The Perks of Virtual Appraisals


By: Sarah Shinn Pratt, Director at LOFTY

Reflection based on the article “I’ll Get a Real Expert She Yelled,” written by Lawrence Keppler.published on July 12, 2014 on Art Antiques Design

Reading this reminds me of many a time that I have been talked into traveling a long way, enticed by a potential seller’s seemingly knowledgeable description of their property, only to find out that while they were sincere, they actually did not have what they said they did. All experts over time learn their lesson and ask more questions first, and most will not embark on any journey without seeing good pictures of the property first. A really seasoned expert can sometimes tell from just a wide angle room shot of a seller’s collection if it is worth investing time, talent and treasure to go see the items in person.

One of the great things about Lofty is that both owners and experts save time, expense and heartbreak, not to mention back break, engaging in our virtual evaluation process. Sure, there are going to be some categories that defy non-physical inspection because they need to be seen or tested, e.g. certain antiquities or large gemstones. And because of Lofty’s business model, there will be many items that don’t meet our general threshold for appraisal of $500, $1,000 for furniture. But many items, some of significant value, can be evaluated accurately with photos and careful questioning on the part of the expert. Lofty has evaluated and sold items up to $25,000, all based on a multitude of photos, including close ups of details, oblique angles, the reverses and undersides, questions about and confirmation of condition, provenance and many other crucial facts. The buyer saves time and money too, not having to travel and being able to rely on our vetting process.

So, don’t be offended if an expert doesn’t want to drive 50 miles to make an offer or an evaluation just based on your descriptions, unless you are paying them for a written insurance, estate or fair market value appraisal. Even then, the expert could save you a lot of money looking at the photos first. It may not be worth doing. And of course, you can always get a second virtual opinion.