The Assignment: Together with the client, the appraiser defines in standard terms the needs of the client for establishing value of the personal property. The client reviews and accepts the appraiser’s qualifications, the fee structure is agreed, the details of how the appraisal will be conducted are discussed and the contract is signed. There may or may not be a charge for this activity.
The Examination: The appraiser schedules the inspection and meticulously examines all the property to be included in the Appraisal Report which includes confirming existence, evaluating characteristics such as size and condition and taking photographs. This detailed information on the items is recorded. The time spent in this phase is considered on-site. Travel and mileage fees may apply and charges may be due and payable at the end of the inspection process.
The Photographs: Photographs will be taken and will be inserted into the report to document existence and support statements concerning intrinsic characteristics that affect value. Copyright in the original photography files usually remain with the appraiser. Not all photographs taken need be inserted into the report. Photographic printing to be used outside of the report if requested is considered an additional cost, including photographic paper, and is generally expensed in addition to the hourly fees.
The Research: This is the time taken to identify marks and labels, verify dates, investigate appropriate markets, locate comparable sales and asking prices for items and if necessary to consult experts about authentication, repair or reproduction costs.
The Report: The Appraisal Report consists of at least one copy of the completed appraisal or more as may be established in the contract for services. Additional copies may incur separate fees. Included in the report is, a cover letter detailing the process taken and the definitions of the value, a value summary; an itemized list of the property appraised which usually includes detailed descriptions of the items and the established value of each, an addendum which will include at a minimum, the necessary photographs to support the appraisal, the appraiser’s professional qualifications and the qualification of any outside expert who contributed substantially to the value conclusions.
The Cost: The client will be apprised of the Fee Schedule prior to the signing of a Contract. Fees are in no way contingent on value conclusions. Typically, expenses are charged on an actual cost basis for items such as travel time, mileage, lodging and per diem whenever applicable. Many times, appraisers will require a retainer fee before the inspection, payment for the inspection upon completion of that work and payment for the expenses and report prior to or upon delivery of the finished report.