Understanding Appraisals

What is an Appraisal?

An appraisal is an unbiased independent objective opinion of value of an object by a qualified professional appraiser based upon observable data relative to the appropriate market(s), value approach, valuation date, and other factors.  

Do You Need an Appraisal?

An appraisal is a key element in protecting your interests, often serving as the cornerstone in a financial transaction. An appraisal is required for most donations, for estate taxes, for insurance, and to prevent controversy by giving a basis for equitable division of assets in cases of divorce, downsizing, or inheritance.   

Different Appraisals for Different Needs

Written appraisals are important legal documents, which accurately describe an object and establish its value for a variety of purposes. These may include:   


Insurance: To determine the appropriate replacement cost, most commonly to be replaced at retail prices, of an object in order to correctly provide for insurance coverage.   


Loss and/or Damage Claims: To determine the value of the object(s) lost or damaged and/or the amount of loss, if any, in value as a result of the damage. Utilized to aid or facilitate claims settlements.   


Property Division:To determine the Fair Market Value of the object(s) in order to assist in the equitable distribution of property in a will.   


Charitable Donations: To determine the Fair Market Value of the object(s) given to an accepting organization or institution in order to aid in establishing the donor's income tax deduction.   


Informational and/or Market Related: To determine the Value of an object in anticipation of potential sale, or to determine the Value of an object under consideration for purchase, or to determine the Value of an object simply to know what it is worth within a specified market, or to determine specific information about an object such as maker, age, country of origin, condition, etc.  


Estate: To determine the Fair Market Value of the object(s) in connection with the preparation of estate tax returns, or to assist in estate planning, and/or to aid in the distribution of assets.   


Financial: To determine the Fair Market Value of an object for asset management, loan collateral and related financial and legal matters.     

What is in an Appraisal?

Properly prepared appraisals are individual written reports and are not simple price lists. The specific content and format of each appraisal report varies according to the individual function and purpose of the appraisal, but each appraisal should contain the following information:  

  • Name and Address of the Client
  • Purpose of the Appraisal
  • Intended use: Insurance, Donation, Estate, Equitable Distribution, etc.
  • Type of Valuation Used, i.e., Replacement Value, Fair Market Value, Marketable Cash Value, etc., and definition of the value.
  • Valuation Approach Used
  • Market in which the valuation is applied
  • Statement of Professional Qualifications of the Appraiser.
  • Effective date of the Appraisal.
  • Statement of physical inspection/examination by the appraiser.
  • Statement of "disinterest" on the part of the Appraiser.
  • Statement that the appraisal fee is not contingent upon the appraised value of the object(s).
  • Thorough description of appraised objects, including measurements and weights when applicable
  • Provenance (if available).
  • Exhibition and Publication History (if any).
  • Statement of condition of the appraised object(s).
  • Statement of Value
  • Signature of the Appraiser.
  • Statement of number of pages in appraisal.

Contact Us

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Joseph P. Brady Appraisal Services

2870 Peachtree Road, Suite 495, Atlanta, GA 30305, US

(770) 594-9293