Appraisal Basics – Personal Property

All About Personal Property Appraisals

Many of our clients have never worked with an appraiser before and know very little about personal property appraisals. To take some of the mystery out of the process, we are happy to provide you with some helpful information about appraising in general and about what to expect with working with us.

What is personal property anyway?

To understand personal property appraisals, it helps to know what personal property is!

For purposes of personal property appraisals, personal property is defined as the identifiable, moveable, and tangible assets like furnishings, artwork, antiques, jewelry, equipment, and collectibles. In essence, it is everything but the house, land and any permanent improvements to it. These things are considered to be real property rather than personal property.

Personal property can be depreciable or appreciable. Depreciable property decreases in value over time such as most automobiles, typical contemporary household furnishings or electronic equipment. Appreciable property is property that may increase in monetary value over time such as fine art, antiques and collectibles.

Personal property appraiser

A personal property appraiser is someone who provides an opinion of value or cost of personal property in a manner that is competent, independent, impartial and objective. Because appraising is an inexact science, personal property appraisers should have current credentials with a professional appraiser association, engage in required ongoing education and adhere to the strict codes of conduct and report writing standards established for the profession.

Personal property appraisals

Personal property appraisals are then numerical opinions of value or cost of clearly defined articles of personal property as of a particular point in time delivered in writing or orally.

Whether personal property appraisals are delivered in writing or orally, they are always backed up with a finished work product called an appraisal report. Such reports must include a clear description of the intended use of the report, the appraised value or cost opinion and the analysis the appraiser undertook to arrive at that opinion. Appraisal reports must comply with detailed and rigorous established professional criteria including the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) and with the ethical codes of the profession.

“Priceless things matter not for their value, but because they offer us an enduring reminder of stability and permanence.”

~ Barbara Taylor Bradford


Just because certain kinds of personal property like art and antiques are classified as appreciable, it doesn’t mean they will necessarily increase in value over time! Values for such items can fluctuate up or down significantly as economic conditions, marketplace supply and demand, demographic preferences and tastes change.