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Be Certain of Its Value

Make an educated choice

Whenever there's a question about the value of your personal property, there's also a risk involved. It may be the risk of selling too low, or of paying too much; the risk of being under or over insured; the risk of not getting your fair share in a division of the property; the risk of incurring tax penalties or being audited when claiming a deduction for charitable contribution or when calculating estate taxes.

A professional appraiser helps you manage these and other such risks by providing a written opinion of value upon which you can base your financial decisions. Rather than being just an "educated guess," the professional appraiser's value conclusions are based on prescribed methods or evaluation, research, and report writing. Bankers, financiers, investors, insurers, adjusters, estate managers, trustees, executors, attorneys, judges, federal and state tax agencies—all are dependent upon the knowledge and expertise of the appraiser, and so are you.

Too often and too late, people find out that the appraisals they have are inaccurate or misleading, resulting not only in greater risk to themselves but also in an annual waste of millions of consumer dollars. A competent appraiser helps you manage financial risk.

ISA training makes an important difference to you

The International Society of Appraisers trains appraisers with the most comprehensive personal property appraisal education program in America. An ISA-educated appraiser is well equipped to give you an accurate and complete appraisal that will stand up in court, if necessary. The foundation of ISA's Appraiser Education Program is its course on appraisal principles and procedures; the ISA Core Course in Appraisal Studies. Additional specialty courses are available.

A person enters the ISA as a Candidate. Upon completing and passing the core course (or equivalent) and with three years related experience, the candidate becomes a member. Within five years, the member becomes an accredited member (ISA AM) by demonstrating advanced knowledge in a specialty field. This forms the basis for further studies that can lead to Certified Appraiser of Personal Property (ISA CAPP), the highest level of membership within the International Society of Appraisers.

A competent appraisal report has:

  • A cover document explaining in detail what type of value is being sought ("purpose") and how the appraisal is to be used ("function" or "assigned use").
  • The methodology and resources relied upon, including market analysis and market(s) selected.
  • A complete and accurate description of the property written in such a manner that it can be identified without photos.
  • The date(s) and location of inspection, and the effective date of value.
  • A statement by the appraiser that he or she has no financial interest in the property or that such interest is disclosed in the report.
  • The appraiser's qualifications and signature.

Do not accept an appraisal if:

  • It is handwritten or unsigned.
  • The fee is based on a contingency or upon the value of the property.
  • The appropriate "purpose" and "assigned use" are not stated.
  • The item is beyond the appraiser's expertise.
  • The appraiser is not willing and able to defend it in court (subject to the appraiser's availability, and separate fee arrangement).