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The Value in Hiring a Qualified Appraiser


Paul Klee

This article will discuss what a qualified appraiser is, what they do and what the value is engaging their services.

Frequently I am asked if I am a certified appraiser. Appraisers are not certified by a governing body, however, appraisers can have an accreditation or certification status within the appraisal organizations they belong to. There are three main appraisal organizations in the United States: the Appraisers Association of America, the American Society of Appraisers and the International Society of Appraisers. For instance, I am an Accredited Member of the Appraisers Association of America and a Certified Appraiser of Personal Property (CAPP) within the International Society of Appraisers.


The Appraisal Foundation is an organization dedicated to promoting professionalism and ensuring the quality and credibility of appraisals across various disciplines. Established in 1987, it accomplishes its mission through two subsidiary organizations:


  1. The Appraisal Standards Board (ASB): The ASB is responsible for developing and updating the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), a set of ethical and professional standards that govern the appraisal profession in the United States. USPAP sets the guidelines for appraisers to follow and ensures that appraisals are conducted with integrity, objectivity, and consistency.

  2. The Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB): The AQB establishes the minimum education, experience, and examination requirements for individuals seeking to become licensed or certified appraisers. It helps ensure that appraisers have the necessary qualifications to perform their roles effectively.


While The Appraisal Foundation is not directly overseen by Congress, its standards, including USPAP, are widely recognized and utilized as the industry benchmark, and regulatory agencies at the federal and state levels often rely on these standards when overseeing the appraisal profession. The Foundation's influence and work have a significant impact on the appraisal industry's regulation and standards, but it remains an independent organization.


All appraisers are required to be USPAP compliant. Appraisers stay USPAP compliant by taking an updated course every two years. This compliance means that the appraisal report issued is in compliance with these standards.


Appraisers are often asked if they authenticate items. Technically, appraisers are not authenticators. When necessary, they liaise with experts who who are recognized in that particular field or artist.


In summary, a qualified appraiser is an individual who possesses the necessary education, experience and credentials to provide reliable, accurate and impartial appraisals that are adhere to the standards of USPAP and are USPAP compliant.


Hiring a qualified appraiser is essential for many reasons, especially when it comes to valuing personal property. Here are several reasons to hire a qualified appraiser:


  1. Accurate Valuation: Qualified appraisers are trained and experienced in determining the value of assets. They utilize standardized methodology to ensure accurate valuations.

  2. Unbiased and Independent: Appraisers are considered independent third parties, which means they do not have a vested interest in the outcome of the appraisal. This impartiality is crucial in providing objective valuations.

  3. Insurance Coverage: Appraisals of personal property such as art, antiques and other valuables help ensure a client has adequate insurance coverage. In the event of damage or loss, an accurate appraisal can facilitate insurance claims and provide fair compensation.

  4. Estate Planning, Estate Tax and Probate: Appraisals are often needed when valuing assets for estate planning or probate purposes. Accurate valuations assist in determining an estate’s worth, distributing assets among heirs and calculating potential estate taxes.

  5. Divorce Proceedings: Appraisals can be crucial during divorce proceedings where marital assets need to be divided equitably.

  6. Non-Cash Charitable Contribution: Appraisals are required for non-cash charitable contributions over $5,000. These appraisals are often scrutinized by the IRS. They require language critical to making certain the donation is allowed by the IRS as well as a clear and accurate explanation on how the value was determined.

  7. Investment Decisions: Investors may hire appraisers to assess the value of works of art and other investment assets, helping them make informed decisions.


In all of these cases, hiring a qualified appraiser ensures the valuation process is conducted professionally, impartially and in compliance with industry standards and requirements, providing peace of mind that your assets are valued accurately, which can be crucial for making informed decisions and protecting one’s assets.

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