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questions to ask an Appraiser before hiring
ANA is the only major Professional Appraisal Society in the United States which Specializes in Personal Property.
Many Appraisal Societies accept Appraiser Members from a wide variety of disciplines and require training in Appraisal Theory but may not require "Real Life" examples in Course Work or Experience.
ANA requires that Certified Accredited Appraiser Members have Verifiable Formal Education and Training in Real World Product Knowledge in addition to Education in Writing Standardized, Comprehensive Appraisal Reports and USPAP Compliance.
What Qualifies You to Appraise My Personal Property?
A qualified Personal Property Appraiser has obtained Formal Education in Antiques & Collectibles, Household or Residential Contents, Fine Art, Decorative Art and/or Specialty Areas of Knowledge such as Vehicles, Business Machinery, Collections Conservation etc. In addition to Report Writing Skills, Certified Personal Property Appraisers must obtain specialized knowledge regarding Valuation Theory, Principles, Practices & Methodology and should be familiar with Current Regulations, Legal Aspects and Ethics as they apply to Personal Property Appraising.
A qualified and competent Personal Property Appraiser has obtained knowledge of the various Personal Property Markets and should be up to date on the latest Appraisal Standards including the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). Continuing Education Requirements serve to ensure this competence.
The Personal Property Appraiser you hire should be familiar with the type of Personal Property you need appraised and know how to value it for the Intended Use or Appropriate Market for the Appraisal.
Expertise regarding particular types of Personal Property or Collections is not enough if the "expert" does not know how to evaluate an item for the Appropriate Market and translate this information into a Written Appraisal Report. Without Formal Personal Property Appraisal training combined with Report Writing these "experts" may not understand the often complicated diversity of Marketplace Definitions which are used in determining values for the intended use of the Appraisal Report.
For example, many consider the values obtained from auction houses, jewelry stores, pawn shops, or antique shops to be appraisals but they are generally not considered to be appraisals as they are often biased towards the market in which the specialized values are being obtained or from the perspective of the individual quoting the valuation.
Do All Personal Property Appraisers Have Similar Qualifications?
Not all the individuals that perform Personal Property Appraisals or who provide Written Appraisal Reports have formal education in Appraisal Theory or Report Writing. There are many self-proclaimed Personal Property Appraisers who have not completed any Professional Education, so be sure to ask them where they received their training, how many years of experience they have writing Appraisal Reports and if they are USPAP Compliant.
Request a copy of the Appraiser's Professional Profile or Resume in order to evaluate the Appraiser's credentials and if they are the appropriate person to hire for your Appraisal needs.
Do You Belong to a Professional Appraisal Society or Group?
There are many Personal Property Appraisers and only a select few belong to Professional Organizations which require their members to have Formal Appraisal Education and pass comprehensive tests of their Appraisal Knowledge before being admitted as Appraiser Members. ANA investigates all of their Certified Accredited Appraiser members prior to accepting them into the organization.
Membership in a Professional Appraiser Association shows that the Appraiser is involved with the Appraisal Profession, has Peer Recognition with access to updated Appraisal and Market Information and is subject to a Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.
Have You Been Tested in Appraisal Knowledge?
If the Appraiser claims membership in a Professional Association that tests and/or trains its members, be sure to ask if this Appraiser has personally gone through the training and testing required to be admitted as an Appraiser Member.
Several organizations practice “Grandfathering”, which means that members are allowed to retain their original title and status if they joined prior to new rules or standards being put into place. The Grandfathering organization has not necessarily confirmed that these members possess the knowledge or experience required under current membership standards. ANA does NOT have a Grandfathering policy in place.
Do You Obtain Annual Continuing Education Credits?
Continuing Education is important for Personal Property Appraisers. Procedures and Regulations are constantly changing and because of this ANA continually Updates, Expands and Rewrites its Requirements to ensure that its Certified Accredited Appraiser Members will perform their Appraisals with the necessary knowledge of the latest Professional Standards. The ANA requires Thirty (30) Hours of Continuing Education Credits every year in order to qualify for Annual Membership Renewal.
How Will You Handle Items Which May be Outside Your Knowledge Base?
While many Personal Property Appraisers classify themselves as Generalist Appraisers they should not claim to possess expertise in everything. A good Personal Property Appraiser knows what their limitations are and is willing to work cooperatively with Specialty Expert Consultants when the specific Assignment calls for additional knowledge or expertise.
This is why belonging to a Professional Appraisal Association which has a Networking Base and Expert Consultant Members in so important.
What is Your Fee and on What Basis do You Charge?
You should not choose to hire an Appraiser who charges a percentage of the appraised value or who charges a contingency fee. These practices are considered to be Conflicts of Interest and may result in biased valuations of your Personal Property. The IRS does not accept Appraisal Reports performed under such fee arrangements and these arrangements do not follow the Guidelines specified under the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).
ANA Certified Accredited Appraisers are prohibited by their Code of Ethics from charging a fee based on a percentage of the value of the property appraised. Hourly fees, flat rates, or per item charges are acceptable and should be quoted prior to taking on the assignment.
What Will the Written Appraisal Report be Like?
You should receive a formal, computer generated report which provides you with the required information in a complete and organized manner and which should include photographs where and when appropriate.
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