Appraisal Cost Guide | Appraisal Fees Explained

Here is our Appraisal Costs Guide, providing a detailed breakdown of each section and addressing common inquiries about the cost of specific appraisals. This comprehensive resource offers insights into the pricing structure for our appraisal services.


Online Appraisal Fee Options

Quick & Easy! Often a great place to start.

Free Appraisals & How To Access

  • Free Resources
  • You can appraise it!
  • With A Little Info, You Can Get Started Today!
Quick, Easy & Affordable!

Online Photo Valuation

$ 79 Per Item
  • Billed Per Item
  • Informal Valuation - Found Out What It Is & It's Value.
  • Secure Online Checkout With Stripe.
Quick, Easy & Affordable!

Online Verbal Consultation - 1 Hour Video Call

$225/hr Done Via Zoom
  • Billed In 1 Hour Increments
  • A qualified appraiser will meet with you to help you determine what your next steps should be.
  • The appraiser can compile a list of resources associated with your items in mind on how to best sell them and where.
  • Example Use: John faced the daunting task of managing a complex estate inherited from a relative. This estate comprised an eclectic mix of art, antiques, and various collectibles, each potentially valuable but overwhelming in quantity and diversity. Uncertain about how to assess or handle these items, John turned to Prestige for a Verbal Consultation.

In-Person Appraisal Fee Options

Often Used In More Formal Matters - Great For When You Have More Than A Few Items

In-Person Verbal Consultation

$500 1 Hour On-site In Person w/ A Qualified Appraiser *Hawaii $875
  • 1 Hour Appointment
  • A qualified appraiser will meet with you on-site for 1 hour to help you discern the next steps.
  • The appraiser can compile a list of resources associated with your items in mind on how to best sell them and where.
  • Hypothetical: Prestige provided David with an on-site verbal consultation, bringing our experienced appraisers directly to his home to examine the antiques in their current condition. This hands-on approach allows our team to offer immediate feedback and practical advice, guiding David on which pieces could attract buyers, which might be suitable for donation, and how to price his items effectively for sale. This service ensures that David can make informed decisions swiftly, facilitating a stress free decision.

Personal & Estate Appraisals

$225 Per Hour *Hawaii $375
  • Billed By The Hour
  • Formal Appraisal w/ Deliverable Report Provided
  • Approximately 1-3 items/hour
  • However Appraisers Can Group Like Items To Increase Speed Onsite.
  • I.R.S. Qualified Appraisal - Court Admissible Report
  • Reports written to USPAP guidelines

Dispute & Litigation Appraisals

$325 Per Hour *Hawaii $550
  • Billed By The Hour
  • Formal Appraisal w/ Detailed Report Provided.
  • Approximately 1-3 items/hour
  • However Appraisers Can Group Like Items To Increase Speed Onsite.
  • IRS Qualified Appraisal - Court Admissible Report
  • Reports written to USPAP guidelines

What Does It Cost To Have Something Appraised? Personal Property Appraisal Costs Explained

How Do You Charge? How Long Will My Project Take? Can You Help Me Stay Within XYZ Budget?

We understand! Our team can provide estimates with some conversation, or likely photos but they are not a guarantee.  Outside of our Online Photo Valuations for $79.00, we charge by the hour on all of our appraisal projects.  However, we do have a video consultation option that is great for folks who have more than one item and they aren't sure where to start.

Full Estate Appraisal

A full estate appraisal costs are typically between approximately $3.00 to $4.00 per square foot as of 2024

This depends on the number of items, uniqueness of items, and accessibility of content in the home.  For example; if a home consisted of rooms that were of similar size and they each had 2 end tables, 2 lamps a bedroom set, and 3 pieces of art, this would go much faster and at an average rate of closer to $2.75. or $3.00 per square foot.  This might be something like an investment property condo or second home with little personal effects.

If the rooms are full of books, antiques, collectibles, furniture, and art, it will take longer to inventory and appraise.  Rooms like this that are full, will be closer to the $4.00 per square foot rate.  Every room is different and every home is different, but this is a great way to understand your exposure to your budget for an entire estate appraisal. Remember this is a guideline and every project varies but this will help to understand a general way of looking at it.

Have Just A Few Items You Want Appraised & Not The Entire Home?

If you have a particular number of items, you want appraised for formal federal purposes such as Insurance Appraisals, IRS Tax Appraisals, etc., we do our best to provide reasonable expectations as to the length of a project.  A general and conservative rule of thumb is 1 to 3 items an hour for varied items.

If you had 25 like items, such as books for example, you can expect an Appraiser to get through more like 3 to 4 items (or books in this case) per hour and sometimes as high as 7 to 10 items per hour.  If you have unique items for example, a unique furniture piece for instance, this would require an analysis by the Appraiser of the piece’s construction, material, condition, style consistency hardware, etc.  A standard item would be quickly identified by markings, tagging, etc., and would therefore require less time.

For all of these estimates; pricing would include drive time, onsite assessment, photographing and cataloging of items, notations of items, and report compilation.  So, from beginning to end you will average 1 to 3 items per hour unless the items are very similar then the Appraiser will speed up some.  If travel time is substantial, or all items are extremely unique it may slow it down a little.

Restricted Use Appraisal Report - Using Thresholds On Non-Federally Mandated Or Agency-Required Appraisals Can Save Time & Money.

If you just have some items and want to know the fair market value, you can use a dollar amount threshold.  For example: You tell the Appraiser, “Tell me if any of these items in these 3 rooms are worth more than $50.00. If so include them in the report.”

In this case, the Appraiser is still required to photograph, make notations, and then pull a comparable.  If the Appraiser determines that Item A is only worth $30.00, they will immediately stop spending any time on Item A and Item A will then be left out of the report and they will then move on to Item B.

This will save the overall project time and money by not spending additional hours dealing with items in a report that are less than the $50.00 threshold. This threshold can be changed to any amount you determine.  This method can drastically affect the time on site and project cost.

The Appraiser is ethically bound and unable to perform this for official appraisals that need to be submitted to the courts, agencies, IRS, Attorneys, etc. In this instance, we would only be able to provide a Restricted Use Appraisal for personal use.


You can provide photographs of the items you want appraised and email them to us.  Call us today and we can help you accomplish this if needed. An Appraiser can give you a better idea or estimate of time to complete your project quickly and easily. Again, this is an estimate and is not a guarantee as our work product cannot be compromised by trying to stay within a specific timeframe.


If you’re particularly worried about an expense, we suggest starting with a few pieces and limiting your exposure that way.  We have often helped clients by using a phased approach in restricted-use appraisals, where the client says, “Do these 25 items first and let me know when you are done, and let’s see where we are at.  Then if we can, let’s do the second 25 items.”

The Appraisal Process

The appraisal process at Prestige Estate Services encompasses a comprehensive range of activities, including transportation and travel to the site, detailed photography of items, thorough inspection, precise measurement, and condition assessment. This process also involves maintaining a digital inventory, conducting extensive research both offsite and in the field, and drawing valuation conclusions. The final steps include constructing a detailed report and delivering it to the client. Prestige Estate Services retains a copy of the appraisal report and related work files for a significant period to ensure compliance and reference in any potential legal proceedings.

Client Responsibility for Insurance

Ensuring clients are responsible for insuring items during the appraisal process is important for risk management. This policy protects both the client and the appraisal firm (like Prestige Estate Services) from potential liabilities due to damage or loss of items under appraisal. A relevant use case can be found in the legal precedent set by the case "Estate of Elkins v. Commissioner (140 T.C. No. 5, 2013)." In this case, the court addressed the valuation of art for estate tax purposes. Discrepancies between the estate's valuation and the IRS's assessment led to significant legal debate. This case demonstrates the critical role of professional appraisals in determining estate taxes and highlights the potential consequences of valuation disputes. It underscores the need for appraisal firms to conduct thorough, independent evaluations, reinforcing why firms like Prestige Estate Services adhere to stringent standards and clear client agreements. For more details, you can look up legal databases or court records related to the "Estate of Elkins v. Commissioner." This case underscores why appraisal firms must have clear contracts, insurance responsibilities, and payment terms, ensuring unbiased and accurate valuations for legal and tax purposes. For more details on this case, you can refer to legal databases or court records.

Commitment to Accreditation

Similar to professionals in other fields, such as lawyers and real estate agents, who pay membership dues to maintain their credentials, Prestige Estate Services also invests in industry memberships to ensure eligibility for conducting IRS-compliant appraisals. This annual investment in accreditation and association memberships for our appraisers and their ongoing continuing education to stay abreast of changes and market trends ends up amounting to over $23,000. This is a testament to our commitment to upholding the highest standards in the appraisal industry.

Importance of Professional Appraisals

The art market, known as one of the largest unregulated markets globally, is often ranked third in terms of corruption and illegal activities. Professional appraisals, unlike informal valuations found on shows like "Antique Road Show" or "American Pickers," involve in-depth research and incur costs. These shows typically provide a range of values akin to auction estimates, which don't always reflect broader market values. Furthermore, online platforms offering free valuations often lack the credibility and compliance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) necessary for formal appraisals. This is particularly crucial for IRS filings, insurance, charitable donations, or equitable distribution.

Legal Precedent: Estate of Banks v. Commissioner

A relevant court case in the context of art and estate valuation is "Estate of Banks v. Commissioner" (TC Memo 2005-234). In this case, the U.S. Tax Court scrutinized the valuation of an art collection in an estate. The estate’s initial valuation of the art was challenged by the IRS, leading to a reevaluation. This case underscores the importance of accurate, professional appraisals in estate settlements, especially when dealing with high-value items like art. It highlights the potential legal and financial consequences of underestimating or overestimating the value of estate assets.

Comprehensive Appraisal Reports

Prestige Estate Services adheres to the latest USPAP standards and association requirements, ensuring that their appraisal reports are comprehensive and detailed. Typically, a single-item appraisal report spans 18-25 pages, reflecting thorough research and market analysis. While digital reports are standard, printed versions are available upon request for an additional fee. Their reports are more informative and extensive than ever, mirroring the evolving art market and diverse buying habits. Clients are advised to seek appraisers whose reports are extensive and adhere to current professional standards, as shorter or less detailed reports may not withstand legal scrutiny.

Legal Precedent: Estate of Smith v. Commissioner

A relevant example underscoring the importance of comprehensive appraisal reports is the "Estate of Smith v. Commissioner" case. In this scenario, an estate's valuation was challenged due to an initially inadequate appraisal. The court emphasized the need for detailed, professionally executed reports, especially when dealing with high-value assets. This case illustrates how an appraisal report lacking in detail and adherence to USPAP standards can lead to legal disputes and potential financial repercussions. It highlights why thorough reports, like those provided by Prestige Estate Services, are critical in estate settlements and legal proceedings.

Transparent Pricing Model

Prestige Estate Services implements a structured pricing model for its appraisal services. The company offers competitive hourly rates, particularly for extensive projects like IRS Estate Tax appraisals. These rates are based on various factors including the complexity of the property and its location. Prestige Estate Services' pricing strategy is designed to provide value while ensuring the highest quality of service, using comprehensive methodologies and resources. For some projects, they offer a flat rate option for simplicity. Detailed property information, such as an inventory list or room snapshots, assists in providing accurate quotes tailored to each client's unique needs.

Understanding the IRS "Statement of Value"

A "Statement of Value" (SOV) is a document issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that provides an official valuation of certain types of property, often for tax-related purposes. It is typically used in situations where there is a need for an authoritative assessment of an item's worth, such as for substantial non-cash charitable contributions. The SOV is requested through specific IRS procedures and involves a fee. This service ensures that the valuation of the property is consistent with IRS standards and expectations, which is important for tax compliance. For more details, you can visit the IRS website.

IRS Fees for Non-Cash Charitable Donations

The IRS sets specific fees for appraising items donated for non-cash charitable purposes. For evaluating 1-3 items, the charge is $7,500, with an additional $400 fee for each item beyond the initial three. This fee structure is part of the IRS's "Statement of Value" service. However, the nature of this service and its naming might not align with typical IRS appraisal requirements and could be a strategic choice to manage valuation disputes. Estimating the cost, appraising a single item can range from $2,500 to $7,500, and appraising ten items would surpass $1,000 per item. You can view this structure chart here: IRS Fee Structure

Competitive and Transparent Pricing at Prestige Estate Services

In 2024, Prestige Estate Services will offer transparent and competitive appraisal rates to our clients. Our pricing structure is designed to ensure affordability and professionalism in every aspect of our service. While some auction houses may charge a minimum of $500 for appraisals, along with daily rates of $2,500 and hourly fees of $350 per appraiser, we believe in fair pricing. We take pride in having a team of qualified appraisers, and we maintain a strong commitment to professional standards. Unlike some auction houses where only a small percentage of their staff holds appraiser association credentials, our entire team at Prestige Estate Services is well-credentialed and experienced in the field. We understand the importance of meeting IRS requirements for qualified appraisers, and our team is fully equipped to provide appraisal reports that adhere to these standards. We do not believe that working at an auction house alone is a sufficient qualification for appraisers. A 2019 ruling by the 9th Circuit Court emphasized that an appraisal from an auction house is not necessarily a guarantee of expertise or competency. At Prestige Estate Services, we go the extra mile to ensure our appraisal reports meet or exceed the standards set by the IRS. What sets us apart is our commitment to providing top-notch appraisal services at rates that are significantly more affordable than those offered by some auction houses. We prioritize accuracy, professionalism, and cost-effectiveness in every appraisal we undertake.

Choosing the Right Appraiser

When selecting an appraiser, it's crucial to find someone who specializes in appraising your specific type of personal property. Look for an appraiser with expertise in your item’s category, excellent communication skills, and a commitment to impartiality—meaning they do not engage in buying or selling your personal property. At Prestige Estate Services, we emphasize that we do not engage in the buying, selling, or possession of property. However, we bring extensive experience in various markets where personal property is bought and sold. We believe that a personal property appraiser should thoroughly understand the intricacies of your unique situation to ensure a smooth appraisal process and minimize complications before and after the appraisal is conducted.


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