H. Peter Curran LLC   Appraisals

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you only work for one deconstruction charity?

Absolutely not, in fact the IRS frowns upon appraisers being too closely alligned with a single charity.

I have prepared appraisals for donations made to all the major deconstruction groups in the country including: The ReUse People, Habitat-for-Humanity, Build it Green! NYC and Green Demolitions plus others.

If I donate the building materials from my house will the tax deduction offset the cost of deconstruction?

Only a portion of the fair market market value of the donated material is tax deductible. The amount depends on the donor's tax bracket and other factors.

It is best to have an accountant crunch the numbers. In many cases, the tax benefits favor deconstruction versus demolition.

Could I be over or under insured?

The values of art and antiques change over time. Popular tastes and demand influence how much something is worth.  There may be new areas of collecting and things that were hot in the past can fall out of favor. 

In general, it is recommended that your collection be appraised (or updated) about every 5 years.  If your material is in a dynamic market with increasing demand you might consider having the appraisal revisited more often, perhaps even once a year

I'm having trouble collecting an insurance claim. What do I do?

Without a recent appraisal or sales receipt it can be hard to collect from an insurance company. It is sometimes possible to work from photographs and other documentation but expect to be challenged on condition and authenticity issues. 

Insurance companies have their own hired guns to dispute any large claims. Having your paperwork in order and prepared by a qualified appraiser is the best way to protect your art and antiques.

When is a formal appraisal required?

There are times when a simple ballpark quote of value can be useful.....depending on the source. That is not an appraisal, however.

In many legal and financial situations important decisions are made based on a formal appraisal. If dealing with the IRS for estate or donation purposes, and the fair market value is over $5,000, an appraisal is required. During a divorce an appraisal can be needed for equitable distribution of assets. Most insurance companies ask for current appraisals for coverage of more valuable items.

I'm thinking about a making a donation. Can I receive a tax deduction?

Generous people donate things all the time. Many charities depend on it.

Each person's tax situation varies so it best to dicuss it with your tax advisor.

The IRS also publishes guidelines on donating material and how to complete Form 8283. If the donated material has a fair market value is over $5,000 an appraisal is required and Form 8283 must be signed by the appraiser.

What does the IRS expect to see in a properly prepared appraisal?

The appraisal must be prepared by a "qualified" appraiser. This is someone who has the education and experience to be well informed about the material being appraised. This usually means at least 5 or more years of experience in the field.

Often, this includes course work and testing in the Uniform Standards of Appraisal Practice (USPAP) and membership in a professional appraisers group.

In addition, the appraiser cannot be "disqualified" due to any conflicts of interest or past complaints

The appraisal must also include all the required information found in the U.S. Department of Treasury regulations.

Does a deconstruction appraiser need to be licensed?

No. Used building materials are considered personal property by the IRS.

Real estate appraisers are licensed by the individual states.

Ask Peter

More than a decade of experience in the field.

Specializing in deconstruction appraisals for:

  • insurance
  • estates and probate
  • donation
  • divorce
  • buy and sell advice
  • litigation support
  • expert witness
  • bankruptcy
  • damage and loss
  • blockage discount
  • collateral loans
  • restoration
  • appraisal review


Let's get started: