What Makes a Good Appraiser

  • formal education in appraisal theory, principles, procedures, ethics and law.

  • professional credentials based on testing and successful course completion.

  • an expert on your type of property.

  • stays up to date on the latest appraisal standards

  • adheres to a professional code of ethics.

Obtain a Recommendation From Someone You Trust

Check with local insurance agent or your lawyer or accountant to ask about trustworthy appraisers in your community. If you don't have someone who can give you a recommendation then you can contact one of the three professional appraisal organizations: Appraisers Association of America (AAA), International Society of Appraisers (ISA), or the American Society of Appraisers (ASA).  

Assess The Type of Collection That You Have

Does the collection include various categories of items such as furniture, silver, or china? Do you have a specific item that requires a specialist rather than a generalist? You will need to find an appraiser with a skill set that is appropriate for your collection. For example, if you are a collector of early Greek artifacts then you may want to find a specialist in that area.

Compare Levels of Experience

Once you have found a couple of appraisers to choose from, you may want to compare their levels of experience.  You should hire someone from an appraisal organization since these appraisers have met basic requirements typically three to five years of experience and testing in their specialty.  It is generally better to choose a certified appraiser because these appraisers have a minimum of five years of experience and have passed proctored exams in their appropriate fields of expertise.  You should also hire someone that complies with USPAP, the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. 

Ask The Appraiser for a Resume and a Sample appraisal Report

Look at the appraisers resume for their experience and areas of expertise.  Look to see if they have taken the appropriate examinations. Have they had special training? Have they continued taking courses and attending professional conferences?

Does the sample appraisal report clearly state that they are USPAP compliant. The appraisal should include a statement of purpose, a statement from the appraiser declaring that there is not a conflict of interest and the appraiser's signature.  There should be full descriptions and identification of the objects or items being appraised as well as a firm statement of value.  The condition of the objects should be noted  and when necessary there should be a discussion of how the appraiser arrived at their values.

Ask the Appraiser to Explain their fee structure

Fees should never be commission based or depend upon the value of the appraised items. Charging commission based fees are grounds for expulsion from a professional appraisal association.  Fees should be quoted on an hourly, daily or set rate.