There are many factors that affect our fees. Art of Estates is an appraisal company that stays current with the marketplace, trends and up-to-date with changes in requirements for appraisers. Without a large professional network of training associations, websites, peer groups, publications and even a personal reference library, it would be difficult to stay a tune to what is occurring in the personal property field.

If books were the only source of information for appraisers, it could take several years for that information to hit the marketplace. In today’s world information travels much faster and more efficiently allowing the market to correct more swiftly that it did 20-30 years ago. Unfortunately, that information and connectivity comes with a cost.



We subscribe to over $2,500 a year worth of pricing databases and sometimes need even more to procure accurate values on a unique piece of property. Additionally, we are subscribers of more than 25 online price databases that provide property for sale, that are actively selling daily or are already sold.



If an owner of a certain piece of property was to subscribe to one of these databases, it would unlikely that they would be able to come to an accurate conclusion of value. Appraisers use the aggregate of all the information from all the databases together from the different sources to come up with a value. Besides, a self-made report would have questions of bias that would surround the item in question.


Furthermore, if you are supplying a form or appraisal to the IRS, the appraisal must meet a minimum standard of appraiser qualifications, be signed by the appraiser that completed the report and have their Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Social Security Number (SSN). These are just a few of the requirements put in place to ensure that an unbiased third party appraised your property.
Like lawyers who pay dues to the bar association or real estate brokers and agents who pay dues to sell real estate, Art of Estates also pays dues for similar rights. We spend more than $1,500 annually to be an acredited member with associations in the appraisal industry.
A huge unregulated market

Unfortunately, the art world is the largest unregulated market in the world and it ranks as the third largest area for corruption and illegal activity. This is largely why the public believes that appraisals should be free, but here is where the road splits.  Antique Road Show, American Pickers and radio personalities are not appraisals. It is entertainment and they provide a range of value, known as an estimate, but more closely related to an auction estimate. However, auction estimates are values that the auction house you’re speaking with believes they may be able bring at their auction, not another auction or all auctions. This is not a value for just Ebay, an antique store, a private dealer or seller. Consider the audience, location, condition and the many other elements that may be affecting value on that particular day or at least up until that point. Just Answer, Yahoo Answers, “Free Art Appraiser .com” and the many other free places to get “free valuations” are not appraisals. These are not credible or USPAP compliant appraisals for insurance, donation, taxes or even equitable distribution and cannot be used with the IRS.

The appraisals that are produced here are either for personal acquisition, brokering or in some cases for search engine optimization purposes to draw web traffic to a site that needs to produce advertisement or related service revenues.

How our appraisals differ

If accuracy, credibility, reliability and dependability in your report are what you need, then you’ve come to the right place. Art of Estates is not an agent for and does not represent any particular auction houses or dealers in the marketplace.  Appraisers are regulated by their associations and by the IRS. A “picker” selling a piece of artwork at an antique store will likely never have any repercussions from anyone or be held accountable for any element of the transaction.

Similarly, an appraiser with no affiliated associations will likely have no recourse if the appraisal is improperly written, unless it goes in front of the IRS. However, most appraisers who are not qualified, up to date on education or part of an association will likely not produce an appraisal that may be seen in a courtroom or by the IRS because they know that their chances of being held accountable are much greater.

Art of Estates is more than qualified to write appraisals for personal property, and we direct you to our specialty areas found on our appraisals page.

Fee Structure

Art of Estates provides single item appraisals and appraisals for the entire personal property collections onsite. We can work by hourly rates, daily rates or rates by the project.  

Our team’s largest project in 2016 (to date) was an IRS Estate Tax appraisal with 566 pages, 4,250 photos, 571 property entries (some property combined), 1100 AD – 1990 age range, 2 teams of two onsite took 4 days to inspect with minimal impact on grieving family, 60 days to complete, 1 required (successful) authentication process and quoted hourly for the assignment and we respectfully came within the recommended budget provided before the onset of the process.

Our smallest report in 2016 has been a 15-page report with 1 piece of property, paid a standard flat fee for a private client to a museum, under IRS guidelines for a non-cash charitable donation.

Due to recent changes in USPAP, appraisal association’s rigid requirements of appraisal reports and IRS thresholds a typical 1 item appraisal usually prints out to 20 pages in 2016. If a potential appraiser your vetting does not have an appraisal report of this size, you are likely being provided an appraisal report that is not professional, comprehensive, insightful and most likely not performed to the requirements of USPAP.  An appraisal report that is not performed at this level can be dismissed in court cases. Do not waste your time, money and the judge’s attention on an unqualified appraisal report from an unaccredited part-time appraiser and always ask for their USPAP completion documents.

Accepted Forms of Payment

Art of Estates prefers the listed methods of payment in order of preference below. Convenience fees may apply to credit, debit or PayPal transactions. In some unique and mutually agreed upon cases, we may offer to lend credit on large or long running projects.

  1. Wire Transfer or Direct Deposit (preferred & quickest, DD is free)
  2. Certified Funds Check
  3. Money Order
  4. SquareUP (on site/online)
  5. PayPal
  6. Personal Check
Reports are never delivered or sent prior to final payment being received and cleared. Therefore, if the appraisal is time-sensitive payment should be sent ahead of time to offset any potential delays. 50% payment is required to begin all appraisals for new clients. Returning clients may be subject to the same, but this may be open for review.