Appraisers are professionals who, through various tools, determine the value of properties. These properties can range from commercial and residential to industrial and governmental. Appraisers determine the real estate value in regards to home and business appraisals, most often performed when one party is looking to buy a particular piece of property, such as a home. Other types of appraisals involve antiques or appraisals for tax purposes. These professionals can also appraise the value of antique cars, artwork, jewelry, and other collectibles. They may work independently as consultants, they may work for an insurance or real estate firm, or they may work for an auction house. Some have specialties, appraising the value of, say, old homes in historic districts. Professionals in this business may be referred to as financial risk managers, brokers, consultants, and agents. These are some of the most commonly used terms when hiring an appraiser for tax purposes before buying antiques, historic district homes, or autos.
Appraisal Certificate – An official document that certifies the true value of something, whether it's a home or a diamond ring.
Fair Market Value – An estimate of a property’s market value at the current time, based on factors such as what a buyer would be willing to pay.
Quick Sale Value – The sale price of a property that is lower than market value.
Antique – An item that has a high value due to its old age, usually at least 100 years old. You can buy antiques from private dealers or bid on them online or at a public auction.
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During an appraisal, a value is assessed for a piece of tangible or intellectual property. Television shows have elevated the role of the appraiser in the sale of antiques, but these professionals can work in any field, from commercial real estate to jewelry. They play a key role in tax collection and setting reimbursement values on insurance policies, and it is likely that most homeowners have met with one at some point in their lives.
Appraisers can have expertise in almost any field. From assessing homes or commercial property, to autos, diamonds and art, they play a role in setting the market price for often one-of-a-kind items. They can be employed by tax districts, auction houses, property management firms or run their own businesses dealing directly with clients. While licensing is required in many cases for those who do home or land assessments or official districting work, it is not generally required for those who provide value certificates for collectibles or antiques.
Finding a professional who is qualified to do an appraisal depends on the item that one wishes to appraise. For large, insurable items such as homes or cars, appraisals may be offered by one's insurance company. However, policy holders are also welcome to seek out their own appraisals through third party appraisers, who can be found through dealerships, contractors or online. To assign a value to a one-of-a-kind work of art or antique, it is often necessary to find an appraiser in whose domain of expertise that particular item falls. Antique shops and galleries are often a good source for referrals to knowledgeable appraisers in a given field.