personal property appraiser

"Value in Doubt? Find Out!"

Contact Novotny now to discuss his fee and arrange a fast verbal or oral appraisal.

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Read one of Novotny's published articles about the competency requirements and the scope of work necessary to conduct an oral appraisal.
See the types of personal property  typically appraised by Novotny

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Copyright 2009-2020 - all rights reserved - William M. Novotny

1901 molded iron "NOT LEFT"

cigar tip cutter and clock

Demand Credibility   Avoid Incompetency

An Oral Appraisal in Los Angeles is like an "Antique Roadshow" in your Home!

In the event of a later loss from fire, smoke, land slide, flood, theft or earthquake the documentation of the Novotny oral appraisal will provide comprehensive data to assist Novotny, or another appraiser, to prepare a new and more formal appraisal report  in the future. Please note that all this documentation should be retained by the client off site, such as in a bank's safe deposit box or a trusted friend or family member. It provides evidence that inventories and values all the subject household contents. Novotny also retains a complete workfile of his oral appraisal for a minimum of 5 years.

Novotny Will Price Your Estate or Yard Sale  - You Conduct It!

​Novotny, beginning in November 2013, launched a new pricing service during which he prices household or residential contents quickly, using his pricing gun which applies a quick price tag to chosen objects. The tags are a break-away type that are difficult to remove without destroying them. While pricing he identifies and explains demand factors for each object, as needed, and how much to negotiate to achieve a sale. He identifies rare and special items which may be "keepers" and which may have access to alternative markets that could bring a potentially higher value.  He  explains how to stage the objects, ensure security, where to locate the cashier, entry and exit, how and where to advertise and generally prepares you to conduct your own sale.

After using this pricing service you will be in charge and able to conduct your own sale and keep the 25% to 50%  commission that most estate sale agents charge to perform these same services. In order to provide this service he must completely understand the clients' priorities. Do they seek fair value with reserves are do they seek total liquidation without excessive concern with value? If total liquidation is the objective, then he starts with a reasonable and fair price at which the object can frequently sell. For most objects he recommends going to half the asking price after initial negotiations if liquidation is the objective. For objects with little or no demand and unlikely to even get an offer, he frequently advises the client to say yes to any offer. This can apply to objects out of style, that are damaged or soiled or generally hard to place and that do not have access to an alternative market. These object may have been storage for years and cost more than they are work, Retention is no longer an option.

Soon after offering this service Novotny conducted a household contents appraisal for possible IRS tax purposes and for a sales advisory. The client was considering have an estate sale in a few days. He determined fair market value - an "asking price" if offered for sale. He also priced common and ordinary objects, and all objects that would not be retained. He indicated which properties have demand and alternate markets. He gave advice as to how to stage, advertise and the extent to negotiate to conclude a sale. He researched as needed and verbalized the process and his analyses. He introduced the free websites that he commonly uses while conducting research, and how to use these websites properly to determine or confirm value.

 A few days later he received the following E-mail:

Hi Bill, Thank you again for all your wonderful help. The estate sale went very well, we sold about three quarters of the items! It was very nice to work with you. I have given your name to my real estate agent so you might be hearing from her. SM 2/10/2014

Novotny is a generalist and therefore can typically value household goods and complete residential contents. His exceptional market experience in the various competing markets coupled with his extensive knowledge of most types of personal property types provide him with a basis to identify and value most common and ordinary property types (when appropriate without research). His knowledge and experience often runs deep regarding many rare and unusual objects that may have significant value. His understanding of characteristics that the market seeks, and his tried and true methods and techniques, all work together to guide him through the development of credible valuations.

  • ​over 40 years of valuation experience
  • experienced with most property types
  • experienced with most assignment types
  • knowledgeable with many rare and unusual objects and object types 
  • over 20 years of buying most personal property types at auction 
  • since 1979 has continuously sold personal property at antique retail stores, antique malls, antique shows, estate sales and swap meets
  • restoration experience with furniture and other antiques and art
  • an expert in USPAP appraisal standards (an AQB Certified USPAP Instructor since 2002)
  • purchased or liquidated many dozens of complete household contents as a buyer and many more as an estate sale agen
  • antique dealer for 20 years 
  • estate sale agent for over 20 years
  • generalist antiques & personal property appraiser over 25 years 


During mandatory "Shelter in Place" regulations an online-live oral appraisal is possible with video streaming on Zoom and face time.

Prepayment is Required 

CALL NOW 626-292-2224

An on-site or or live, remote and interactive oral appraisal is frequently needed for pricing residential contents for a sales advisory or for trust management purposes. An oral appraisal can determine fair market value for equitable distribution, decision making or charitable donations if the total value is under $5000. Hopefully it is necessary to have a highly experienced, competent and ethical appraiser identify rare or objects that the family might benefit by retaining. It pays to be diligent. Often hidden treasure are identified to the delight of the client?

Novotny can provide a written "Oral Appraisal Report Disclosures" form (OARD) which gives context and meaning so that his oral appraisal  is properly understood. For oral appraisals the client should prepare a hand written list of subject properties. The "Oral Appraisal Report Disclosures" (OARD) form has all of the required elements of a formal "Restricted Appraisal Report" in compliance with USPAP. When appropriate and when Novotny is onsite with the client the client's hand written inventory (Value Section) is initialed by Novotny to authenticate the total number of entries appraised, and the total value of those entries. The client  is provided with the Oral Appraisal Report Form which includes a signed USPAP Certification statement along with his CV.

A general residential contents oral appraisal in Los Angeles is fast and cost effective. An oral appraisal report is a serious appraisal. Clients can document an oral appraisal by means of a hand written list of objects and values and, as needed, by video or audio recordings. A video tape documents the entire contents as well as the oral appraisal. It establishes proof of ownership with critical documentation of objects when videotaped. It provide a basis for a later appraisal if needed in the event of a total loss. Novotny can bring his computer to conduct needed online research. Research can inform and confirm his immediate value impression. An oral residential contents appraisal is like private "Antique Road Show" appraisal at your own home, storage or other address. Oral appraisals are frequently avoided, or not properly conducted, by less experienced appraisers.

He can appraise or price general household goods and residential contents at the pace of fifteen to a hundred or more objects per hour, especially for common household goods and residential contents of nominal value. Do you have hidden treasures? Novotny often discovers unusual or rare treasures. 

By the way if there is only one object (or just a few) that needs appraisal, Novotny now offers you the opportunity to come to him at his San Gabriel home office for a brief, cost effective, 20 minute oral report. Novotny can utilize his extensive library and do whatever quick research that may be necessary to inform his oral appraisal report. Call Novotny now: (626) 292-2224 (sorry, but no free appraisals)


A properly documented Novotny oral appraisal will provide an:

  • oral identification, description and valuation of the subject household contents (an audio recording job the inspection retained by Novotny)
  • confirming onsite computer research which, when conducted, provides value support of comparable research data
  • a client's hand-written list or spreadsheet, their audio or visual recorded data and photographs, and 
  • a one page Oral Appraisal Report Disclosures form (OARD) that identifies in writing the appraisal problem, the scope of work, limiting conditions, assumptions and disclosures, along with, on the same page a signed appraiser's certification statement that certifies his ethical stance and competency.
  • A required worfile of the above is retained by Novotny for a minimum of 5 years.

A Novotny personal property oral appraisal in Los Angeles can help you make important decisions regarding downsizing, selling, insuring, donating, distributing or disposing of personal property.

In order for an oral appraisal to proceed in the least amount of time Novotny suggests that you list and number selected subject objects, room by room. Begin with rugs on the floor, then objects on the walls, then furniture, lighting and decorative objects sitting on the floor and finally the small objects displayed on furniture and in cabinets. Begin at the entry and go from left to right and repeat the sequence in each room. It is advisable to photograph those objects in the same order. It is helpful to identify sets of china and sterling silver and to list maker and pattern. The inventory list that you develop, and that Novotny may value, can be hand written or input into a spreadsheet for a better looking appraisal report (before or after the oral report). Novotny also encourages clients to document his oral appraisal by means of a video or audio tape or on an Iphone or Ipad.

For oral appraisals Novotny provides each client upon arrival a folder with his contract, CV and OARD form for their review.  This confirms the important assignment identifications and provides meaningful context to help the client and identified intended users to better understand the report. His formal appraisal reports have those same elements repeated in all of his his report templates whether on one page or ten pages. This  ensures the appraisal report is meaningful and not misleading and relevant to the appraisal problem that was identified in communication with the client before the appraiser-client relationship is entered into. His one-page "oral appraisal report disclosures (OARD form)" provides many important written disclosures that far exceeds oral report requirements. The OARD form provides a written transmittal document for the typed or hand written value section. All these documents, retained in his workfile make it possible, if necessary, for Novotny to produce a full blown formal appraisal report, with photographs if taken, later as a new appraisal assignment if needed.

A November 2013 letter from a client: As Chairman of a first ever Antique Appraisal Event I asked William Novotny (Bill) to help us develop an "Antiques Road Show" type of event for Riverside, California and to be the primary appraiser. He did both splendidly. We raised several thousand dollars for local scholarships and philanthropies based on one hour of his private personal property appraisals and two hours of his public appraisals to an auditorium full of public attendees, most of whom remained for the entire two hours.

Mr. Novotny valued three tables loaded with all types of personal property objects, many of which were very unusual and interesting.  We provided a person to research as needed but he was able to proceed mostly without this research. He explained to the audience what each object was, its important value characteristics and how he was able to date it.  He was entertaining, easy to understand and informative. He shared his  methods of valuing and the important internet tools that he most frequently uses and how to properly use those tools to establish a credible value opinion. He engaged the audience and managed to keep  them involved and interested. The feedback from attendees and staff was  positive.

 CORONA VIRUS "Shelter in Place" Online Appraiser - Call to enquire:  626-292-2224

 Los Angeles personal property appraiser offers personal property appraisal of residential contents & rare objects

Preparing For An Oral Appraisal Of Household Contents