A top British valuation firm is being inundated with requests to go ‘through the keyhole’ and perform room-by-room full house valuations.
Prestige Valuations, a leading Hatton Garden jeweller and valuation service, has a team of experts that are able to value anything, from luxury watches to handbags, and from diamonds to curtains.
The ‘Full House Valuation’ service sees a dedicated and highly trained professional come to a client’s home and make a complete inventory of every item, including artwork, furniture and furnishings, of such significant value they may need to be specifically insured.
Unlike other valuation services, Prestige has a network of experts that enable them to provide a value for any item, no matter how unusual, making them the country’s only ‘one stop shop’ for all valuation needs.
Tim Belson, CEO of Prestige Valuations, has more than 40 years of experience in the insurance and valuation sector, and knows first-hand how frequently a lack of adequate coverage can adversely affect a customer.
He said: “We know from experience that a client with a substantial jewellery or watch collection is quite likely to have other valuable items in their home.
“Some of these items, like artwork, are likely to already be separately insured, as the client is likely to have some knowledge as to its worth.
“But there are so many other things that people might not realise are not covered under standard home insurance policies, especially if they are above the single article limit.
“Curtains, furniture, rugs, handbags, and even clothes, these are all items we can value for our customers during a full house valuation.
“Effectively, the client ends up with an inventory, and pictures, of all the most valuable things in their home and their worth on the day of the valuation.
“Over time, when those items go up in value, we can use those previous valuations to find out how much they are subsequently worth – saving clients time and the heartache of being under insured in the event of loss or theft.”
Susan Orringe is the senior General Valuer for Prestige Valuations, specialising in furniture, silver, ceramics and fine art.
Full House Valuations produce full descriptions, and pictures, of all valuable items, meaning that in the event of a loss or theft, insurers know exactly what they are replacing.
She said: “Accurate and up-to-date valuations are vital for anyone that wants to protect their investments.
“Pre-loss valuations mean that the loss adjusting process is easier and more accurate.
“Theft might be on the increase at the moment, and it is far better to be safe than sorry.
“Full House Valuations also work very well for succession – especially when it comes to items like clothes or handbags that even the initial owner may not think are worth much.
“Certain handbags, for instance, are going up in value all the time, and during probate, for instance, some incredibly valuable assets may be left gathering dust at the bottom of a wardrobe when they should be being bequeathed to heirs.”
Over her 30 year career, she has seen many strange and unusual items during full house valuations.
She said: “Worth varies so much, on the face of things, some items don’t seem valuable, when in fact they are. And conversely, some items that seem valuable, such as gold-plated statues, may only be worth a fraction of what they were purchased for, because they do not have any resale value.
“Some of the more unusual items I’ve valued include a stuffed household pet cat, an antique glove making machine and a Maori treasure box.
“The small oval box was used by a Maori family to hold their prized possessions, but it was in a sorry
state, as the lid was hanging off. But I could see there was value, and it sold for more than £9,000.
Full House Valuations are also vital tools during probate, because often surviving relatives have no idea the extent of their loved ones’ valuables.
Having a full, itemised list of everything of worth ensures that certain things are not missed during house clearances, as everything can be checked off as it is found.
Tim added: “It’s a room-by-room appraisal by experienced people. We work in a way that causes minimal disturbance for the client, and demand has never been higher.
“People are rightly concerned about their valuables, especially in economic times like these where thefts may be on the rise.
“We can give clients the peace of mind their pieces are fully insured.
“Other items included in full house valuations include electrical equipment, dresses, books and handbags – basically anything that might be valuable.
“Some of the more unusual items we’ve seen during full house valuations include rare wines and whiskeys, a mayoral chain and a huge solid block of jade.”
Susan added: “People need to worry more about silver jewellery and pictures – high theft items, basically.
“But they should also be concerned about memorabilia and collections being covered on their insurance policies.
“Obviously the level of insurance for each item is commensurate with its worth, but also the ease of it being stolen or damaged.
“A grand piano isn’t going to get taken during a burglary, but it is also not likely to survive a house fire.
“We recommend everybody updates their insurance every five years, because that’s a decent timeframe for significant change.
“Brown furniture is decreasing in value at the moment, but handbags and designer watches have shot up in value.
“It’s so important to have a record of your assets so you can properly look after them.”