Whether you have what you think is a fortune of Beanie Baby collectibles lying around, you want to sell your jewelry, or you simply need to update your insurance policy, you won’t know the true value of your personal property unless you hire a professional.
It can be overwhelming if you’ve never hired an appraiser, so we’ve compiled some tips to help you make the right decisions when it comes to your valuable possessions.
Choose the right appraiser: Since personal property can range from art, antiques, pottery, and jewelry- it’s important to find the right professional for the job. Take a look at their resume. Ask about previous projects and understand where their expertise lies, as well as if they are a fit for what you’re looking for.
Gather information: Before your appointment with an appraiser, make sure you gather all the information possible about your item. When did you get it? Where did it come from? What are the dimensions? The more information you’re able to provide, the more accurate the results. Be sure to physically bring any information you have regarding this with you, such as receipts, certificates, previous appraisals, etc., to make the process run as smoothly as possible.
Expect to spend money: People who are getting something appraised for the first time sometimes don’t realize that it costs money to get something appraised. Like most services, if you hire a professional appraiser, you are going to be paying for their time and expertise. That being said, appraisals vary in price based on the time and complexity of the project – so be prepared for the numbers!*
Expect to spend time: Patience is important. At a typical first appointment, an appraiser will clean, photograph and examine your item(s). They will then visit with you about your item(s). The dollar value and the appraisal will follow after the appointment, usually within five business days – but again, this may vary based on the size of the project and amount of pieces being appraised.
Know your intentions: Come prepared to understand that the value of your property is not singular. The value changes based on instances such as getting a divorce, filing for bankruptcy or insuring your property, or for charity purposes. Be open with your appraiser so they can give you the insights you’re looking for based on your circumstances.
Get appraisals often: While the first time is the most important, appraisers suggest you get your personal property appraised every few years. Your appraiser will let you know what is recommended during the initial appointment. The longer you go without updating your appraisal, the harder it is to determine value once the property is lost, damaged or stolen.
*appraisals may start at a fee of about $250 and go into the thousands range. While fees are based on time, they also depend on the project and how many items it includes.