As an independent appraisal company, we prioritize tailoring the appraisal process to each of our clients individually by breaking it down step-by-step to best fit our clients' needs. Often, it is the first time a client is having an item appraised, so we strive to help them understand the entire appraisal process and what type of tailored service they need and why for their particular situation. On this page, we explain our appraisal services fully for our clients.
If you have any questions about our services, would like to discuss your options further with a member of our staff, or would like to schedule an appointment, please call our office or leave us a message and we'd be more than happy to assist you.
As part of the appraisal process, MIR Appraisal Services writes appraisal reports for our clients, and all of our reports are created in accordance with USPAP standards. To learn more about our USPAP qualifications, please click here. Depending on the situation for the appraisal, we provide reports for Insurance Coverage & Claims, Estate Appraisals, Charitable Contribution, and Divorce & Equitable Distribution. Each report includes detailed descriptions and photographs of the items that were appraised along with the pertinent values for each item.
Insurance Coverage & Claims
Insurance coverage and claim reports provide values for items that are not protected by the client's home insurance. For insurance reports, we provide the Retail Replacement Value (RRV). This value represents the amount the client would have to pay to replace an item with either an identical piece or a suitable equivalent. All of our reports include detailed descriptions and photographs of each item along with the retail replacement value. It is always important to have items appraised for insurance coverage reasons, as they provide our clients with a comprehensive record of their possessions and help protect investments in the case of an accident or natural disaster. We also provide insurance claim reports in the instance that damage has already occurred to a client's personal property. This involves our appraisers assessing the damage and determining whether or not it can be restored, or finding the RRV for that item. As all of our reports are written according to USPAP standards, they are accepted by all insurance companies and stand up in a court of law.
Estate Appraisal Reports are needed when our clients are planning for the distribution of assets amongst beneficiaries. In this situation, we use the Fair Market Value (FMV) that represents the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or sell. These appraisals are usually commissioned by estate attorneys or executors of estates in order to establish the value of personal property for estate taxes. As with all of our reports, they stand up in a court of law.
When making a charitable donation of an item worth over $5,000.00 to a museum or non-profit organization, clients need to submit a written appraisal report written by a qualified appraiser, per IRS regulations. These appraisal reports provide the FMV of the item, along with the accompanying documentation required by the IRS. If you are thinking of donating an item worth over $5,000.00, please contact us and we can help you with this process.
Divorce & Equitable Distribution
When items of personal property must be divided between two or more parties, an appraisal report is often necessary to establish the value of the items so they can be divided between parties fairly and equally. The appraisal report can be used either in mediation or in a court of law.
If one of our appraisers deems it necessary during the appraisal of your item, a conservation proposal will be included as part of your verbal consultation fee as a courtesy. Our conservators are academically and/or museum-trained in conservation science and have provided services internationally for the finest museums and conservation facilities. Going forward with a conservation plan can often increase the value of your piece and ensure the highest sale potential for your item.
Our conservators adhere to a strict code of ethics as they determine the necessity and cost-effectiveness of conservation and restoration services. During an appraisal, our appraisers will address and discuss the following topics with you if your item needs conservation:
The practicality of conservation and restoration services
The feasibility of conservation and restoration with regard to risk of further damage
The various treatment options for the work of art under consideration
The authentication process is different for every artist, artwork, or collectible. The authentication process requires professional and dedicated research, working knowledge of the field, the artist's history and career, and familiarity with their artwork. Here at MIR Appraisal Services, we can facilitate the authentication process and perform the required necessary research.
Expert Witness Testimony
When determining authenticity and value, oftentimes the average person, lawyer, or insurance company will not have sufficient knowledge to act as a witness in court. These situations require an expert witness to proceed. Our appraisers are accredited members of the ISA and are qualified to serve as expert witnesses in court. Expert witnesses may be called upon to:
Assist in case studies. As experts in our field, we can assist lawyers in evaluating their case, help determine if the claim has merit, and give specific and knowledgeable information to the council.
Provide written statements. An expert witness may be called upon during a trial to prepare a report of their findings to be used in negotiations. With our experienced and knowledgeable staff, MIR Appraisal Services is qualified to testify with supporting documents and evidence.
Testify at a deposition and/or trial. It is important to help persuade the judge, jury, or arbitrators in any trial. With the use of our expert witnesses, your case will be argued with complete confidence and experience.
Inspection & Consultation
An inspection and consultation is an excellent beginning step within the appraisal process that will allow you to learn about what you have, its value, and how it relates in the current market. Our highly educated staff and certified appraisers will conduct the initial research to help you learn more about your items and their potential market value, and our appraisers will then discuss the findings and values with you verbally as well as advise on any potential next steps. As an unbiased third party, we can assure you of our dedication to find the most accurate information and values regarding your property. We are as passionate about discovering the stories of your collections as you are!
We offer three different inspection and consultation options for our clients that are determined by a number of factors: client location, number of items being inspected, and size of the items being inspected. All Inspection & Consultation options do not include a written appraisal report and all values are communicated verbally. Should it be determined that you do need a report for reasons listed in the Appraisal Reports section, all payments for an Inspection & Consultation act as a down payment for the cost of the appraisal report.
Digital Inspection & Consultation
Our Digital Inspection & Consultation option allows us to assist our clients that are not located near our Chicago or Burr Ridge offices, or have large or too many items to bring to an office. This option involves the client sending images of the items to us, which we will then inspect digitally and begin conducting research. After research is completed, one of our appraisers will call the client and provide background information on the item and provide values and market information over the phone.
For information on how to take photos that will allow us to conduct our research to the best of our ability, please see our guidelines on taking images for your digital inspection by clicking the button below.
In-Office Inspection & Consultation
Our In-Office Inspection & Consultation involves our clients bringing the item or items that they would like appraised to one of our two offices. We have an office in downtown Chicago or in the southwest suburb of Burr Ridge, close to I-55. Our appraiser would then inspect the item in its current condition and inform the client of any information pertaining to the value of the item as well as any pertinent background information.
To see our office locations, please click here.
On-Site Inspection & Consultation
Our On-Site Inspection & Consultation involves an appraiser coming to your location or the location of the item being appraised, whether it be around Chicago or around the United States. The appraiser will inspect the items that you wish to be appraised, take pictures and send images back to our staff to investigate the appraiser's initial thoughts on the items, and report the findings on your item back to you verbally.
To learn more, please contact our office or leave us a message, and we would be happy to explain in detail.