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) 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 are required to exceed USPAP’s standards and must address a minimum of 45 – 57 topics to meet association standards.

Have the Experience Relevant for Your Needs:

Generally speaking, it’s good to work with an appraiser who has experience conducting personal property appraisals for the types of properties in your collection. However, this is a very broad statement. Appraisers do not need to have appraised every type of individual item in your inventory. Nor do they need to have appraised artwork by your particular artist. Why? Because in addition to receiving extensive training in a number of broad areas such as fine art, decorative art and antiques, we are trained to be expert researchers who can apply our techniques to a broad spectrum of items.

WorthWise founder, Candace Hill, has more than met these criteria and has presently appraised over 600 unique items in a wide variety of categories including fine art, decorative art, antiques, artifacts, collectibles.


“I quite like antiques. I would rather fly to Morocco on an $800 ticket to buy a chair for $300 than spend $1,100 on one at Pottery Barn.“

~ Walker Goggins

Tip 1

Always document the existence of your significant items of personal property whether you have a prior appraisal for them or not. Save all receipts and correspondences and photograph your items both by themselves and in their locations in your home.