Sunday, December 20, 2009



HOLLYWOOD - Here in South Florida's citrus country we grow mostly oranges and grapefruit but you'll also find plenty of lemons. Even though these are the automotive kind and not the ones that grow on trees, they also leave a sour taste in your mouth. The world of used automobiles and trucks isn't what it once was. With the advent of the internet, your dream car exists somewhere and is accesible but how to know whether or not the automobile is worth buying when distance precludes your actually seeing it? An appraiser can ascertain most everything by a thorough pre-purchase inspection. Along with a Carfax, it's probably the best insurance you can buy. The first thing we at St. Lucie Appraisal do is positively ID the vehicle, making sure all numbers match, that the exact model is specified and any other sub-model or specialty designation is noted.

Mileage is recorded and checked against repair and maintenance records. All equipment and options are noted including mechanical, drive train, interior, exterior, electronics and trim.

New tires are a clue to possible steering and/or suspension problems. Their presence warrants a more thorough inspection underneath. If the tires are worn, we check for uneven wear and any signs of bruising.

While performing the inspection, an appraiser would do well to leave the vehicle running long enough to note any leaks, overheating or air conditioning problems.

The interior of the vehicle is often neglected. In addition to making sure all the dash guages, climate and radio controls work, we make sure to raise and lower the windows, engage the rear defroster and check both the brake pedal and emergency brake.

Has the vehicle ever been in a collision and, if so, how extensive was the damage? Signs of improper repairs are obvious but even in the case of a properly repaired car, there will be diminished value. That's something the buyer most certainly needs to know as it can slash the vehicle's value in half.

We run a free CARFAX when requested. This will let you know about previous repairs, total loss titles, flood, hail or fire damage, manufacturers recalls, unibody damage, etc. CARFAX also verifies mileage by chronological entries from DMVs, insurors and dealers. Was this unit ever a rental or lease car? Was it owned and operated by a government entity? Was the car ever stolen? Historical events pertaining to the vehicle can provide a clear window into whether or not it is the car for you.

Even though we're in sunny florida, far from the sand and salted roads that rot sheet metal, cars from the north find their way here with all of the attendant rust and other corrosion-related problems. Fresh undercoating is a tell-tale sign and it's presence alerts us to check the trunk floor, doors, aprons and rocker panels extra carefully. Using an ice pick to probe through fresh body sealant is a good way to uncover corroded sheet metal. Use a refrigerator magnet to locate any body filler that might exist.

If there are red flags, we're not too shy to call the previous owner(s) if their contact numbers are available. In addition to gaining valuable insight into the car's history and how it was maintained, you might just find that he has items like service manuals, receipts, build sheets or related-collectibles your customer might wish to acquire.

All part of the service here at St. Lucie Appraisal.

The St. Lucie Appraisal Company
P.O. Box 2700
Fort Pierce, FL 34954
Phone: (772) 359-4300
Fax: (772) 466-8400


Our service area includes St. Lucie, Martin, Indian River, Brevard, Palm Beach, Broward and Dade Counties. Cities include Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Stuart, Palm City, Jensen Beach, Hobe Sound, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, West Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Coral Springs, Coconut Creek, Pompano Beach, Tamarac, Sunrise, Lauderhill, Plantation, Fort Lauderdale, Davie, Pembroke Pines, Miramar, Hollywood, Hallandale, Miami, Opa Locka, Hialeah, Coral Gables, Kendall and Homestead.

Diminished Value Appraisals throughout Florida including, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, Pensacola, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Port Charlotte, Clearwater, Kissimmee, Melbourne, Daytona Beach, Ocala, Gainsville, Bradenton, Titusville, Panama City, Bonita Springs, Naples, St. Petersburg and Tallahassee.

Our rates for services are as follows:

Auto Appraisals (Donations, Bankruptcy, Divorce, Insurance Disputes) $125.00

Stated Value Appraisals (Antique & Classic Cars, Street Rods, Motorcycles, RVs, Trucks) $175.00

Auto/Truck/RV Condition Reports $225.00

Diminished Value Appraisals (Determines how much less your car is worth after accident repairs) $225.00

Personal Property Appraisals (Contents, Collectibles, Art, Antiques) $225.00

All other services including trial prep and additional appraisal time when necessary $75/Hr.

Expert Witness - Court Appearances, Depositions, Mediation $225/Hr.

You may obtain appraisals for Financing, Charitable Donation Tax Credits, Collateral, Damage Claims, Equitable Distribution, Bankruptcy, Estates, Insurance Stated Value, Purchase & Sale and Diminished Value.

Appraisals of Personal Property, Art, Boats, Classic & Custom Autos, Antiques, Collectibles & Memorabilia, Electronics, Machinery, Motorcycles & Choppers, Furnishings, RVs, Trucks & Heavy Equipment. Business Valuations specializing in all types of small businesses.


Keywords for this article: appraisal, appraiser, automobile, buying, carfax, florida, hollywood, inspection, insurance, lemons, pre-purchase, St. Lucie Appraisal Co., truck, used cars Revised 08-28-2012