Why You Might Need An Appraisal

An appraisal is a legal document as important as a will, and is the only way to accurately describe and value your property. A properly prepared appraisal by a certified, accredited appraiser will include a value conclusion that will clarify questions of property value under any circumstance.

There are many reasons you might need an appraisal. Below are some of the more common.

An appraisal determines replacement value, provides protection in the event of loss, and assists in establishing proper insurance coverage for household effects, antiques, fine art, silver, jewelry, etc.

Clarify questions of property value.
Facilitate the disposition of estate tax reporting requirements.
Assist heirs with distribution/de-accessioning property.

Estate Planning:
Assist financial planners and related professionals in establishing clients net worth.
Be used for judicious estate planning.

Divorce/Property Division:
Assist attorneys and their clients in matters of equitable distribution for divorce or dissolution of marriage. Corporate uses in this category include mergers/acquisitions, and loan collateral.

Tax Loss (Bankruptcy):
Establish and document values for claiming a loss.

Liquidation of Personal Property:
Establish values before selling.

Determine value and create documentation for tax purpose.

Loan Collateral:
Establish values for business loans based on collateral.

Damage or Loss:
Determine loss of value on damaged items and replacement value on lost items.

Price Confirmation:
Determine if the "antique" you own is truly authentic or if it is a reproduction and how valuable it is.

Establish values before selling.


How To Prepare For An Appraisal

The following suggestions will help you prepare for an appraisal, and in the process may save you money, and will help the appraiser provide you with a more accurate assessment of your personal property.

Decide which items you want to have appraised.

Get out all items to be appraised. If there are items in the attics, closets, or garage, make sure they are accessible. Do not wait until the appraiser arrives to start digging in the attic.

Unpack and unwrap any items in drawers, boxes, trunks, etc.

Group similar items together and put sets of dishes, glasses, silverware, etc. together.

If you have receipts, sales slips, photographs, or old appraisals - put them with the appropriate items.

If possible, have large pieces of furniture pulled away from the wall for easy inspection.

If this is an estate appraisal and if there is a will, make sure that all the items specifically bequeathed are available for inspection.

Our written appraisals are very clear and descriptive and strictly adhere to the "Ethics and Guidelines of the Certified Appraisers Guild of America". In addition, all appraisals follow the mandates of the 2003 "Universal Standards of Professional Appraisal Practices".

A Competent Appraisal Report Has:

An explanation detailing what type of value is being sought ("purpose") and how the appraisal is to be used ("function" or "assigned use");

The methodology and sources 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 in the property 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 contigency or upon the value of the property;

The appropriate "purpose" and "assigned use" are not stated;

The appraiser is not willing and able to defend it in court (subject to the appraiser's availablity, and separate fee arrangement).


What We Appraise

Bonnie Rose appraises many types of personal property including:

- Antiques

- Art

- Decorative Arts

- Collectibles

- Collections

- Contents of Homes, Offices, and Businesses


The Appraisal Process

Every appraisal is different, but all have several elements in common.

Inspection and Listing

Each piece of property to be included in the appraisal is thoroughly examined by the appraiser for condition, characteristics, and dimensions. When the item cannot be inspected due to loss, theft, or damage, the appraiser will make critical assumptions based on interviews with the owner and any prior photos. The information is recorded on the appraiser's worksheets or sometimes directly into a computer.

Photographs are taken to document the item's existence and to aid in research. Bonnie Rose Appraisal Services, Inc. creates a CD for every client with these photos of the appraised items for long-term documentation.

Market Analysis and Research

Our extensive research library, subscriptions to professional appraisal publications, auction surveys and over 30 years experience, all keep us abreast of current values for antiques, collectibles and ordinary residential contents. We have a vast network of experts that are consulted, when the need arises, for information in specialty fields or for very unique or rare items.

Market Analysis:
Value conclusions for appraisals are based on comparable sales analysis. Based on the type of appraisal being conducted, the appraiser will begin to look at the appropriate markets to be used as comparables. When these markets have been identified, the appraiser will then begin to investigate them in detail, looking for comparable items to compare to those being appraised. Today, this can include considerable research on the Internet. Research time includes the time taken to identify marks, verify dates, locate comparable sales data, investigate retail markets, and consult experts, if necessary. This produces an accurate report that protects you and your property.

Writing the Report

Consolidation of the Data:
The appraiser will begin to pull together the various pieces of research information and start arriving at preliminary conclusions of value. This is the formal analysis of the data gathered through the research.

Every aspect of the appraisal assignment will be detailed and explained, and a detailed listing of the items being appraised will be made. A complete appraisal report explains the type of value being sought and how the appriasal is to be used, the date and location of the inspection, the effective date of the value, a statement that the appraiser has no financial interest in the property, and the appraiser's signature. An analysis page is included that provides detail as to what criteria the appraiser used as a basis for value conclusions. Each item being appraised is listed with a detailed and accurate description, along with the value conclusion. Also included are the appraiser's qualifications to perform appraisal.


Questions To Ask An Appraiser

1. "What qualifies you to appraise my property?"

A qualified appraiser has a formal education in appraisal theory, principles, procedures, ethics, and law. The appraiser should be up to date on the latest appraisal standards. Continuing education and testing are the only ways to ensure this competence. The appraiser you hire should be familiar with the type of property you want appraised and know how to value it correctly.

Expertise on a particular type of property is not enough if the "expert" does not know how to evaluate an item for its appropriate worth. Without appraisal training, these "experts" have no way of understanding the complicated variety of marketplace definitions that are used to determine appropriate values for appropriate uses.

For example, a museum curator may be able to authenticate a work of art, or a jeweler may be able to determine the identity of a gemstone, but neither may be able to write a formal appraisal of those items correctly unless they follow appropriate appraisal principles and procedures.

2. "Do all appraisers have similar qualifications?"

No! In most states anyone can claim to be a personal property appraiser, whether they have had formal training or not. Until legislation is passed to protect the public from the unqualified appraiser, the burden is on the consumer to evaluate an appraiser's credentials.

It is important to ask the prospective appraiser what type of formal education training he or she has received. Bonnie Rose of Bonnie Rose Appraisals Services, Inc. has completed such training and is certified by CAGA.

3. "Do you belong to an appraisal organization that tests its members?"

There are many appraisal organizations, but only a few require members to take courses and pass tests before being admitted as an "accredited" or "certified" member. CAGA is a such an organization through which Bonnie Rose is certified as a personal property appraiser.

Membership in an appraisal association is important because it shows that the appraiser is involved with the profession, has peer recognition, has access to updated information, and is subject to a code of ethics and conduct.

4. "Have you been tested?"

If the appraiser claims membership in a group that trains and tests its members, be sure to ask if this appraiser has personally gone through the training and testing.

Some organizations have "grandfathered" members into high membership status without testing them. "Grandfathering" means allowing members to retain their titles and status if they joined before new rules or testing standards were required. CAGA has an absolute non-grand fathering policy.

5. "How will you handle items which may be outside your specialty area?"

No appraiser should claim expertise in everything. A good appraiser knows his or her limits, and is expected to consult with other experts when necessary.

6. "What is your fee and on what basis do you charge?"

DO NOT hire an appraiser who charges a percentage of the appraised value, or charges a "contingency" fee. These practices are clearly conflicts of interests, and may reflect biased values. The IRS will not accept an appraisal done with such fee arrangements.

CAGA Appraisers are prohibited from charging a fee based on a percentage of the property appraised by their "Code of Ethics". Hourly fees, flat rates, or per item charges are acceptable. BRASI will determine fee schedules on an individual basis.

7. "What will the appraisal report be like?"

You should receive a formal, type written report that presents the information you need in a complete and organized way.

Some appraisal organizations only teach appraisal theory with no 'real life' examples. CAGA specifically trains its members how to write standardized, comprehensive appraisal reports. And, CAGA is the only organization that has its own computer software program for the Appraisal Report.


Fees for Appraisals

Our professional, reliable service is provided on an hourly rate. We do not charge on a percentage of the appraised value. Please email us at or call at 828-281-8110 to discuss the details of your appraisal needs.


Headquartered in Asheville, NC, we serve businesses, professionals, and the general public in Western NC, Upstate SC, and Eastern Tennessee.