Choosing a Personal Property Appraiser

A professional appraiser can offer the most accurate answers to questions regarding the value of your personal property. Rather than making an "informed or educated guess," a professional appraiser derives value conclusions from a concrete set of prescribed methods.

When choosing a personal property appraiser, here are the main points you should consider:


Appraisers need continuing education and testing in order to build and maintain competence. Otherwise, it will be impossible to understand the complexities of marketplace definitions that play a huge part in determining correct values for particular uses.

For instance, a jeweler may be able to identify a particular gemstone, but unless he has knowledge of the prescribed appraisal principles and procedures, he will not be able appraise the item accurately.

Before hiring a personal property appraisal companies, find out what type of formal education or training he has received. Ask for his resume or professional profile so you can completely assess his credentials.

Professional Association Membership

There are several appraisal organizations, but take note that some of them simply "grandfather" people into membership status without any type of testing whatsoever. To grandfather someone means to give him a status and title he has not worked for, such as by passing a qualifying exam.

Some organizations, however, such as the International Society of Appraisers (ISA), actually require members to complete programs and pass tests prior to admission as "accredited" members. Membership in professional associations is important as it shows that the appraiser has deep ties with the industry, peer recognition, access to up-to-date information, and an obligation to abide by a strict code of ethics and conduct.

Appraisal Specialties

There are more than 220 specialties recognized by ISA, and there is no appraise who is a specialist in all of them. A good appraiser knows the limits of his expertise, and seeks the help of other appraisers when needed.


Avoid appraisers who collect a "contingency" fee or those who charge a portion of the appraised value of your property. There is a clear conflict of interest in both scenarios in which biased values are encouraged. In fact, the IRS declines appraisals made with such fee agreements. Fixed, per item or hourly rates are the accepted norm.

Appraisal Report

Note that some appraisal organizations only teach members how to appraise properties without providing training on writing standardized reports at the end of the process. As your estate sale appraisers houston wraps up, you should expect a formal, typewritten document that comes complete with all the necessary information presented in an organized manner.