What’s It Worth to Ya? The Nuts and Bolts of Possession Appraisals

Many people have things that they have kept over the years but they are unsure of the value of their items.  It may be a prized collection that they acquired over time or a special item that has potential value due to age, scarcity or desirability.

Although it’s not too common for people to find that obscure item turns out to be worth a fortune, it could be important to know the value of certain items anyway.  Besides knowing the value for sale or donation to downsize, knowing the value of an item for insurance coverage can be helpful or maybe it’s just to satisfy your curiosity.

At any rate, when you are considering downsizing or if an estate needs to be liquidated it may be a good idea to obtain an appraisal to learn the potential value of an item.  But where do you start?  Below are some resources and ideas to find the right type of appraisal that works best for your circumstances.

Professional Appraisals – Calling a professional appraiser will give you the opportunity to have a top expert look at your item and give you an estimate of the value.  You may obtain a written report or an oral estimate and/or auction offer.  As much as possible, look for someone who has experience and is considered an expert in the area of your item.  Be cautious with antique and collectible dealers who give you a value and then offer to buy the item on the spot.  They may have a conflict of interest regarding the value you get from them.  You can expect to pay an appraiser an hourly rate or a percentage of the items value.  Try to stick with hourly agreements when you can.

Price Guides – Price guides are usually used for collectibles and the estimates of value are typically based on recent prices paid for items in a particular category.  The places they check include auctions, shops, shows, flea markets and online sales.

Online Valuation – Done by appraisers using photos and descriptions.  The estimates they give you are generally considered valuations and not authentications.

Donation Databases – There are free online sites that will supply you with the tax-deductible value when donating items.  A few examples include, Turbo Tax It’s Deductible, H&R Block Deduction Pro and also the Salvation Army.

Other Databases and Online Auctions – Kovels has an antiques price guide and checking Craigslist, Offer-Up, eBay and similar marketplaces can show what people are willing to pay for comparable items.  Remember that if you decide to sell on eBay (and many others) that you must decide how you are going to handle shipping costs and you also pay a percentage to eBay once the item sells.

As always, we at Family Friend Estate Solutions can help with all estate resolution or downsizing tasks including appraisals.  Give us a call to discuss your particular situation and rest assured that we will do everything in our power to help you with your estate needs.