How much does an appraisal cost ?

How much does an auto appraisal cost?

That is a genuine open ended question that can be answered a dozen different ways. The vast majority of appraisers are part of a nationwide network and as such the fees are shared by a wide variety of personnel and administrators. A receptionist, an administrator, a dispatcher, and an appraiser are all involved. That many people handling a single file force the cost to you way up.

It’s not at all uncommon for those big national companies to charge $400. – $500. for an in person appraisal inspection. Keep in mind they do often have to travel considerable distances to reach you and your vehicle, or you have to haul your prized collector car to them. Lots of those appraisers are fresh out of college or have been working in their uncle’s body shop writing estimates and really do not have a grip on the intricacies involved in building or personalizing a custom hot rod to your specifications.

Collector Vehicle Values

Collector vehicle values are determined by a multitude of factors both in and out of the owner’s control.  A collector car’s market value is best determined by understanding supply and demand, using historical sale prices, and reviewing current asking prices on available inventory. For collector cars, 70% of classic and antique cars are sold through private sales, 20% through auctions and 10% through dealerships. With all of these various channels in play, no single valuation or appraisal tool can definitively tell you precisely how much your vehicle is worth.  However, using multiple valuation sources will provide you a better starting point in determining market value for the vehicle.

How Fair Market Value is Determined

Quality appraisers gauge the fair market value of a classic car by considering a variety of factors including the condition of the vehicle, the historical market value, its mileage, and current market trends. Antique car values are appraised following their categorization into one of the following five classifications, ordered  from  lowest to highest value:

Parts Cars: Are often an un-drivable vehicle with no functional value. These vehicles are used mainly for their parts which can be used to restore other cars. 

Restorable: A restorable car is in poor condition but still retains functional value because it can be restored to be roadworthy again.

Good: A good car requires some restoration work to increase its market value.

Very Good: A very good car is fully restored and is in good working condition.

Fine: A fine car is a fully restored car in good condition that has retained many of its functional original equipment .

Excellent: An excellent car is perfectly restored or is in original condition.

Collector Cars Comps

An important element of the classic car appraisal process is the “recently recorded public sales” of vehicles of the same make and model. These vehicles, known as “comps”, provide critical insight into the current market value of the vehicle. From there, additional factors such as the car’s condition, mileage, and inclusion of OEM parts influence collector car values.

With custom or modified collector cars “comps” that are an exact match are un-heard of for practical valuation requirements.  For example sometimes we might have to consider and adjusted value of a Ford if the subject vehicle is Mercury. The Mercury being rarer than the Ford indicates a more valuable vehicle.

As I have illustrated lots of research and time goes into proper, quality appraisal.

The appraisal fees at Frederick Auto Appraisal are an excellent value.

Local in person on site inspection and appraisals (within ½ hour of Hagerstown, MD.) cost a reasonable $175. on a basic daily driver type car. And a cost effective $250. on a custom or classic collector vehicle.  These completed appraisals will be e-mailed to the client within 48 business hours of the inspection.

Online (forensic) appraisals are based on data, input, and images supplied by the vehicle’s owner or representative. These cost $125.  These completed appraisals will be e-mailed to the client within 24 business hours of the data’s arrival.

Learn more about our appraisal services by clicking here, or to order an online forensic appraisal, click here.