Cris Drugan ISA-AM, MIPAV-OS is the principle of Emerald Art Services, LLC and an accredited Personal Property Appraiser since 1999. Cris currently serves as Vice President on the board of the Artists Archives of the Western Reserve, and is also a member of the International Society of Appraisers and the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers in Ireland.

More often than not, owners of art are not prepared when requesting appraisals.

We want to change that. Before you contact an appraiser, review the questions below and see if you can answer them. Chances are you'll be asked these questions on your initial call. 

1. What would you like appraised?

Your appraiser will need to know about the item that you would like appraised. You have many different types of property in your home. Is it artwork (paintings, prints, sculpture), collectibles (figurines, comic books, posters, coins), decorative art (clocks, lamps, rugs), machinery or heavy equipment (farm, industrial or construction equipment), jewelry, or general household contents such as clothing, linens, tools or appliances. This information will help the appraiser determine if they have the expertise to provide your appraisal.

Make sure your appraiser has the expertise and knowledge of the types of property you want them to appraise. Websites like the International Society of Appraisers offer credentials, specialties, and services for appraisers near you.

2. What is the appraisal being used for?

Is there a specific need or problem for the appraisal to resolve, or do you simply want to know what it’s worth?

There are a number of situations in which having a written appraisal can assist you. A few of the most common are liquidation, family distribution, charitable contributions, insurance, divorce, collateral loans, succession planning, and damage Claims. Knowing what the appraisal will be used for will often let the appraiser know what value should be researched. For example, if you wanted to insure an item, the replacement cost value would need researched, while if you were donating a painting to a museum, a fair market value would be determined.

3. Will others use or rely on the appraisal report?

Depending on what the report will be used for, a number of different people could rely on the results of an appraisal report. Who are the people that have an interest in appraisals? Who are the people that need to make decisions based on the information in the report? Those people can include the buyer or seller of a certain piece of property, an attorney or accountant, the IRS or local courts, insurance companies, banks, and you or your family members.

If you enter your appraisals in your Artwork Archive account, then you can easily and quickly share them directly from your account. And since Artwork Archive is cloud-based, that means you can share the information anywhere and from any device.

4. Who owns the property and where is it located?

In most cases, the person that contacts the appraiser is the client and owner of the property to be appraised. However, in certain instances a third party such as a bank, attorney or buyer is the client and will hire an appraiser to value property owned by a third person. At their request, clients and owners can be kept confidential in the appraisal report, however, this information is required and will be held strictly in the appraiser's work file.

The location of the property both geographically and specifically at the location is important for the appraiser to schedule their travel and inspection times, as well as permit them to bring any additional tools or equipment with them to facilitate the inspection of the property.

By having the answers to these few questions ready, the appraiser can provide you with an estimated cost of their services and schedule a convenient time to appraise your property.

Plus, from the beginning, you are arming your appraiser with information that will help them provide you with the most accurate, ethical and up-to-date appraisal. Accredited and certified appraisers spend many hours training, testing and certifying to provide their client with substantiated value decisions and should not be taken lightly.  

After you've spent the time and money to get an appraisal, make sure you have it saved somewhere safe where you can easily access it later.

Collectors around the world recommend Artwork Archive for storing important documents and information.