A few days ago, a friend was commenting on the recent articles on auction do’s and don’ts. He asked if it was really necessary to have an agreed upon inventory between the seller and the auctioneer. My answer was a question: “Would you take a deposit to the bank without counting it and receiving a deposit slip for the amount you turned over?”

Many people do not realize that their goods, no matter how large or small, have monetary value. When you turn those goods over to an auctioneer, you are, in effect, turning over uncounted cash. Not only would I have an inventory of the items I had placed for sale, I would have that inventory signed and dated by the auctioneer prior to the sale.

After the sale, a simple accounting of the items that sold, their proceeds and the return of all unsold items should prove relatively simple.

I am also asked if I am available for talks on personal property appraising. If you need a speaker for a civic group or other organization, contact me as noted at the end of this column, and we can see about setting up a date and time.

Another question frequently asked is “Why do you have to personally see and examine the items you appraise? Isn’t my description sufficient?” While there are a few exceptions, a proper personal property appraisal must include such an examination. This is to protect both the client and the appraiser. Questions of condition, quality and age must be answered in order to render a complete appraisal.

The exception is a “retroactive” appraisal where the item(s) have been lost, stolen or destroyed in a disaster. In such cases, the appraiser makes the best educated guess possible as to the value of the loss. However, the appraisal report is very clear in asserting that the appraiser has not personally examined the item(s) and is basing the appraisal on the description and condition report of the client.

While in a perfect world the appraiser can examine the items at leisure and have the luxury of performing validation tests, in reality clients are looking for rapid results at a minimum cost. Only you, the client, can determine how much in depth you want the appraisal to go. Complete appraisals take time, and time is money.

Copies of the first 50 columns in this series are available in book form by sending a check for $7.50 + $1 shipping to: PO Box 672, Richmond, KY 40475.

For questions of a general nature about personal property appraising, contact the author by e-mail at jimant@ipro.net.

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