Appraisal Basics – Choosing Your Appraiser

Choosing the Right Appraiser

Choosing the right appraiser can be a daunting task. Oftentimes our clients have never worked with an appraiser before and don’t know how to evaluate an appraiser’s qualifications. Fortunately, in addition to accumulating the right type and amount of personal experience, there are some very specific ongoing participation, education, and ethical requirements that all personal property appraisers must meet to be considered qualified.

Current Membership and Accreditation through a Professional Appraiser Association:

Qualified appraisers are members of and maintain an accredited or certified appraiser status through professional appraiser associations approved by the Appraisers Qualification Board of The Appraisal Foundation such as the International Society of Appraisers (ISA). They maintain their current qualified status by completing rigorous coursework, passing exams, submitting sample projects for review and accumulating a minimum number of hours of appraising experience.

Current with Required USPAP Training:

Professional appraisers are required to take an update course every other year to stay current with the changing requirements set forth in the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) published by the Appraisal Standards Board of The Appraisal Foundation.

Write USPAP and Association Compliant Appraisal Reports:

Appraisers are required to write thorough appraisal reports that contain the sections, descriptions, certifications, and analyses required by USPAP to ensure that their reports meet minimum standards and produce appraisal results that are thorough, unbiased and credible. Additionally, reports written by ISA members must exceed USPAP’s standards and must address a minimum of 57 requirements to meet association standards.

Have the Experience Relevant for Your Needs:

It’s good to work with an appraiser who has experience conducting personal property appraisals for the types of properties in your collection. For example, you wouldn’t want to hire an appraiser who specializes in residential contents to conduct appraisals of fine art. Nor would you want to hire a fine art appraiser to do appraisals of vintage cars.

Having said that, it’s not normally required for a fine art appraiser to have appraised works by your particular artist, or for an antiques appraiser to have specifically appraised your type of antique furniture. Why? Because in addition to receiving extensive training in our broader areas of specialty, we are also trained to be expert researchers. We can use our knowledge of research techniques and resources in combination with our existing training and experience to appraise new items within our scope of expertise that we’ve never appraised before.

WorthWise founder, Candace Hill, has more than met these criteria. She has achieved the highest level of certification through (ISA) and has personally appraised over 1,000 unique items in a wide variety of categories including fine art, decorative art, antiques, artifacts and collectibles.


“A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others.“

~ Salvador Dali

Tip 1

Be sure when selecting your appraiser that their credentials are current. Unfortunately, many appraisers don’t state their qualifications up front or may claim to have certifications or memberships that don’t exist or that have long since expired. Ask for examples of their reports (stripped of any confidential information) or for recommendations from clients or colleagues to help determine the quality of their work.