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What should I look for in an appraiser?

If you need to sell off valuable pieces of art to fulfill a divorce settlement, you will need someone to examine the art and provide you with a proper value. To help ensure you arrive at a fair price and that the value satisfies your spouse, you should consider turning to a professional appraiser to evaluate your art. 

Consumer Reports explains that a good appraiser should be a professional, someone who will act in an ethical manner and avoid conflicts of interest. As you examine your options for an appraiser, you may find some signs that the appraiser is someone you can trust, or conversely, someone you wish to avoid. 

Professional credentials 

To find a professional appraiser, you should check to see if the appraiser has credentials from a professional appraisal organization. One such organization is the Appraisers Association of America. These organizations provide appraisers with both professional and ethical training. A credentialed appraiser is likely someone who understands how to act professionally when dealing with you. 

Independent appraisers 

You might know a local antiques or collectibles dealer. While it might seem like a good idea to trust a dealer to appraise your artwork, you might have a conflict of interest on your hands if you do. Since antiques dealers buy valuables, there is the chance a dealer may want to buy your art from you and lower the price to secure a better deal. 

This may not be true for all collectible dealers, but choosing an independent, credentialed appraiser may be the better option. An appraiser will not have any financial interest in your art. In fact, it is a violation of professional ethics for your appraiser to offer to buy your valuables. 

Appraising your item 

You should expect that a professional appraiser will give you a written report that fully describes your valuable item. The appraiser should also include the procedure the appraiser used to determine the value. Appraisers may charge you a flat fee or an hourly fee. They should not charge you a fee derived from a percentage of the value of your collectible. 

There are other ways to check out an appraiser, such as looking at reviews offered by past clients who may explain if they had a good experience with the appraiser. If and your spouse can establish a common criteria to find an appraiser, you may be able to avoid a conflict that could prolong your divorce. 

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