The term "fair market value" is used when the value of a certain item is not easily determined -- this is especially the case with used items. Specifically, the fair market value is the price someone is willing to pay for an item and is used in place of market price for used items. In addition to using your own intuition in terms of fair market value, it is important to do your research. Contact appraisers, brokers or dealers in the area that may be able to provide you with a quote based on their professional experience.
Learn as much as possible about the item. Understand how or when it was made and how much it's been used. Determine who manufactured or created the product and any special features or additions to the item.
Obtain a professional appraiser. Obtain three different estimates from creditable appraisers and take the average. To ensure objectivity, do not obtain a reference for an appraiser from another appraiser.
Research auctions. Online auction sites, such as eBay, make it easier for buyers and sellers to meet up and discover prices for items that have been previously used. Depending on the item being sold, there may also be public auctions announced in your local newspaper. Research the price at which the item was sold in the past for clues about current market price.
Determine the replacement cost to replace the item on the day of valuation. You can determine replacement costs by estimating the cost of the item unused then subtracting its depreciation. The depreciation method used depends on your organization and the item being replaced. The most common form of depreciation is referred to as the straight-line method that deducts an equal amount of the asset's value every year until the asset is written off.