Desktop Appraisals: Are They Useful?

Desktop Appraisals- Are They Useful?

When you are having your business assets appraised there are a variety of ways that you can determine the value of your machinery or equipment. There is the method of depreciation that your CPA might use, there is an inspection based appraisal, and then there is the desktop appraisal. For our southeast Michigan clients, we always recommend that their best appraisal option is the certified, inspection based appraisal. However, there are times when an inspection isn’t possible, so one of the other types of appraisal is necessary. If you are looking for the best results from a non-inspection appraisal, we recommend the desktop appraisal.

What is a Desktop Appraisal?

A desktop appraisal is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. These appraisals are done without inspecting the equipment and are based on information that is provided by the owner of the equipment. Desktop appraisals can be certified, if done by a qualified appraiser, but they are often considered less reliable and informative than an appraisal that includes an inspection of your equipment or machinery.

When is a Desktop Appraisal Practical?

Like we mentioned before, we would recommend to all of our clients that they have an inspection based appraisal for the best results. However, there are times when an inspection based appraisal can work or is more practical for the business owner. For instance, if you have a large fleet of vehicles or construction equipment, and it is located in another state or is frequently moved away from your main yard, it may make sense to have a desktop appraisal. A desktop appraisal is also useful in hypothetical situations, like when you are building a new facility and need to know the value of new equipment, or if you are researching the purchase of equipment that is owned by another party. Other times that a desktop appraisal is useful is if equipment has been lost in a fire or due to theft. While you will get a more accurate value from an inspection appraisal, sometimes it just isn’t possible. In these cases, a desktop appraisal will work just fine.

How to Improve Your Desktop Appraisal

If you have to do a desktop appraisal for equipment or machinery that is owned by your business, but is not available for inspection there are steps that you can take to get the most from your desktop appraisal.

  • Provide as much information as possible – Keeping detailed records of each piece of equipment is the best way to get a good desktop appraisal. Things that are especially helpful are: the make and model, the manufacture year, special features, and any other identifying details. This will give your appraiser a good place to start searching the market for comparable equipment.
  • Keep good maintenance records – Knowing run hours and how well a piece of equipment has been maintained is really important for providing as accurate an appraisal as possible.
  • Provide Pictures – In the case of a desktop appraisal, a picture truly is worth a thousand words. Pictures can show the condition of equipment and give your appraiser a better tool for matching your equipment with like equipment in the market.

While an inspection based appraisal is always your best bet, sometimes you have to settle for a desktop appraisal. By providing your certified equipment appraiser with as much information as possible about each piece of equipment, you can get the best possible appraisal without an inspection. If your southeast Michigan business needs equipment or machinery appraisals, whether inspection based or desktop, please consider R Stout for all of your appraisal needs. To learn more about our services or to schedule an appraisal, call us today at (248) 978-8338.