There's a lot of information online about free valuation and appraisal reports, the various reports available, what they offer and who benefits from them. So, we thought we would collate all that we know about valuation and appraisal reports, particularly given that we are the world's number one online valuations service.
Free valuation and appraisal services sound great, mainly by the very fact that they are free. However, in order to understand what you might expect from a free valuation, we first need to explore why they are free. If a valuation is provided free of charge, it means that the organisation providing the valuations are generating their revenue elsewhere. There are a few ways in which an organisation dealing with art, antiques and collectables might generate revenue, but the primary revenue stream is through the commission of auctions.
There are several reasons why an item may be undervalued. Whether it be to re-sell the item at a higher, more accurate price or to avoid paying the costs associated with it at auction. It is not uncommon for an auction house to provide a lower estimate on an item they don’t wish to sell at auction. But why wouldn’t an auction house wish to sell an item? Well, with an auction comes additional costs that are often forgotten. The cost of transport, the cost of insurance, the cost of storage and so on. For a lot of auction houses, there are now minimum price considerations that come into play. Any item under a certain value is simply not worth the auction house's time. As such, they may undervalue your item. Aside from auction houses, there are several companies who will provide a valuation and then offer to buy an item at the price they provide. Be wary of these schemes as they will considerably undervalue the true value of an item. In a lot of cases, your item’s value is likely to be several times higher than the purchase offer you are being given.
There are times when an item is overvalued. Again, why? Well, some organisations will overvalue an item in order to sell insurance to you at a higher premium than you should be paying. The higher the insurance premium, the greater their commission from managing the insurance on your behalf.
A lot of free valuation reports will not provide you with any detail other than an auction estimate. Because free valuations focus on revenue generation elsewhere, it isn’t important for them to provide historical insight, descriptions of a material, the estimated date of an item or any other information that you might be looking for. The valuers might not be qualified to provide an accurate valuation either. Be sure that you know who is valuing your item before you trust that the details are accurate. What’s their background? How much experience do they have? Where did they learn about valuations and appraisals?
Free valuations will often take a long time to receive. Sometimes, you won’t even receive a valuation after you’ve requested it! If the company you submit your free valuation request from does not deem the item worth of their time and investment, they might not respond, and you may never receive your valuation report. For other organisations it can take weeks, sometimes months, to go through and provide you with a valuation. Auction houses are often busy focusing on the thing that they specialise in – auctions.
Concerned that free valuations aren’t what you are really looking for? You are right to be wary. Fortunately, we deal exclusively in valuations and can offer affordable, highly-professional and in-depth valuation reports. We don't get involved with auctions and our experts always give an entirely unbiased view. As valuations are the only service we provide, we don't only provide you with an auction estimate.
Our reports include insurance valuations and a history and background to each item too. As for the experience and background of our experts -we have 62 experts and they are ex-Sotheby's and ex-Christie's specialists with decades of art market experience. Our experts work hard to provide valuations within 48-hours, from Monday to Friday.We even have an express valuations option which aims to deliver a report within 24-hours! So, before you settle on an inferior valuation, consider investing in your treasures and knowing their true value.