Personal Property Appraisal:
A legally binding document of personal property valuation, conducted by an informed , authorized and accredited Personal Property Appraiser.

Who Needs the Services of a Personal Property Appraiser?

Life is full of challenges, and some can be overwhelming. Executors of estates need to settle probate. Parties navigating the difficult waters of a divorce. A business owner selling business assets. Anyone who is downsizing and wants a current valuation on items they wish to sell. Anyone needing to find replacement value for insurance reasons. And sometimes, simply for the sake of personal curiousity.

An appraiser is an independent, impartial third party with no personal or professional interest in the items of appraisal. Lack of bias is crucial while current values are found for items of appraisal. An appraiser will back up their findings with a written appraisal report.

Dark Horse Appraisals is owned & operated by Susan L. Andrews, an accredited Canadian Personal Property Appraiser (CPPA) and member in good standing with the CPPAG. The CPPAG complies with USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice) and is recognized throughout Canada and the United States. Appraisers affiliated with the CPPAG are bound to a high standard of ethics, conduct and adherence to industry standards while performing an appraisal.

There are several factors to consider during an appraisal, including: physical condition, age, make and model, authenticity, provenance, desirability, scarcity, use, obsolescence and current market/economic conditions. An appraisal may also factor in transportation and/or removal costs.

The main forms of value found during an appraisal are Fair Market Value and Replacement Value.

  • Fair Market Value (FMV) is the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under compulsion to buy or compulsion to sell, with both having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts. This type of value is commonly used for probating wills, estate dispersal, divorce, bankruptcy and private sale.
  • Replacement Value (RV) is the cost of replacing a particular item when it is either lost or destroyed, usually for insurance purposes, though it may also be a factor in private sales.  

Does Dark Horse Appraisals also act as an art dealer, antique dealer or auctioneer?

In a word, no.

Yes, I do work with auction houses and antique dealers, as we are in the same industry. For an apprasiser to appraise items one moment and then offer to purchase them is highly unethical. However, should a client request assistance in terms of where to best sell an item that I have appraised, I am happy to act as an intermediary and put them in contact with the numerous auctioneers, art galleries and antique dealers that I do know.

Appraisal vs Valuation: What’s The Difference?

Both appraisals and valuations are performed on-site by Dark Horse Appraisals and are researched in the same manner. The first question appraisers generally ask is, ‘What is the purpose of the appraisal?’

Appraisal: an appraisal is a written legal document, usually required by financial institutions, lawyers and insurance companies. Hence the higher expense of having an appraisal done, as the legal nature of the document must ensure that it is as watertight as possible.

Valuation: A valuation can be verbal or written. Watchers of Antiques Roadshow are seeing verbal valuations being performed by appraisers. Verbal valuations are timely and reflect the current demand for the item, but no legal documentation is provided. A written valuation will provide the appraiser’s findings in document form, but it is not a legal document. For those who are simply interested in the value of an item for personal interest only, and wish to have a document written by an appraiser to show others, a written valuation is a much more affordable option than an appraisal.

Appraisers come from many backgrounds, some more eclectic than others. I have cultivated an interest and love for antiques, artwork and fine objects for decades. Museums, historical sites, art galleries, antique stores and flea markets have been favourite haunts since childhood.

Photo of Susan L. Andrews, CPPA

Susan L. Andrews, CPPA

I grew up in Ottawa and took Advertising Creative at Algonquin College. Upon graduation I spent several years working as an Advertising copywriter in both Ottawa and Vancouver. After helping with the setup and launch of a notable bed-and-breakfast in Hartland, New Brunswick, I returned to Ontario in early 2000.

Since then I have been successfully employed in fields ranging from the barn manager of an Ottawa-area show facility to the field of private investigation and running a successful domestic services business. During this time, I was often asked by clients who knew of my love for antiques to keep an eye open for esoteric items of decor and artworks. This eventually lead to working for a local auction house, where I learned both the inner workings of the industry and, as a matter of course, learned how to correctly assess, handle and catalogue a great many items.

To date, I have appraised everything from a single item to a private art collection to the contents of a hoarder’s estate. As a lifelong student of sociology, history and art in all its forms, I am continually educating myself about art and antiques, endeavouring to have basic knowledge about a great many items. Current knowledge regarding the ever-changing market is crucial. Client confidentiality is key.

Finally, I am known for being honest, responsible and applying detail-oriented thoroughness to every aspect of my work. My third-party appraisals are free of bias and as a member of the Canadian Personal Property Appraisers Group, I am beholden to a professional code of conduct and ethics.

Service Area

My service area covers the united counties of Leeds/Grenville/Lanark, Edwardsburgh/Cardinal, Merrickville/Wolford and South Dundas/Glengarry. Essentially, the section of Eastern Ontario that is south of Ottawa and between Cornwall and Kingston.


To contact Susan L. Andrews, please use the form below. All appraisals are undertaken with the strictest of confidence.

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