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A professional appraiser is essential when you need particular items of personal property valued. When you’re looking for an appraiser, you need to know the right questions to ask. Why is it important to properly vet an appraiser? Because if they give you an incorrect value, either too high or too low, you could lose money.
In the case of an insurance valuation, you could be improperly insured. If you’re selling property to be divided between heirs of an estate, you could under price it and all parties could lose money.

If you’re making a charitable contribution for an income tax deduction, there are very specific federal guidelines that MUST be followed; failure to do so could result in fines or penalties.

Even if a particular item is not valuable to you, it could be of GREAT value to someone else, and a professional appraiser will know that. And the same item may have several different values based on how you intend to use the appraisal report. Insurance adjusters, estate planners, attorneys, judges, CPA's, banks, governmental agencies, and many others all depend on qualified and trained professional appraisers. The educated appraiser knows and uses the proper methodology and research to determine the value that best meets each client’s particular needs.

The professional appraiser knows what questions to ask, how values are gathered and compared, and how to write a throughout report that conforms to industry standards and government guidelines. Your written appraisal report will include an accurate value based on research, information about how that research was conducted and evaluated, which method of valuation was used and why, and why other methods of valuation were not used.

Many people don’t research appraisers before hiring one and end up with an inaccurate appraisal. Here are a few questions you should ask each appraiser you interview before choosing the one that will best suit your needs.

Which professional appraisal organization did you earn your qualifications from?

Were you tested during your educational process, and do you remain up-to-date on changes in your profession through continuing education?

How do you calculate your fees?

What will you do if there’s an item you’re not able to appraise accurately, or is beyond your expertise?

What will your final report look like?