Appraisal FAQ

1. What is an appraisal?

An appraisal is a written document or report that describes various attributes of someone's personal property in order to obtain an unbiased value of the item(s) which can be applied to the appropriate market conditions or function in which the report serves. In example a retail replacement value of an item for insurance coverage.


2. What are the primary avenues in which one might acquire an appraisal?

There are typically four avenues that consumers acquire the value of a piece of personal property. These are:

  1. A free or nominally charged simple appraisal generated at a point of retail sale; produced by the retail staff of a sales establishment.
  2. A third party contracted by a sales establishment to generate an appraisal for the benefit of the consumer. These are also free or of nominal cost.
  3. A store or seller who offers appraisals as a service to supplement its primary sales business.
  4. An independent appraiser whose sole function is to generate and sell appraisal reports for a specific client.


3. Why would a client want to choose an independent appraiser as a means to obtain an appraisal report; over any of the methods listed above?

The reason is quite simple; it represents a conflict of interest. When the seller is involved in issuing a dollar value for an item that is being sold to a consumer, the seller cannot remain impartial to the value given of their own merchandise. Since they have invested interest in the item being sold; their value would inevitably be stated at or above the item being purchased from the establishment.

When a third party is contracted by a retailer; The is the third party's interest is represented by the retailer and not the consumer; it also presents a conflict of interest because the third party would as well be obligated to provide a value equal or greater to the value at which an item being sold to a consumer. You would never see an instance when the value of an "in house" appraisal or a value by a third party contractor is less than the value that the item was sold for.


4. And what about the Independent Appraiser?

An Independent appraiser is one that is hired directly by the consumer; works directly with the consumer; and therefore ultimately represents the best interest of the consumer; without any bias.

Independent appraisers are bound by Uniform Standards of ethical conduct which prohibit any reason or motivation to inflate, devalue, or apply same values to any of the item(s) they appraise. Independent appraisers are incredibly thorough, competent, and typically provide the customer or client with specific details regarding their personal property.

Appraisals are not scientific facts; but rather professional opinions based on the Appraiser's knowledge, education and experience. As a result; values and data given by appraisers vary from person to person.

A seller that supplements his or her business by offering "independent" appraisals as a sideline; also represents a conflict of interest as well to the consumer. A seller that is directly involved in selling his or her own merchandise would be inclined to slant or undervalue the merchandise of a competitor, in order to promote (and hopefully sell) their own products

Christian S. Richart, CG., MV.

Graduate Gemologist / Master Valuer

P.O. Box 1295

Weaverville, NC 28787


By Appointment

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