FAQs about Appraisal Services

We have answers. If you don’t finding what you are looking for, feel free to submit your appraisal questions directly on the online form or call 331.251.1152. There is also a Glossary available for unfamiliar terms.

What is an appraisal?

An appraisal is a reasoned justification. The process of finding the value of tangible items includes identifying it, considering its characteristics, analyzing comparable data based on recent sales or pricing in similar markets to arrive at a justified and defendable value. The findings are shared in a written Appraisal Report, including all the evidence that was reviewed.

What is an Appraisal Report?

When you engage an appraiser, their work culminates in a written report. Depending on the intended use and who else needs to make use of it (the IRS, the courts or insurance companies), it is the justified reasoning of replacement value or fair market value. Regardless, it will be a document that you can share with authorized parties as evidence of value. It is the appraiser’s product and what you are paying for. See a sample appraisal report.

What types of appraisals do you work on?

-Insurance: coverage, inventory, damage, loss
-Taxes: federal estate tax, Illinois state estate tax, capital gains, charitable contribution, gift tax
-Equitable distribution: divorce, business dissolution, bankruptcy, estate planning and beneficiary designation
-Banking: loans, asset control, net worth
-Inheritance: Probate Inventory
-Sorting: separating high- and low-value items and recommending venues for the highest sales return
-Liquidation: net value for sale

When is an appraisal report necessary?

If a lawyer, trust officer, insurance agent or accountant has advised that an appraiser be consulted, then the value of your items warrants an appraisal for your protection. We will guide you through the steps and develop a plan to deliver an appraisal report that can be shared with predetermined agents.

How much does it cost?

The cost of the appraisal can’t be determined without learning more about the project. For a sense of relative costs for different types of service needs, check out the Quest blog.

Do I need an appraiser or consultant?  

An initial consultation is a good way to determine which services best suit your needs. During the consult, we will inspect your items, remarking on which potentially have strong interest in the current market (and which don’t). This brief overview is often quite helpful when deciding the next step to take in dealing with your property. Please note that no values are given during an initial consultation.

I have ONE item that I am curious about, but how do I know if an individual item is worth the expense?

This is a concern of many clients in their quest to learn more about treasures. To assuage fears of spending considerably more on an appraisal than the item is worth, Antiquestor offers a $150, single-item, “artist search” service, which is preliminary research on the recent records of sale for a sense of current value (no values are provided). Based on the history of completed sales, you can determine whether to move forward with a full appraisal or not. For more than one item, please inquire about our packaged service for 2-15 items on the form. If you are trying to separate out high value items from low value items, select “walk through” service on the form.

Is the appraised value of an item what it will sell for?

No. The appraised value of an item is often different from the amount it sells for, whether on the open market, online, in an auction, or elsewhere. There may be fees deducted in the form of advertising or commissions that result in “net value” of the item.

Can Antiquestor help sell items once value has been determined?

Yes, Antiquestor Personal Property Appraisals can help select the most appropriate place to sell your valuables–only after value is determined through the appraisal process. This brokerage function is performed secondarily and billed separately, either at a flat rate or a percentage of the final sale price.

What an appraisal isn’t

Not all opinions of value are equal. Dealers and collectors may provide values that are “retail” that take into consideration a quick calculation of what it would be priced at to cover overhead–and likely higher than appraised value. Likewise, someone making an “offer to buy” is likely looking to sell, therefore quoting a low value on which they can make a profit. Neither would stand up to scrutiny with the IRS (“qualified appraisals” required), the courts, or insurance companies.

What other costs are involved?

Sometimes, other experts and specialists may need to be engaged to authenticate or advise on value. We try to forecast these costs and include them in the project estimate. Other costs like travel (which is billed at a lower rate) and accommodations can be added in depending on the needs of the project.

Do you have a written contract for both parties to sign?

Yes. It is important for everyone involved to understand the boundaries and limitations of the job to be undertaken. A contract spells this out, and there is less chance of a misunderstanding.

What can I expect to receive for the appraisal fee?

If a written report is required, you will receive a multiple-page document describing your personal property clearly and accurately, stating the appraiser’s professional opinion of value. The report will include a “cover letter” outlining the steps that were taken to arrive at values, a “body” itemizing, describing and listing the value of the item, and the signed and dated appraiser’s “certifications” atesting to their qualifications, findings and independence. See a sample appraisal report.