Many clients seek to avoid the extra expense of a formally written appraisal report when a written report is not required. An abbreviated oral and partially written report comes very close to a formal completed appraisal report with important context and disclosures in writing. Oral appraisal reports are very fast paced, cost effective and sometimes result in the discovery of hidden treasures. In addition, while doing a houseful, Novotny can photograph and document general household contents. An appraiser's inventory can provide proof of ownership in the event of catastrophic loss.

Clients often need to make decisions whether to insure, sell, dispose or distribute selected personal property. Clients request an oral report to become properly informed to make such decisions without the additional cost that applies when a written formal report is not required, needed or wanted. Oral appraisals are cost effective and affordable, while still being credible or worthy of belief (relevant to intended use). 

For an oral report the client (or the client's agent) must document Novotny's object identifications, value opinions, as well as his analyses and conclusions communicated on site. The client may document the oral appraisal by means of an audio or visual tape and by written notes. Novotny usually retains a digital audio recording that documents his onsite relevant narrative including his limiting conditions, assumptions, opinions, analyses and conclusions. He retains his recording and does not release it. He does not take photographs unless specifically requested as part of the assignment. In most cases he could complete a formal, full fledged report with only minor necessary assumptions and limiting conditions. In fact he can provide a "near report" either as an one page "oral report disclosure" form that far exceed USPAP's oral report requirements. If needed for legal purposes to to achieve formality, Novotny can prepare a similar brief one page Restricted Appraisal Report that transmits necessary disclosures, scope of work performed, methods and procdures along with a signed USPAP Certification of compliance. 

Novotny can enclose his CV with the client's hand written documentations of the oral valuation to the one page "Oral Appraisal Report Disclosures" form (OARD's) that Novotny brings to his inspection. The assembled documents help ensure that his opinions, analyses and conclusion are meaningful to the client and properly understood. The client is encouraged to take and retain some photographic evidence of the subject property as part of that documentation. 

Novotny provides clients with a signed formal contract with identifies the relevant assignment elements including intended use, intended users, the appropriate value definition, the effective date, assignment conditions and his scope or work which are repeated in his OARD's form. At the conclusion of the assignment he can add brief statements regarding scope of work, limiting conditions, assumptions and hypothetical conditions and other comments necessary to make the oral report more meaningful and not misleading. He can then sign the OARD's form at the bottom under his complete USPAP certification statement.

The client can opt to prepare an inventory prior to Novotny's onsite inspection and oral appraisal report. The subject properties can be numbered for cross referencing. The client can write the object identification and value opinion for each object as the oral appraisal proceeds.  Upon completion of the oral report the summary or aggregate value total for all of the objects valued can be imbedded in the single page, OARD's form that Novotny brings with him to the assignment. When all is said and done there is the OARD's transmittal cover document that lists the total number of entries on the client produced hand written or typed value section and the aggregate value of the number of objects listed.

Since the summary or aggregate value totals the value of each object identified and valued on the onsite inventory it authenticates the attached inventory and valuation even though it may be hadwritten. The OARD's form lists enclosures such as the CV and the hand written value section. The OARDS, CV and the clients Value Section thereby comes very close to meeting the requirements for a written appraisal report. Such single page written oral report disclosures allows Novotny to more meaningfully communicate his oral appraisal report.

As part of Novotny's oral appraisal services he will often communicate demand factors relevant to a subject object. For some objects he will opine regarding competing and alternative markets and market acceptability, Knowing the demand factors and liquidation options allows clients to become sufficiently informed to negotiate with potential buyers based upon their urgency to sell and their willingness to retain a property.  As part of the oral or verbal appraisal report services Novotny typically shares with clients the two most important internet sites he uses to find comparable properties. He explains, or demonstrates, how to properly use these sites after he has gone.

Find out more. Visit Novotny's Oral Appraisal page now. See Novotny's background, education and experience on his Professional Profile that allows his to provide credible object identifications  and valuations often without confirming research. See the types of properties that Novotny can value during an oral appraisal.

Frequently in trust or estate management situations there are multiple beneficiaries of the personal property and the property requires a fair market valuation in order to be distributed equitably. 

Part or all of the appraisal process can be conducted without a written report (when a written report is not required for legal purposes). An oral valuation report can be requested by a party or parties with an interest in the value of the subject property.  An oral valuation report can substantially reduce appraisal costs. For Novotny to provide an oral report, all parties must agree to retain Novotny, and to be present during Novotny's inspection and valuation. 

Once Novotny understands how the appraisal will be used he can then identify the appropriate value definition and relevant market. He can then determine the appraisal plan (scope of work) and produce relevant data, as needed, to inform and support his value opinion for each object or hundreds of objects. There are multiple alternative markets for movable objects. Novotny was a retail antique dealer (1979-1999). He is familiar with the wholesale and retail market, familiar with orderly liquidation as an estate sale agent (since 1990). He has regularly reviewed auction results for most specialized property types since 1979.

The credibility of his assignment results is established relevant to intended use. Intended use drives the appraisal process. See the final task of the appraiser, at the bottom of this page. It explains what the appraiser must consider to ensure that the report is worthy of belief or credible relevant to intended use.

Trust and Probate Appraisals - Flexible and Appropriate

The first task of a personal property appraiser is to carefully communicate with the client to define or identify the appraisal problem. There are many types of personal property appraisal intended uses (e.g. assignment types). Understanding intended use is essential. It allows an appraiser to determine the effective date, appropriate value definition, the appropriate market to research and to determine if the appraiser is competent to solve the appraisal problem that has been identified. Only that can the personal property appraiser conduct the necessary scope of work cost effectively. Whether an appraisal report is worthy of belief (credible) is determined relevant to intended use. The appraiser's task is formidable; client's need a formidable appraiser. Novotny Appraisal Services can solve your personal property appraisal in Los Angles. 

The solution, communicated in an appraisal report, must be developed following the appraisal process. The appraiser must have the knowledge and experience to complete the assignment ethically and competently and in compliance with the Uniiform Standards of Appraisal  Practice (USPAP). Novotny's best credential is his AQB Certified USPAP Instructor Cerificate.

There are many types of intended uses (Client objectives) discussed in detail below. Novotny, a general personal property appraiser in Los Angeles is frequently contacted to perform many types of appraisal intended uses, often for complete residential contents. Each intended use requires an appropriate definition and the investigation of the relevant market (with the highest frequency of sales or offerings for comparable objects). Each appraisal assignment carries with it other client centered needs, objectives, priorities, deadlines, subsidiary goals and budgets that must be considered at the time of the assignment. Once one of the intended uses listed below is identified the appraiser can take the appropriate action in order to:

  • provide litigation support to help settle a legal dispute regarding property value, 
  • provide sales advice including to determine best market, price range for selected objects considering demand how conduct a sale,
  • determine value to acquire personal property insurance, moving and storage coverage or to settle a damage or loss claim,
  • calculate value for IRS tax purposes for estate taxes or non cash charitable contribution
  • assist in trust or probate management,
  • determine value for equitable distribution or decision making,
  • or provide an abbreviated preliminary or staged report for negotiated settlement purposes such as
  • arbitration, mediation, informal negotiation (with initial minimum scope of work)  based on
  • 38 years of multiple alternative market  knowledge and experience with most property types.

Oral Appraisal Reports Are Fast and Cost Effective When Appropriate To Intended Use

Estate Planning and Trust or Estate Management Valuations

​​There are many Types of Intended Uses:

Your personal property is not automatically covered by the transportation company you select for shipping and storage. You must select a coverage plans that must be offered. It is important to understand the differences between these options as they are quite different from the provisions of homeowner insurance policies. Basic minimum coverage can be determined per pound/per item. There are alternate protection plans from which you can choose.

When property is damaged while shipping, either by improper packing or careless handling, an appraisal is frequently required. Moving and storage claims, while similar in some respects, are considerably different from insurance claims. Novotny has handled many shipping and storage damage or loss claims through formal appraisal.

Sometimes a damaged object of lesser value also requires a formally written appraisal. Written appraisals are considerably more expensive than oral appraisals, and they must comply with the reporting requirements of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).  Failure to do so properly results in a USPAP violation which is not acceptable. 

Equitable Distribution and Divorce Appraisals Require Fair Market Value Determination

Personal property often has more than one party with an ownership interest. Frequently value is in dispute and the parties need expert valuation. During the dissolution of marriage personal property marital assets that are community property must be equitably distributed based upon a determination of fair market value. This may require the services of a personal property appraiser when the dispute cannot be resolved between the parties.

See the general types of property that Novotny typically can appraise. Contact Novotny for a free consultation to determine if he is a good fit to solve your valuation problem. Find out more about oral appraisals and how to prepare for an oral appraisal. Read on to find out more about the different intended uses of appraisals. 

There are Many Intended Uses and Each Requires a Different Solution 


Credibility depends on intended use

A trust is a legal mechanism that establishes how and when your assets will be distributed upon your death. Trusts can help you reduce your estate and gift taxes and distribute assets without the cost, delay and publicity of probate court which administers wills. Estate Planning is an important part of this process. 

When someone dies, with a will or a trust, the antiques and personal property frequently need to be valued by an ethical and competent appraiser to determine fair market value. Novotny will document and value your antiques and personal property as required and appropriate. The report type and content must meet the probate court’s requirements and the needs of intended users. 

Assets held in joint tenancy may not be subject to probate or trust administration, but they may still have to be valued for estate tax purposes or to establish a basis for later IRS tax purposes (a step up) and for equitable distribution among heirs. The IRS can require an itemized list and valuation of person property. 

Estate planning can include establishing your trust, will, living will, health-care-proxy and assignment of power of attorney. Should you die without a trust or will the state will distribute your assets based on arbitrary formula that may not be congruent with your intentions. Family conflict could occur and increased legal or administrative costs accrue.

To determine value, or to be equitable, sometimes an appraisal is necessary. When you have antiques, fine art, oriental rugs, collectibles and fine jewelry etc., an inventory and valuation of your important personal property assets should be considered. Novotny can assist you in preparing an inventory and valuation of important personal property by means of a formal inventory or appraisal report. Many clients request Novotny to assist them in preparing an inventory that identifies and lists the market value of their personal property. 

The scope of work necessary to develop the appraiser's opinions can vary considerably depending on the property types and the needs of clients and intended users. The extent of reporting can also be very flexible. Well written formal reports are produced as needed. Oral reports, when appropriate can be expanded to meet the needs of the client and intended users. When Novotny provides an oral valuation the appraisal will include sufficient signed paperwork to identify the appraisal problem and important disclosures so users can always meaningfully understand the appraisal so that proper decisions and actions can be taken relevant to intended use. The client is provided with a CV and signed appraiser's certification. Since the inventory and valuation is oral, clients typically document a Novotny oral report by means of 
    •    taking an audio or video tape of Novotny's oral appraisal report, 
    •    taking handwritten notes that documents and values the objects, 
    •    preparing an excel spreadsheet 
    •    and taking digital photos 
Frequently Novotny, in an abbreviated oral report disclosure format, can reference and attach an appraised inventory. The report will identify the number of items in the attachment and the summary value of those items which helps authenticate the attachment.  

All of the above, whether done orally or by means of a formally prepared report should be retained off site in a safe or safety deposit box as well as in Novotny's confidential workfile.

Shipping and Storage Damage or Loss Claims Can Be Challenging - There are Many Issues

IRS Tax Appraisals                    Require a Qualified Appraiser and Qualified Appraisal


As of August 2006 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began reviewing and changing the rules. Notice 2006-96 was issued providing guidance for defining a qualified appraiser. When the appraiser can fulfill these requirements it will be a good indication that an appraisal for estate tax reporting or charitable contributions will be reviewed positively. Recent changes in the law (Pension Protection Act, 2006) affect the process of charitable contribution.

The IRS recognized the need to better define a qualified appraisal. Proposed regulations (§1.170A-17(a) will establish that a qualified appraisal means an appraisal document that is prepared by a qualified appraiser in accordance with generally accepted appraisal standards such as the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).

There are many specific requirements relating to non-cash charitable donation and estate tax (decedent 706 estate tax returns) of the IRS that an appraiser must be familiar with and capable of fulfilling. For instance, for tax returns after August 2006 the appraiser must: 

A Sales Advisory Can Be Done Onsite and Quickly With an Verbal Appraisal

Clients frequently need assistance in identifying objects that may require a specialized market to achieve the highest value and with pricing ordinary objects for onsite sale. Clients frequently request Novotny to provide an oral (Antiques Roadshow type) appraisal report only. During the oral valuation Novotny will identify the property and provide a price range. When the client intends to personally manage the liquidation of the personal property, Novotny will provide advice, as requested, about how to properly organize, produce and conduct an onsite estate, tag or garage sale.  Such advice often covers issues such as staging, advertising, security and traffic flow. An oral appraisal report is a cost effective way to become informed regarding the price range at which property will probably sell with time restraints.

If Novotny is requested to conduct an estate sale, rather than price the property for his standard fee, Novotny will decline the appraisal assignment and offer his services as an estate sale agent or broker.

Appraisal Review By Novotny May Discredit a Faulty and Incompetent Appraisal

Appraisers should comply with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) which establish the minimum standards for appraisers. USPAP is accepted by the government, private industries and the international community, as well as by professional appraisal societies which they have joined and which require compliance with USPAP. If their work is faulty, as can happen, a client can be harmed. In most cases the distribution of money is impacted. The appraiser must be held accountable against established benchmarks for performance and ethical standards. The public has a right to expect ethical and competent performance of appraisers. The primary purpose of USPAP is to protect the public.

Novotny's expertise in USPAP, and his certification as an AQB Certified USPAP instructor, has resulted in occasional requests for him to review the quality of the work of another appraiser. Novotny's education, background and experience in personal property valuation, in appraisal course development, as an AQB Certified USPAP instructor and as an instructor of appraisal theory, methods, practice and report writing courses work together to help him perform appraisal reviews of the quality of work of other appraisers. 

Appraisal Reviews focus on the quality of the work of another appraiser based on USPAP and relevant standards of care. Some appraisal review assignments also require the appraiser to give his or her opinion as the the value of the subject property. 

• Jewelry and antiques 
• Furs: real fur garments and garments trimmed with real fur
• Cameras: digital, still, movie, video and equipment
• Musical instruments: professional and non-professional
• Silverware, antique silver and sterling objects and rare decorative art 
• Fine Arts: paintings, etchings, bronzes and sculptures
• Manuscripts and books, and antique furniture
• Golfer's equipment: matched sets of golf clubs and clothing 
• Sports equipment: fishing gear, archery and hunting gear
• Stamp or coin collections
• Hand tools and power tools owned for business purposes

•    have earned an appraisal designation from a recognized professional appraiser organization,
•    regularly perform appraisals for compensation, and
•    have verifiable education and experience in valuing the type of property being appraised
Novotny has prepared many IRS tax appraisal reports in compliance with IRS regulations & USPAP. Novotny is a qualified IRS appraiser able to perform IRS tax appraisals for most residential contents appraisals and for many property types.

An appraisal may also be needed for trust or probate purposes, estate planning, equitable distribution and informed decision making.  

When your personal property or antiques need to be scheduled, or when insured object(s) are damaged or lost, an appraisal is often required to establish value. Novotny serves private parties, insurance adjusters and litigators with personal property insurance valuation problems. Novotny has the experience to solve client's insurance valuation problems regarding personal property, antiques and collectibles. Novotny can help you in the following manner:

•    Acquire insurance and establish object identification for recovery 
•    Value an insured loss or a moving and storage damage claim 
•    Act as an appraiser on an appraisal panel under the insurance appraisal clause
•    Serve as an expert appraiser in the mediation and litigation of a disputed insured loss 

•    Have Novotny photograph personal property and retain photographs in his work file for proof of ownership 

Protect yourself!. Document your personal property with a list of important personal property.
•    Gather and keep all sales receipts of major purchases and past appraisals.
•    Take a video inventory or photographic inventory of your personal property.

•    Keep your appraisals and other documentation in a safe place. 

If you need personal property inventory documentation or insurance valuation contact Novotny Now!.

What is the value of your personal property? How do you want to distribute your personal property? There are federal and state laws governing estates. Careful estate planning allows you to communicate and establish your intentions, priorities, concerns and preferences should you be unable to manage your affairs or unexpectedly pass away.

The Appraiser's Task

Whether or not a personal property appraisal report is credible, 
or worthy of belief, 
must be judged 
based upon relevancy to the
 client's intended use of the report.

Novotny developed an abbreviated, low cost, formally written, single page appraisal report template. This template allows Novotny to selectively appraise, and properly report,  the value of single damaged objects at a reduced cost. Contact Novotny Now to properly value your shipping damage or loss claim.

 Insurance Appraisals of High Value Objects and Inventory of Residential Contents

There are two types of replacement or repair coverage that apply to personal property. Clients may need to obtain insurance or to settle a damage or loss claim. Insurance companies and the moving and storage industry each provide a different type of coverage. Each is governed by different federal laws.

The insurance industry provides home-owner's and renter's insurance for personal property. There are also endorsement and floaters available when property is specifically scheduled. Find out more about proper insurance appraisals with further  information from the Insurance industry.

Within a homeowner's insurance policy some personal property items are subject to limits such as antiques, jewelry, fine art, collector items and rare objects. Personal property floaters are used to insure personal property objects which have limited coverage under a standard policy. This can also be accomplished through an endorsement, a provision that changes the original policy coverage. These options offer expanded coverage for individual items or item types that are not otherwise covered. The expanded coverage establishes an agreed value that reflects replacement cost without depreciation. Personal property that is frequently scheduled to expand coverage include:

The appraiser must determine the scope of work necessary to solve the appraisal problem. This determination is based on a proper understanding of the client's valuation problem. 

The appraiser must identify all assignment elements including the client, intended users, intended use, the definition of value, effective date, relevant property characteristics and assignment conditions such as limiting conditions and assumptions. But most importantly intended use. The intended use will cause a client to make decisions or take an action based upon reliance upon the appraisal. Once the appraiser understands the appraisal problem, especially intended use, he or she is able to determine the relevant market to research and make other scope of work decisions. Whether or not a report is credible is established relevant to intended use. 

Only after the appraiser has identified the client's problem can he or she determine whether or not they possess the competency to accept the assignment. Once the assignment is accepted the appraiser must do whatever is necessary to develop credible assignment results.

Before concluding an assignment the appraiser must ask him or herself:

  • Was the problem properly identified? Did my report provide a credible answer to the questions asked? Is it worthy of belief?
  • Should my client feel comfortable placing his or her reliance on my opinions, analyses and conclusions?
  • Does the report have proper disclosures, is it logical, complete, relevant, easy to follow, meaningful and not misleading?
  • Have I complied with USPAP?

Signing the USPAP certification statement, is, in effect, attesting that the answer to these questions is “Yes! My report is credible”, thereby providing the client with a reason to put his or her confidence in the appraisal report. USPAP protects public trust in appraisers by establishing the minimum standards for appraisers.

Novotny is the first personal property appraiser to become an AQB Certified USPAP Intructor.  He successfully completed the very high failure rate concluding exam take at the conclusion the first class ever offered in the United States by the Appraisal Foundation to certify instructors to teach  the standardized National USPAP Courses that are required of every appraiser.  Since 2002 he as been a certified AQB Certified Instructor and authorized to teach the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) to other personal property appraisers.

He remains an AQB Certified Instructor today, January, 28, 2017. He last taught the 2016-2017 Seven Hour USPAP Update on line over two 3.5 hours online sessions taught on January, 26 and 27, 2017. This and the 15 Hour USPAP Course are regularly offered by Appraisal Course associates which he owns with David Maloney, the course administrator and author of "Appraising Personal Property: Principles and Methodology – 7th Edition  for 2016-2017".

This award-winning book is the only complete, well-organized, practical and fully-indexed course book and reference guide to personal property appraising. This is the definitive book about appraising. Each of the 668 pages has been fully edited to enhance clarity and understandability and to ensure compliance with USPAP and other best appraisal practices.

Novotny will comply with USPAP, as well as the ANA and ISA Code of Ethics and Conduct and the ISA Report Writing Standard in all appraisal assignments. 

Visit the New Novotny Website
To find out more about Novotny's Appraisal Services visit his HOME PAGE now.
To find out how Novotny acquired 30+ years of appraisal experience see ABOUT US
To find out more about the types of personal property appraised visit PROPERTY TYPES 
If you need a generalist antiques and personal property appraiser CONTACT NOVOTNY

Copyright 2009-2019 - all rights reserved - William M. Novotny

 Call Novotny in Los Angeles area:  626-292-2224

 General Personal Property Appraiser in Los Angeles  

If the parties accept the stated value then no further appraisal service is needed. If a party contests the stated value, and If a computer is available onsite, Novotny can, if requested, quickly demonstrate the range of published sales of comparable objects. He can also do this, if requested, later at his office and report back to the clients and, as directed, to intended users.

If, on the other hand, a party(s) requires  a written report, at increased cost, Novotny will prepare a written report. He creates formally written appraisal reports nearly every day of his life for various intended uses. Written and oral reports must meet USPAP requirements. 

Vintage Taxco Mexico Sterling Tea and Coffee Service

19th Century English Drawer Dovetail.

 personal property appraiser

"Value in Doubt? Find Out!"