If you are the executor of a will or the owner of a car collection, you might have questions about how vehicles in an estate appraisal are handled. You may not even be sure if you need an estate settlement appraisal for the vehicles included in the estate. The overall value of an estate and the vehicles included in it play a major role in answering this question.
The legal process involved in settling an estate after an individual’s death is referred to as “probate”. Probate includes a proper assessment of the deceased’s property to determine whether or not the estate is subject to taxes and how the assets included in the will should be distributed. The value of “noncash” assets, including collectibles like antique vehicles, must be professionally appraised to establish their fair market value at the date of death.
In general, any vehicle with a value of over $5,000 should be documented in an estate settlement. Ideally, the original estate owner should have documentation for antique and collector vehicles, but even if proper appraisals have been completed previously, a “date of death” appraisal may be necessary to assess the current fair market value of a vehicle. This is particularly true in cases that involve the division of an estate between several inheritors. Since a vehicle can’t be cut into pieces and distributed among inheritors, the value of the vehicle can be very important to determine how the estate will be settled.
Should an estate be contested in court, an accurate and detailed appraisal is essential to ensure that all parties are treated fairly. Lawyers and accountants will use a documented appraisal to determine the value of a classic vehicle. The accuracy of this appraisal allows professionals to assess the best way to settle the estate and makes it possible for inheritors to distribute the value of a vehicle with the least chance for error or misappropriation of funds.
An accurate estate settlement appraisal is also an important part of determining inheritance taxes. A well-documented appraisal can save you thousands in taxes by providing the IRS with clear, accurate figures, rather than allowing them to estimate a fair market value that may or may not reflect the actual value of the car. Furthermore, knowing the value of the vehicle in relation to the taxes can help inheritors decide the best way to handle the vehicle in the settlement.
If you are currently writing a will or have been assigned as an executor, AAG can be your appraisal expert and help you get accurate, well-documented appraisals for antique and collector cars. We can produce the most accurate vehicle probate value to ensure that an estate is settled fairly, with the deceased’s intentions in mind.
Schedule your estate appraisal today and let us help you streamline the process of estate settlement.
The Detroit Autorama hosts the most prestigious competition in the custom auto world: the Don Ridler Award and the Great Eight finalists. The competition highlights the most beautiful, meticulously customized vehicles in the world, and winners can boast membership in the most prestigious group of custom designers in the industry.
In 2020, Auto Appraisal Group had the privilege of appraising one of the Great Eight Finalists, the Hess 1956 Oldsmobile 98 OLDSSLED. There isn’t a whole lot left of the original Oldsmobile 98, a testament to the excellent craftsmanship and workmanship displayed in this gorgeous custom car. This Pro Design Hot Rods custom was a crowd favorite at the show, showing off a SPARC design in a beautiful midnight blue paint job with a luxurious hardtop that grabbed the imaginations of the spectators.
Owner Jeff Hess fashioned his OLDSSLED with a 1950s aesthetic in mind, devoting years to build the custom vehicle and setting the bar for a 1950s-style custom. The design includes triple-plated chrome by Advanced Plating of Nashville, Tennessee, and components of the vehicle are painted in HOK Way Past Midnite Blue, including the boxed frame with air-ride suspension. The Oldsmobile 98 features a fuel-injected first-generation Chrysler Hemi engine, and the fully custom interior is impeccable, fabricated, and upholstered by Bill’s Auto Upholstery.
Details abound and impress in every feature. The Oldsmobile 98 sports a Carson padded removable hardtop, shaped bumpers, modified Corvette style grille, and a Frenched continental kit built into the trunk. Spectators were justifiably impressed by the metalwork on the vehicle and the general sense of luxury and attention to detail that is impossible to ignore.
AAG is honored to appraise such spectacular custom builds as the OLDSSLED. Our 30 years in business has provided us the opportunity to appraise many nationally recognized custom vehicles, factory prototypes, one-offs, and professionally customized vehicles. While the OLDSSLED didn’t win the 2020 Ridler Award it is company founder, Larry Batton’s pick as AAG’s Custom Car of the Year. Check out the links in the article to see interviews of the owner and builder as well as high lights from the 2020 Detroit Autorama.
Knowing the value of your classic car can affect your bottom line in so many ways. Vintage vehicles are often sold, purchased, and traded “among friends”, at auctions, and in situations where the agreed value is little more than a few words and a handshake. This may seem adequate for a car you intend to work on as a hobby and have little intention of driving (except on holidays), but knowing the exact fair market value of your antique car can be very important.
It is not uncommon for the IRS to look into the value of a collector car and launch an audit if the value claimed on a tax form doesn’t seem to match the fair market value of a vehicle. The unfortunate truth is that many collectors don’t know the fair market value of their vehicle and may rely on the price they paid for the vehicle when claiming the car’s value for tax purposes. This can be particularly fatal if you’ve bought a car from a relative or a friend who did not price the car accurately (often as a kind gesture). You could end up being liable for taxes on a $25,000 car even if you only paid $5,000 for it.
You may be asking yourself, “But what happens if I really DID pay $5,000 for the car and then restored it to a $25,000 value?” This can also be troublesome without proper documentation. Should you decide to sell that vehicle and receive a full $25,000 for the car, you don’t want to pay taxes on the full profit when a large portion of the price of restoring the vehicle makes up for the difference between purchase and sale price. A lack of documentation showing the original value of the vehicle, the price of restoration, and the value at the time of sale can cost you a pretty penny.
Many vintage auto owners will claim that their collector cars rarely leave the garage and that they have no intention to sell the vehicle, believing that they don’t really need to know the full value of their classic auto. It would be nice to believe that a car that is largely garaged and only driven on the 4th of July is safe from the type of insurance claims that require full knowledge of a vehicle’s value. Unfortunately negligent drivers rear end even antique cars, and there is just no way to know that an accident or theft will never happen and require you to file an accurate claim with your insurance company.
While insurance companies rarely question a claim on a classic car when the other driver is at fault, attorneys for the at-fault party may not be so quick to accept the value presented by the classic car’s owner. Without proper documentation of value, a claim can easily be disputed. Good paperwork helps you to defend your claim and get the compensation you deserve.
In situations where value can be helpful or even vital to the protection of your assets, a well-documented vehicle inspection can be critical. Whether you’re being audited by the IRS or defending an insurance claim, a carefully documented value appraisal can save you money, time, and hassle. A pre-purchase inspection can also help you determine if a vehicle has been properly valued and help you understand what your tax commitment may be. Furthermore, a resale value appraisal will help you save money and get more for your restoration efforts.
Know what your vintage vehicle is worth! Contact AAG today to schedule a value appraisal or pre-purchase inspection and protect your investment.
Many car owners think that donating a vehicle is a great way to get ahead on taxes and avoid having to sell an unwanted car or pay to junk it, but the process can be fraught with pitfalls. Some charities are guilty of false advertising and self-dealing, while other organizations are for-profit intermediaries that give only a small contribution to charity. In some cases, it may actually serve a charity better (and prevent IRS auditors from calling) to sell the car and simply donate the proceeds.
In the case of vintage vehicles, the value of the automobile may make it worthwhile to look into the details of donation and put forth the effort to donate properly. The following tips will make it easier for you to donate in a safe and effective way:
Research the charity to which you donate. In order to claim the donation as a charitable deduction, the charity must have a 501(c)(3) non-profit status with the IRS. Take the time to learn about the charity, too – organizations like Charity Watch rate charities and help you determine how well they process vehicles that are donated.
Itemize your tax deductions. The IRS has detailed rules about the amount you can claim, and you must itemize your car donation on your return. Furthermore, the charity to which you donate must qualify for you to receive full market value for the vehicle: donated cars must be used by the charity in their operations, improved by the charity in order to sell or use the vehicle, or donated or sold to a needy person for below market value. In all other cases, you can only deduct the amount received by the charity as proceeds from selling the car.
Get a receipt for the donation. You must get a receipt from the charity for the vehicle and documentation certifying the selling price of the vehicle within 30 days of the charity’s sale of the car.
Complete the appropriate IRS form. There are specific forms the IRS requires for you to deduct the donation based on the sale price or fair market value of the vehicle. If the vehicle’s fair market value or sale price exceeds $5000, you will be required to get an independent appraisal and complete Section B of Form 8283. For more information about the IRS forms necessary to deduct your vintage vehicle donation, visit the IRS web site.
Deliver the vehicle yourself. If possible, drive the vehicle to the charity yourself. This not only saves the charity money to make your donation more effective, but it also ensures that you are not giving your car to an unrelated, for-profit intermediate dealer. Be sure to sign over the title of the car to the charity and ask a representative to sign it as well. If the car is not road-worthy and the charity picks it up for you, make the person picking up the vehicle sign the title and take a picture or photocopy of it to prevent liabilities that can be charged to you or the new owner.
A great first step for any automobile donation is an independent appraisal by a certified appraiser. Not only can an auto appraisal of a vintage vehicle help you to deduct a donation, but it can also help you determine how and to whom you want to donate to. In some cases, it may make more sense to sell the vehicle yourself, while in others, it may be profitable for both you and the charity to donate the car directly. If you decide to sell the vintage vehicle on your own, the appraisal will help you to know what price to expect and help validate that price to potential buyers.
For most of us the words “valuable antique vehicle” conjure up the image of a perfectly restored “fresh off the lot” vintage car. Obviously such a vehicle would be very valuable indeed, but many antique vehicles still hold value, even with very little or no restoration work having been completed. The reasons that collectors seek classic cars play a significant role in the determination of a vintage vehicle’s value.
Antique vehicles come in all shapes and sizes and offer different benefits to different types of collectors. If a vehicle is particularly rare or sought after, it can be extremely valuable to the right buyer. Hobby buyers may be interested in the car as a “project” and will welcome the need for restoration and the chance to own a unique gem that they have lovingly brought back to its former glory. Even a car past the state of restoration can be used for parts to a collector who enjoys the process of restoration.
Many modern buyers are interested in “patina” vehicles. These antique cars might be found in a barn or a garage and are then lacquered to retain the patina and rust that have resulted from neglect and age. This new fad has created a market for unrestored vintage vehicles, allowing sellers to fetch outrageous prices from collectors who covet the “rustic” look. There is some debate about whether or not these vehicles are actually worth what people are asking for them.
Many collectors will admit that part of the allure of working on a vintage vehicle is the social environment associated with the process. Going to auctions, conferences, and auto shows where restorers and collectors can share information and talk about their vehicles is part of the attraction for serious antique car restorers. Even a car that is eternally “in the shop” or that can supply rare parts for trade can be valuable to a collector who enjoys the lifestyle of vintage car collecting.
Even if your vehicle has not been restored, you should have a certified AAG agent assess the vehicle and get a certified appraisal. You might have a diamond in the rough, but even if your 1969 Station Wagon is just a piece of nostalgia collecting dust in the garage, it’s important to know what you have rather than to sell the vehicle for less than it’s worth!
Likewise, if you are considering purchasing an antique vehicle, an appraiser can help you determine a fair price for the vehicle based on your intentions. A pre-purchase inspection can be an important reality check, reining in the excitement of shelling out an enormous sum for a classic car that may end up being little more than a garage ornament. If you are looking for a decorative “patina” vehicle, an appraiser will give you the knowledge you need to negotiate a realistic price.
Contact Auto Appraisal Group today to make an appointment to have your antique car evaluated!
The team at Auto Appraisal Group would like to assure you that Auto Appraisal Group and its agents have implemented best workplace practices in our home office and at on-site inspections. Your local AAG agents are working through the backlog of orders that have been placed and are doing everything possible to keep everyone safe during vehicle inspections.
As always, we are dedicated to providing outstanding customer service and we really appreciate your patience during this difficult time. We are eager to once more be of service to you, our loyal customers.
We would also like to offer a word of caution regarding on-line appraisals: many online appraisals do not include an inspection by an independent appraisal company and require instead that you complete the field inspection on your vehicle. While this type of appraisal may be easy to obtain, there is a strong likelihood that such appraisals will not be acceptable should a claim or a legal question arise in the future.
The requirements of a “Certified” appraisal demand that the vehicle has been properly inspected and the information presented in the report has been verified. While some companies may welcome the easy money they can make by offering a lesser online service, we don’t believe it is in your best interest and will do everything within our power to schedule your appointment at the earliest mutually convenient time.
We look forward to our continued relationship with our clients and to serving you regarding all your prepurchase inspection and auto appraisal needs.
Antique car collectors know the story well: you answer an ad, or maybe you go for a walk, and you stumble upon a barn or a garage with a rare vehicle tucked inside. There was a time when “barn finds” were common enough that every vintage vehicle collector dreamed of finding one. Collectors looking for projects would drive past a barn or an old garage and wonder: “Could my next masterpiece be hiding inside?”
Over time, “barn finds” have become more and more elusive. As consumers and automotive manufacturers turn their interests elsewhere, it is less likely that a rare vehicle will be found by chance.
The disappearance of the “barn find” has led car collectors into very different venues to find rare and vintage vehicles. While collectors could assume that a rare vehicle they stumbled upon in an abandoned garage was authentic, they now must navigate car shows and auctions with restored or semi-restored vehicles on display. This new environment presents its own set of challenges to antique car collectors.
Modern vintage vehicle collectors need to be ready to determine if an antique car is worth the price being demanded. Vehicles at shows and auctions may look well preserved, but upon closer inspection, the shiny exterior could hide numerous flaws. It can be difficult to know if non-original parts have been used in the restoration, if the paint color is authentic, or if restoration work has been done properly.
Buyers today must inspect a rare vehicle carefully to determine if the price being asked is fair and represents the car’s condition. The safest way to ensure that you are purchasing an antique vehicle for the right price is to use a certified inspection agent to assess the vehicle’s value for you. Our certified Pre-Purchase Inspection agents can help you determine if you are investing in a collector’s item or a dream that may never be fulfilled.
Call Auto Appraisal Group to plan your next prepurchase inspection!
There is an old saying that real estate value is established by location, location, location. We have a similar saying that collector car value is established by condition, condition, condition. While there are exceptions, both statements are accurate much of the time. The IRS defines the fair market value as the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under the compulsion to buy or the compulsion to sell and both having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts.
Auctions have become a common way to buy and sell antique vehicles, and researching the internet for similar vehicles that are for sale or have sold is an acceptable way to gather comparable vehicles. However, using either of these methods requires that you make adjustments for buyer’s and seller’s commissions as well as an adjustment for the actual sales price versus the initial asking price. An experienced appraiser’s methodology is the key to making the proper adjustment. There are also a variety of cases in which the value of an antique vehicle needs to be established for reasons other than sales: insurance coverage purposes, museum donations, and estate value are just a few of these.
Classic cars are some of the most expensive vehicles on the market. These prices are often due to the fact that the vehicle is no longer in production. Therefore the supply of popular models in good condition is less than the demand for these vehicles. This is often the source for a lot of the confusion about the value of a classic car. There is no “true” comparison that can be used as a standard of value. In many cases, the value is affected by not only how many other vehicles of the same model exist and their condition but by how the vehicle has been maintained, restored, or customized. 50 year old vehicles have often seen multiple owners with different budgets and tastes. So how is the value of a collector car established?
Vintage vehicle values are usually derived by a few common means:
Price Guides Price Guides are a popular source of baseline classic car values. Guides are more or less an average of a classic vehicle’s value. As we’ve seen in the last 60 days, the vintage vehicle market can be volatile, so any guide should be a starting point, and cannot be considered a concrete standard.
Condition One of the most influential factors in assessing a classic car’s value is condition. Condition plays an important role in the overall demand for the vehicle. If the vehicle is in perfect condition and has been fully restored, it can command the highest possible price in almost any market. Condition includes a wide variety of details including drivetrain and mechanical condition, body paint and panels, interior wear, overall wear and tear, and whether it is well-maintained.
If there are fewer of your vehicle’s model available, your vintage vehicle may be worth more to collectors. A good example is of muscle cars with high performance packages that were often produced in limited numbers in order to qualify for racing. However, sometimes rarity may be the result of very limited production because the model was not popular among consumers when new and may still not be popular today and therefore, its rarity is not as much of a factor.
Originality and correctness can be important factors when establishing a collector car’s value. A car is only original one time. If the engine has been replaced it is no longer original. It may have the correct engine for that year’s model but it is not the original motor. This is most important in Corvettes, muscle cars and other special optioned models. Restored to correct specifications is not original. Custom modifications can add or reduce the value of a vehicle based on the type of modifications. Customization is a personal preference and may not increase the value with everyone.
Restoration Restoration is a major part of determining a vintage vehicle’s value. A professional, high quality restoration can increase a classic car’s value, while a poorly executed or sloppy restoration can actually detract from the vehicle’s value. It doesn’t always take an experienced professional to assess the difference between a properly restored vehicle and one that has been done haphazardly. But we can’t be too quick to judge; sometimes the owner’s love of and enjoyment in the use of the vehicle is more important to them than its appearance.
Project Potential If a classic vehicle is in need of restoration, the value of the vehicle can be more difficult to assess. Many collectors are willing and even eager to invest in a “project car”, but the price they are willing to pay for a classic car in need of restoration can be difficult to determine. The most important factors usually include the expense and the amount of time they expect to devote to bring the car up to top condition. The amount of money invested in a restoration does not usually mean there will be an equal increase in its fair market value. Some even refer to restoration as financial suicide. But, if you have the money to invest we encourage the preservation of the vehicle and the support of the businesses and employees who have the skills to return a project car to its former glory. Again, it is best to do your homework and involve a professional when making decisions about how much a “project” can cost to restore or command in a sale.
The easiest way to obtain a meaningful assessment of your classic car’s value is to have the vehicle professionally appraised by a certified appraiser. The advantages of an Auto Appraisal Group certified classic car appraisal include our experience and unique company structure. Our agents not only provide the expertise and attention to detail required to accurately document the value of a collectible vehicle, but our appraisals also include meticulous research, making your appraisal useful in any situation that calls for knowledge of your automobile’s value.
Schedule your classic car value appraisal with Auto Appraisal Group today, and be ready for anything!
If your vehicle has been in an accident, your insurer may tell you that your vehicle is a “total loss”. What does this mean to you, and how does it affect your claim and your vehicle? In some cases, a total loss does not mean that the vehicle is scrap metal, and the car may be useful as a “salvage vehicle”, as a source for parts. Understanding how a total loss is determined and how it affects you can be very important.
It is not uncommon for many types of damage, although it may look minor to the owner, to be the reason for a “total loss” assessment by an insurer. Insurers have a few choices when addressing a claim. Depending upon coverage and policy language they can:
1) Pay for the vehicle, repairs, or a replacement vehicle.
2) Return a stolen vehicle at the insurer’s expense and pay for any damage.
3) Take all or any part of the damaged vehicle as salvage at a value that has been negotiated by the insurer and the policyholder or determined by an appraisal.
When an insurer declares a vehicle a total loss, the vehicle’s Actual Cash Value (ACV) is calculated with an adjustment for depreciation and the physical condition of the car. Insurers consider a vehicle to be a total loss when the cost to repair the vehicle is more than the vehicle’s ACV. Several factors help the insurance company to determine your vehicle’s value, including:
Diminution of value
Local market worth
Equipment and features
Insurers use two common methods when deciding whether or not to “total” a vehicle. State law can dictate which method they use. The two methods are:
Total Loss Threshold
Total Loss Threshold is a percentage that is calculated by dividing the cost of repairs by the ACV of the vehicle. When the threshold has reached a certain percentage, the car is considered “totaled”. More than half of states require an insurer to use Total Loss Threshold, with the percentage required to declare a vehicle totaled averaging between 60% and 100%. In a state requiring an insurer to use the threshold to determine totaled status, insurers must reach the threshold to establish that the vehicle has been totaled.
Total Loss Formula
Other states allow insurers to determine if a vehicle has been totaled by using the Total Loss Formula. The cost of repairing the vehicle is added to the vehicle’s salvage value, and if the result exceeds the ACV, the vehicle is declared a total loss.
Once your insurer has established that your vehicle is a total loss, the state vehicle licensing authority is notified that the vehicle has been totaled. A totaled vehicle may not be driven in its current condition, but the vehicle will typically have some salvage value. In general, your insurer retains the vehicle as salvage and pays you the ACV for the car. Your insurer may then legally sell the vehicle to an auto salvage company.
In some cases, you can retain a “totaled” vehicle by paying the insurer the salvage value. The vehicle still cannot be driven unless it is repaired and registered as a rebuilt salvage vehicle – it must pass a thorough inspection by a state inspection authority – but you can retain the vehicle for parts if you obtain a non-repairable vehicle certificate.
Salvage value and ACV are usually determined by your insurer, but you can use a certified appraisal agent to assess these important facets of your totaled claim. The accuracy of your ACV can be a key determinant in whether or not your vehicle is considered totaled, and can make the difference between receiving a disappointing reimbursement for your salvage value or ACV and recouping as much as possible from your loss.
A certified auto appraisal agent from AAG can help you determine the value of your damaged vehicle and provide the proper documentation to communicate with your insurer. Our Total Loss Appraisal can ensure that you get everything you are owed after an accident. Call Auto Appraisal Group today to schedule your Total Loss Appraisal!
When someone is buying or selling a vehicle, they will often refer to the “Kelly Blue Book” to obtain an estimated value to use in negotiation, and to determine a fair price for the car. A price guide provides an estimated value of many vehicles. It does not provide the value of a specific vehicle. When referring to antique or classic automobiles, the KBB is not an accurate source.
Understanding the general value range of a vehicle is an important factor when buying or selling. The fair market value is the price a vehicle will sell for on the open market when a willing buyer and a willing seller are informed, acting in their own interests and not under pressure to act. This understanding ensures that both the seller and the buyer will be satisfied with the purchase price. In this respect, a price guide can establish the average value of a particular model with some variance allowed for mileage or options.
Values offered by a standard reference such as the KBB or NADA are only a starting point, however. At AAG, we lean heavily on the methodology that the value is primarily established by the condition. Other factors that could affect value include – age, location of sale, color and equipment options. Whether a vehicle has been in an accident or experienced a natural disaster and the types of repairs required afterward also play a significant role in the overall value of an automobile. Parts and repair quality are crucial in the assessment of the vehicle’s value.
It can be difficult for untrained eyes to determine if original parts have been replaced, and if those replacements match the quality of the original parts. It is even more difficult for the layman to see the difference between quality repairs and non-standard repairs that may not be reliable. The longevity of the vehicle and the likelihood of associated maintenance is an important factor that is not accounted for in price guide estimates.
It can be hard for the layman to see that a car has been through a flood or been in an accident. A “Carfax” or “Autocheck” report can help, but only refers to repairs and accidents that have been reported by the previous owner. If no damage is visible or the owner performed repairs privately without insurance reimbursement, it may never be reported to one of the companies providing history reports.
Sellers may also be unaware of what price they can expect if they rely solely on a price guide like KBB or NADA to produce a price for their vehicle. A well-maintained vehicle with all original parts and very low mileage may be able to command a higher price than the average listed in the Kelly Blue Book. Likewise certain colors, optional equipment, and regional preference can boost the value of a vehicle and allow the seller to command a higher price. Unless the seller is an experienced car trader or appraiser, there is the chance that a vehicle could be undersold.
To prevent these types of errors in vehicle value assessment, it is important to receive an unbiased appraisal. This is particularly true in instances when you cannot see the vehicle in person before purchasing, as may happen when buying a vehicle that is out-of-state. In such cases, you can protect your investment by obtaining a pre-purchase inspection from a certified auto appraisal company.
Using a professional company to document the condition and determine the value of the vehicle you are buying or selling ensures the most accurate assessment of the vehicle, taking into account all the necessary factors to determine the appropriate selling price for the vehicle. An objective inspector and appraiser can also prevent conflicts of interest by acting as an unbiased party, producing an independently obtained vehicle assessment, rather than being influenced by a relationship to either the buyer or the seller.
If you are considering the purchase of a used vehicle, consider scheduling a pre-purchase inspection to help you learn important information before negotiating. Auto Appraisal Group provides highly trained, experienced and certified agents that can provide you with documentation of the vehicles condition. All pre-purchase inspections include a value consultation with a value expert from AAG’s home office. Our certified agents talk directly with clients about the vehicle’s condition and are available to answer questions as you review the detailed report. This documentation along with the value consultation equip you with the information you need to make an informed decision.
Call Auto Appraisal Group today to schedule your Pre-Purchase Vehicle Inspection!