructions are outlined in an email, make sure that you and your appraiser are on the same page with the details of the appraisal assignment. This includes appraisal objectives, items to be appraised, meeting times, assignment tasks, payment arrangements, etc.

Before the Onsite Inspection

Select Items to Be Appraised:

Decide in advance which items you want appraised. If there are a lot, consider making an inventory of them including information such as artist or maker, when and where purchased and price paid. If they are scattered throughout your home and other belongings, consider using colored sticky notes to identify them.

Collect Relevant Documentation:

Collect any documents you have related to the item including receipts, invoices, cancelled checks, certificates of authenticity, auction records, restoration reports, book references, exhibition history, and past appraisals.

Make Items Accessible:

Make your items as easy to access, inspect and photograph as possible. Remove artwork from walls and fragile items from display cases. Place smaller items on a table on top of a towel or pad. Pull furniture away from walls for easy access to the back and under sides. Clear off any surfaces. For items in basements, attics, or storage units, make sure there is safe access, plenty of light, power and temperature control where possible.

Combine Items that are Part of a Set:

Place any items that are part of a set together such as matching candlesticks, china sets and tea services.

Clean Your Items:

Lightly dust or clean off your items. Heavy dust or accumulated grime may affect the ability to inspect the item or photograph it properly.

Prepare a Workspace:

Have a cleared off working surface and chairs available for us to use as a base of operations for a large appraisal project or let us know if we should bring our own.

During the Onsite Inspection 

Show Us Around:

When we arrive, take us on a tour through areas that contain items to be appraised that haven’t been moved into a designated appraised items area. Show us any permissible bathroom and kitchen areas and amenities and be sure to show us any areas that are off limits.

Be Available:

Be in or near the work area to answer questions, provide additional
undocumented information or assist with moving items.

Reduce Interruptions:

Remove young children or inquisitive pets from the work area. Keep TV’s and radios off. And while we love to hear about you and your items, too much conversation slows down the process and adds to project costs.

Pay Agreed Fees:

Be prepared to pay any fees due as negotiated at the time of the onsite inspection.

After the Onsite Inspection

Respond to Questions:

After the inspection, we will probably have additional questions for you.
Please respond to them as quickly as possible to ensure a timely completion of your project.

Pay Agreed Fees:

Once we’ve completed your appraisal report, we will prepare and submit an invoice outlining our fees. Paying your appraisal fees promptly will allow us to send you your
report as soon as possible and will avoid the collection calls no one likes to make or receive!

Read Your Report Thoroughly:

Your appraisal report contains more than just value conclusions. It contains important information regarding the steps we took to determine those values, what constraints or limiting conditions were in place, what the status of the market was and other important factors.

Ask Questions!:

We are always happy to answer any questions you may have about your
report. Make sure you understand it thoroughly before using it to make any important

“Whoever said Disney was the happiest place in the world has never been in an antique store.“

~ Unknown

Tip 1

Provide us with as much information as possible, including old appraisals. We use purchase data and old appraisals for informational purposes only – never to establish current appraised values!

Tip 2

We welcome any and all communications before, during and after your appraisal! We also understand and honor that your time is valuable. Preparing upfront for your appraisal will help ensure that our time during the project is productive and well spent!