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. So, let’s go through some of the critical considerations in choosing a qualified appraiser.

Membership and Certification 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 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 certain number of hours of appraising experience. When you are ready to select an appraiser, be sure to check their current memberships and credentials online with their professional appraiser associations.

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. Doing so ensures 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 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 handles residential contents to conduct appraisals of fine art. Nor would you want to hire a fine art appraiser to do appraisals of vintage cars.

Sometimes, you may need an appraiser with a very specialized area of expertise such as with celebrity autographs or rare coins. But oftentimes you don’t. For instance, an appraiser who specializes in fine art will normally be able to appraise works by any artists even if they have never appraised them before. Why? Because in addition to having tons of experience in appraising art in general, we are trained to be expert researchers. We can use our knowledge of research techniques and resources in combination with our existing experience to appraise new items that we’ve never appraised before.

WorthWise Art and Antiques Appraisers founder, Candace Hill, is a certified appraiser and an active member of the International Society of Appraisers (ISA). She has taken the 2024 update course for USPAP, and her appraisal reports more than meet the requirements of USPAP and ISA. She has also personally appraised over 7,000 unique items in a wide variety of categories including fine art, decorative art, antiques, artifacts and collectibles. In short, she is qualified to meet the needs of the vast majority of clients!

“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.