The Appraisal Foundation sets the guidelines for all appraisers and publishes the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).
They have added a new page to their website with resources for consumers seeking personal property appraisals. The following is available:
Resources For Personal Property Appraisers
- Links to major appraisal societies with searchable databases of personal property appraisers (including the International Society of Appraisers, of which I am a member).
- Brochure titled “The Personal Property Qualification Criteria”, effective Jan. 1, 2018.
- Informational brochures describing the process of valuation for different types of property including Gems and Jewelry, Fine and Decorative Art (see below), Machinery and Equipment.
Valuation of Fine and Decorative Art
Users of appraisal services are encouraged to take advantage of these informative resources.
A Circle of Trust has been established by the three major professional societies for personal property appraisers to jointly promote education to the public regarding the importance of using credentialed appraisers. They include the International Society of Appraisers, American Society of Appraisers and the Appraisers Association of American. The joint announcement states:
Members of these associations earn their credentials through a stringent admissions, training and testing process, are required to comply with IRS and AQB guidelines, adhere to a code of ethics, and to complete continuing education requirements. These qualifications provide a level of professionalism that is unmatched, and ensure the public that appraisals performed by an accredited appraiser are among the most reliable appraisals available.
All three organizations strongly urge the public to verify the educational and experiential background of an appraiser prior to retaining their services, and to be wary of red flags that indicate an appraiser may not be objective in conducting appraisals. These include charging for appraisals based on the appraised value of an item, or offering to purchase an item the appraiser has appraised. Professional, competent appraisers always conduct appraisals at “arm’s length,” without self-interest.
The full news release and contact information for the three societies can be found at PRSYNC.
You might be surprised to hear that there are no Federal or state licenses for personal property appraisers in the United States. When it comes to placing a value on your antiques, art and household contents, anybody can say they are a appraiser. If a personal property appraiser claims to be licensed, it is for some other aspect of their business, e.g. auctioneering, real property appraising, private investigation or even a city business license.
How are personal property appraisers credentialed and what standards do they follow?
Appraisers are credentialed by their professional appraisal associations. The three largest associations with personal property appraisers are the International Society of Appraisers (ISA), the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) and the Appraisers Association of America (AAA). In addition to testing, education and demonstration of appraisal experience, designated members must requalify every 5 years. All members are bound by a Code of Ethics.
The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) is a set of guidelines published by The Appraisal Standards Board at The Appraisal Foundation. It is the source of generally accepted standards and ethics for appraisers in the United States. Appraisers must take USPAP courses and keep current with the updates every 2 years. In addition, the Appraisers Qualifications Board has developed voluntary minimum qualifications for personal property appraisers.
The IRS has established the following requirements:
- A Qualified Appraiser has earned a professional designation from a recognized professional appraiser organization for demonstrated competency in valuing the type of property being appraised, or has met certain minimum education and experience requirements.
- The individual regularly prepares appraisals for which he or she is paid.
- The individual demonstrates verifiable education and experience in valuing the type of property being appraised.
- The individual has not been prohibited from practicing before the IRS under section 330(c) of title 31 of the United States Code at any time during the 3-year period ending on the date of the appraisal.
- The individual is not an excluded individual.
What should you do to make sure you are getting a qualified and ethical appraiser?
- Choose an appraiser from a major appraisal society and check to see if they are current. Certified and Accredited are the highest levels of designation.
- Ask them about their experience, areas of designation and expertise.
- The appraiser should provide a 3rd-party independent opinion of value, and not have a potential conflict of interest.
- Choose an appraiser who is USPAP compliant and IRS qualified.
Perhaps personal property appraisers will be regulated and licensed at some future date. In the meantime, the user of appraisal services should carefully consider their selection.