• Deborah Finleon, GIA GG

Appraising Personal Property: Principles & Methodology

Updated: Apr 16

Appraising Personal Property: Principles & Methodology, by David J. Maloney, AOA CM


David Maloney has recently published his 9th edition of Appraising Personal Property: Principles and Methodology, including coverage of all the updates to USPAP for 2020-2021. This comprehensive volume focuses on appraisal principles and methodology, thoroughly covering each subject with not only extensive explanation, but also with examples and report samples to enhance understanding.

The book opens with a summary of what’s new in this edition, primarily the updates to USPAP and the addition of footnotes to provide supplementary information about a particular topic, as well as directing the reader to other parts of the book or USPAP containing complementary discussions. The author also includes chapter synopses so that the reader may quickly ascertain where certain information can be found in the text.

Chapter 1 covers appraisal terminology. Virtually every term encountered in USPAP or in the typical appraisal assignment is included. This section goes beyond simple definitions, however, to include examples, further explanations and, in some cases, to break the definition down into its component parts.

Chapters 2 through 6 analyze appraisal principles. Maloney breaks these down into:

· Value and Cost – introducing the various types of appraisal tasks the appraiser is likely to encounter

· An overview of Scope of Work, but additionally addressing intended use, purpose, ownership rights, types of property, and value approaches

· Intended Uses, including a discussion of IRS “qualified appraisers” and “qualified appraisals”

· Value Creators and Relevant Characteristics

· Valuation Principles

Each section goes into great detail about the principles themselves, how they relate to a particular type of assignment or market, and includes real-world examples.

Chapters 7 and 8 explore USPAP, not only the updates to the current edition, but also more detailed commentary on the Standards, discussions about Personal Property Appraiser Qualification Criteria, expanded ethical obligations to clients and, again, excellent examples. Maloney also explains the structure of the Appraisal Foundation and its councils and boards.

Chapter 9 deals with research. While fairly brief, particularly compared to other chapters, this section contains important information for the beginning appraiser. It explains identifying the most appropriate market and market level, how to analyze market data, adjusting for differences in relevant characteristics and market conditions, specific resources, and even how to document evidence in the workfile.

Chapter 10 emphasizes the important issues of property description, and the degree to which a property must be described based on whether the report is an Appraisal Report or a Restricted Appraisal Report.

Chapter 11 concerns writing an appraisal report, with an emphasis on USPAP requirements, but also including additional suggested “best practices.”

Chapter 12 is titled “The Professional Appraiser” and topics includes strategies for business and professional development, office equipment, and basic techniques such as getting paid, delivering the appraisal, and maintaining workfiles.

Chapter 13 discusses Legal Issues Affecting the Appraiser. This section addresses common issues relating to bailment, title, negligence, fraud, and liability, and includes reviews of relevant case law

There is a great deal of information contained in this book, but Maloney’s use of “update” icons makes it easier for readers of previous editions to find what’s new in this current edition. USPAP as a stand-alone document can be a bit dense and pedantic, making it sometimes difficult to understand or quickly find answers. The author’s strategy of assembling USPAP issues into more user-friendly groups – reporting issues, ethical issues – in addition to outlining the Standards and Rules, leads to greater comprehension.

There are over thirty appendices covering everything from sample appraisal sections to Treasury regulations to IRS forms. A full glossary is included, as well as a comprehensive index. The layout and formatting make information very simple to find. The volume covers the totality of personal property appraising, however, so often the examples given are related to non-jewelry items such as equipment or art. Regardless, there is something valuable to be found for almost every appraiser.

Generally speaking, this is an excellent reference, particularly for the beginning appraiser or one with less broad experience looking for guidance on how to handle an unfamiliar type of appraisal assignment. The examples provide excellent illustrations of typical situations and the book is filled with tips for handling almost every topic.

While possibly initially intimidating due to its length of 588 pages (excluding the appendices!), this would be a worthy supplement to the appraiser’s theory and methodology shelf.


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