The Asset Information Form is the cornerstone of the application process for fine art and antiques. Vice President of Valuations, Mark Bench and Appraisals Manager, Elliot Roberts explain what makes this form so important and how clients can go about completing it.
How does a completed form assist the Valuations team?
Elliot: It organizes the details of the asset. It prepares us for a conversation about the piece. It is also a helpful tool for cataloging artwork that comes in which in turn helps our inventory management system.
What should Borro partners tell their clients about completing this form?
Mark: This is the first step of the research needed to perfect a loan.
Elliot: The more information the client provides, the quicker we can respond and potentially provide financing.
Here are the types of information requested on form:
- Artist’s name
- Title of the piece and year it was created
- Dimensions and medium of the piece
- Details of the markings or signatures on the piece
- The object’s condition and provenance
- Auction and exhibition history for the object
Where is a client/partner likely to find most of the information requested?
Elliot: A receipt, especially one from a gallery is likely to have the most information. It will list the basics of the piece (e.g., artist name, title and year of the piece) but also the provenance and it serves as proof of ownership. The receipt should always be kept when purchasing artwork.
Mark: A past appraisal is also helpful. The back of a painting is incredibly important as it is a various pieces of information that can provide provenance and auction history.
For clients who are unsure about things like the medium/material or markings/signatures, what is the best way for them to get these answers?
Mark: There are some easy items to that can help with the identification of the medium. For example, if the piece has an edition number, it is most likely a print and not a canvas. Oil paintings and water colors are also simpler to identify. High resolution photos are imperative as they can help us determine the factors that the client may be having difficulty with.
Elliot: If a condition report has already been prepared by a reputable conservator, it would also hold information on the medium, material, markings and signature.
If an asset doesn’t have a condition report, what’s the best way to go about describing the object’s condition?
Mark: A client should be as detailed as possible on the form and note anything that stands out or seems unusual. We aren’t expecting professional level knowledge of the piece so they should use their best judgement.
Elliot: Clients shouldn’t be hesitant to be honest on the form if they spot a tear or inconsistency in the color of a piece. Those things will not necessarily invalidate their application. It is instead the start of a conversation about the piece. Being upfront about issues can save time in the long run.
Mark: Similar to applying for a mortgage, anything that is omitted could affect the value of the piece and end up being a point of contention.
Does a piece need a formal appraisal in order to be considered for a loan?
Elliot: Past appraisals provide valuable information but are not required. We do not value asset based on a previous appraisal since it was completed for a different purpose. We instead use it as source material and to see the method that the past appraiser used. Completing an appraisal is a part of our due diligence process.
Let’s get into specific questions and their relevance. Why does the form ask if the item has been exhibited or appeared in any publication?
Mark: The fact that a piece has been critically assessed helps us to gain a level of comfort with the piece. It also provides provenance. If a piece has appeared in a publication, it means it was written about by someone knowledgeable about the art and well-known. It invariably provides validation for the piece.
Elliot: Pieces that have been featured in exhibitions and publications are viewed favorably in the marketplace may enhance the demand in the marketplace. This doesn’t mean that we can’t work with pieces that do not have this distinction, however.
Why is it necessary to ask about the recent sale history of a piece?
Elliot: It helps us to understand the intentions of the client. If they have put it up for sale or are planning to, we would recommend our Sale Advance Loans where as if they are not interested in selling, the Bridge Loan is probably best.
Mark: Previous and recent offerings for sale can have an impact upon value.
Why does a client need to confirm that they have the clear and sole title for a piece?
Mark: We can’t lend against something that is not solely owned by the client. We need to have it on record that they hold a clear title. It saves time to get confirmation upfront.
Elliot: This is the initial acknowledgement of ownership but we will complete further checks to confirm it.
Any final advice/tips for completing the form?
Elliot: Be as detailed as possible. All information is helpful.
Mark: We are here to help clients get the financing that they need. Our goal is to qualify the asset.