General Appraisal FAQ

What is an appraisal report?

An appraisal report is a document that:


  • Clearly states the kind of value being determined, such as fair market (used for taxes), replacement (used for insurance coverage), liquidation (used for bankruptcy or business dissolution), etc.

  • Describes the property being valued.

  • Details the procedures used to estimate the value; such as:

    • Analysis of comparable sales;

    • Estimation and analysis of income (if applicable) and

    • Relation of the appraisal values to a specific point in time (e.g. fair market value of the real estate as of January 1, 2009).

  • Includes the signature of the appraiser responsible for validity and objectivity.

  • Specifies the personal qualifications of the appraiser.

When do I need an appraisal?

Appraisals are done for many reasons ranging from estate planning to determining value for insurance or even simple curiosity. Some common reasons for personal property appraisals include:


  • Insurance: An appraisal report documents the existence, condition and replacement value of your belongings.

  • Estate Appraisals: An appraisal report catalogues property and values for purposes like taxes, trust, or probate.

  • Equitable Distribution: An appraisal is used to settle divorce or estates for fair distribution of property that is based on fair market value.

  • Charitable Donation: An appraisal is recommended to substantiate a donation to a charitable organization of $1,000 but it is required for anything above $5,000.

Can you come to my house?

Yes! Neale & Sons appraisers regularly make house calls. Travel to anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area is included in the cost of the appraisal. Additional travel expenses such as airfare and/or hotel fees are added to the cost of the appraisal. If you live outside the Bay Area and would like an estimate including travel expenses, please contact us here.

Will you buy my items after they are appraised?

No, Neale & Sons does not buy items. We can, however, sell some items on consignment as part of our auction services. If you are interested in selling your items without an appraisal, please contact us here for more information.

What can I expect?

On-Site Appraisals:

Neale & Sons conducts appraisals by appointment. The first step is to book an appointment for an appraiser to visit the site where the items are located. Once the initial inspection is completed, the appraiser will begin research. Typically, you will receive your appraisal report within 2 to 3 weeks.

When one of Neale & Sons Inc. appraisers shows up at your door to do the appraisal, they will introduce themselves and give you a business card. There will most likely only be one appraiser present to accomplish the job, but on the rare occasion, there may additional appraisers present to assist him. If you have any discomfort with these arrangements please let our office manager know when you schedule the appraisal.

Once inside, the appraiser will then go over the appraisal process with you. If possible, the appraiser will make a quick tour of the home with you to get an overview. He may ask you the following questions. These questions are designed to speed up the appraisal process and reduce the cost to all parties involved.

  1. Can you identify the items that are community property and non-community property?

  2. Where did you buy a specific item?

  3. When did you buy a specific item?

  4. How much did you pay for a specific item?

  5. Do you have any receipts or paper trail for a specific item?

The appraiser will then go room by room and value the items. Some items will be grouped together, such as kitchen items and decor; others will be valued individually. Each item or group of items will be measured and transcribed on a tape recorder. Photographs will be taken as needed.

The verbal description of the items will include measurements, age, material, style, damage, quantity, and a first impression value. This first impression value is an estimate only. The final valuation will be reflected on the written report after research and review.

How much does an appraisal cost?

Neale & Sons charges an hourly rate for appraisals. To learn more about our appraisal fees, please refer to our fee schedule. For estimates, please contact us here.