Frequently Asked Questions

Please also take the time to read our Appraisal Terms of Service and Website Terms and Conditions!

How much does an appraisal cost?

Research and report writing are billed hourly. Historical research services, which do not include valuation, are $35 per hour. Basic valuation and full appraisal reports are both $75 per hour, but valuation, AKA a restricted appraisal report, tends to take less time than a full appraisal report.

What types of payment do you accept?

An invoice is emailed to you through PayPal, which accepts all major credit and debit cards. More information can be found on Paypal's website. If Paypal does not work for you, please let us know upfront so we can work with you to find a solution.

When will I get my appraisal or historical research report back?

The turnaround time varies on the depth of research and analysis necessary and the volume of jobs we are currently working on. You can expect to hear back from us within two weeks, often in less time than that.

How many hours of work will I be billed for?

The number of hours depends largely on the intended use of the appraisal or history and what type of item is being researched. With research, analysis, and report writing, it is generally anywhere from two to five hours of work, with most jobs landing somewhere in the middle. We charge an upfront retainer of two hours' work, with the balance refunded if the work take less than two hours. If you purchased one of our Groupon deals, the purchase price satisfies the two hour retainer.

What kinds of items do you specialize in?

We have the most specialized knowledge in medical collectibles and antiques, Victorian decorative arts, and artifacts relating to the American South, specifically the Charleston area and South Carolina Lowcountry, but we also have the historical and market research experience to delve into a wide array of general antiques and artifacts. Contact us to see what we can do with your treasures!

What's the difference between research, valuation, and appraisal reports?

For the way we use them, research means just historical research on the item--what it is, what it was for, how old it might be, etc.--without telling you how much it could be worth. Our "valuation" refers to what professional appraisers call a restricted appraisal report. Basically it's the antique roadshow treatment, where you find out what's something is worth just out of curiosity. A full appraisal report is just that, a full document that you could literally take to the bank. This is what you need if you need anyone besides yourself to be able to use the appraisal, be it your accountant, your lawyer, or your insurance adjuster. If you're not sure which you need, contact us and we'll help you sort out what best satisfies your needs.

What does it mean to be ISA certified?

Personal property appraisers (AKA antiques appraisers) are not licensed by the government, but still receive government regulation and stardization through USPAP and the Appraisal Foundation (see right). Antiques appraisers are trained and certified in these standards through one of the main appraisal organizations, including the International Society of Appraisers (ISA). This certification guarantees that an appraiser will conduct their work thoroughly, ethically, and uniformly. More information can be found on their website, where we also have a profile.

What is USPAP?

The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) are produced by the Appraisal Foundation and are, in essence, an outline of conduct, ethics, and procedures that must be followed by any certified appraiser, including real estate, business, and personal property. It is written to guarantee that appraisers know what is expected of them, as well as so consumers know what they should be receiving in an appraisal. It's updated every two years, and a digital version of the 2018-2019 edition can be found here. More information about USPAP and appraising in general can also be found on the Appraisal Foundation website.

Will my information be kept confidential?

Absolutely! Naturally we will not share your contact information with anyone unless you ask us to do so. Reports are only meant to be seen and used by the intended users defined at the start of the assignment, and it's up to you to deliver it to them if you so choose. As per USPAP policy, our notes and files for an assignment must be retained for five years after it is completed and two years after the end of any litigation surrounding the assignment, whichever comes last.

A Few Helpful Definitions

All definitions taken from the Uniform Standards of Appraisal Practice 2018-2019

Appraisal

(noun) the act or process of developing an opinion of value; an opinion of value. (adjective) of or pertaining to appraising and related functions such as appraisal practice or appraisal services.

Appraiser

one who is expected to perform valuation services competently and in a manner that is independent, impartial, and objective.

Intended Use

the use or uses of an appraiser’s reported appraisal, appraisal review, or appraisal consulting assignment opinions and conclusions, as identified by the appraiser based on communication with the client at the time of the assignment.

Intended User

the client and any other party as identified, by name or type, as users of the appraisal, appraisal review, or appraisal consulting report by the appraiser on the basis of communication with the client at the time of the assignment.

Market Value

a type of value, stated as an opinion, that presumes the transfer of a property (i.e., a right of ownership or a bundle of such rights), as of a certain date, under specific conditions set forth in the definition of the term identified by the appraiser as applicable in an appraisal.

Personal Property

identifiable tangible objects that are considered by the general public as being “personal” - for example, furnishings, artwork, antiques, gems and jewelry, collectibles, machinery and equipment; all tangible property that is not classified as real estate.

Scope of Work

the type and extent of research and analyses in an assignment.

Value

the monetary relationship between properties and those who buy, sell, or use those properties. Value expresses an economic concept. As such, it is never a fact but always an opinion of the worth of a property at a given time in accordance with a specific definition of value. In appraisal practice, value must always be qualified - for example, market value, liquidation value, or investment value.