How can I find a good classic car appraiser?

1460645141962_sell-carIn most cases the person ordering for an appraisal ends the conversation with something closet to ‘I’d like the appraisal to be as high as possible’ or I would like the appraisal to be as low as possible’. For instance, if an individual is going through a divorce or bankruptcy, they may want the appraisal as low as possible with the hopes of being able to keep the car.


On the other hand, an individual trying to negotiate with an insurance company after a loss or donating a car to a charity or to obtain financing for the purchase of a classic car would want the appraised value to be as high as possible. The only way you can know how to find the best classic car appraiser is by knowing how they handle the process and what classic car appraisal is all about?


An appraiser’s job is to assign a particular value to a specific car. Unless the vehicle is actually sold, the value is the subject of the appraisal. This value is not more than an educated guess before the car is sold. It is the reason why appraising a collector vehicle is less of a science and more of an art.


In some cases, an appraiser will simply jot down a note on their letterhead to the effect that your 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible, in their professional opinion, is worth $72,000. In some cases wit won’t particularly when the appraisal has been challenged by your soon to be ex-wife/husband’s attorney, bankruptcy trustee, insurance underwriter or IRS agent. The best appraisals should be written to a high standard known as Uniform Standards of professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). Fundamentally they are prepared in a similar fashion that a real estate appraiser would appraise your home. A classic car is considered as ‘personal property’ and a home is considered as ‘real property’.


A good appraiser will use a combination of three things to appraise a classic car. The first is ‘comps’, also known as ‘recently recorded public sales’ of the same type of cars. The second is their knowledge of the market with the third being published figures in NADA price guides.


‘Comps’ values will vary dramatically. For example, a very nice 1957 Bel Air convertible might be sold locally for $70,000. Current sales completed on eBay are in $55,000 range.  The same vehicle at Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona may easily go for more than $100,000. Published figures like the NADA price guide would put the car at the range of approximately $68,850.


With this kind of information, you should be able to find a good appraiser. They should be able to offer you different price guides as well as their own professional opinion. To avoid any disappointments, use a professional appraiser that is popular and established in your region. Do not hesitate to consult others within the region or other regions just to confirm if the appraisal is authentic or not. Remember to take into consideration why you need the appraisal. When you combine these factors and information, you should get an appraiser that will suit your need.

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