Residential content appraisal when selling, divorce or managing an estate
Our clients often consult us to obtain a second opinion on appraisals of works of art, jewellery and antiques. While estimating the value of things is not an exact science, there are many ways to determine an amount that reflects the realities of the market.
Why is it then that some of our clients receive estimates that do not meet any logical criteria? There can be several reasons for this. It’s important to become informed before retaining the services of an appraiser of furniture or art. There is no law governing the field of personal property appraisal in Quebec. Anyone can become an expert appraiser.
Make sure that your appraiser:
- Is recognized within the profession
- Is familiar with the art market and the resale of valuable assets
- Is experienced
- Provides you with references.
Need estimates of the value of your artworks and antiques? You have three options:
First of all, you can contact the owner of an art gallery for advice, which may be subject to a fee. Pay particular attention to the types of artworks that the gallery deals with. A gallery that specializes in indigenous art will have a tough time appraising your 18th-century Italian painting!
A second option is to contact an auction house. Since these firms specialize in the resale of valuables, you will be able to obtain an appraisal that reflects the reality of the secondary market. They generally have several specialists on staff, so you should be able to find a competent expert who can answer your questions, either free of charge or for a fee.
Independent appraiser or expert
A third option is to call upon an independent appraiser, that is, someone who is independent and not tied to any gallery, auction house or antique dealer. Such a person will be able to analyze your needs and provide guidance. As an independent appraiser, he/she will give you an impartial opinion.
You should be aware that while the owners and staff of auction houses are professional and competent, their job is to take your paintings, trinkets, jewellery and antiques on consignment and to sell them. Therefore, the appraisals they give may be inflated or, conversely, below the true market price.
Whomever you wish to work with, make sure you are dealing with a professional who is serious and honest. If someone offers to buy your belongings at the very first meeting and assures you that their price is the best on the market, beware! Ask for a second, independent opinion.
Sometimes, it is best to obtain the opinion of an independent expert.