1. Business

Appraiser helps clients identify valuables and get top dollar for them

Dale Smrekar, 66, who owns Downsizing Advisory Service, is a personal property appraiser and an estate liquidator.
Published Feb. 17, 2016

ODESSA — While Dale Smrekar collected art and antiques, he observed a startling trend: Buyers took advantage of sellers.

"Somebody would pay $75 for a $10,000 painting," said Smrekar, 66.

Smrekar thinks people who sell an item "deserve to get as much as possible, whether they've inherited it or bought it themselves."

So 13 years ago, he started a business designed to make that happen: Downsizing Advisory Service.

"Every day is like a treasure hunt," said Smrekar, who will speak at CARES Elfers next week.

Smrekar is a personal property appraiser and an estate liquidator whose clients range from senior citizens who are downsizing to families who are handling loved ones' estates. His role is to evaluate the contents of clients' homes to determine which items, if any, are valuable and what each is worth.

"You never know what you're going to find," he said.

In some homes, Smrekar finds nothing of unusual value. In others, he finds treasure, such as a $35,000 painting, a baseball that Babe Ruth signed or a mummified Egyptian cat, which sold at auction for $7,500.

Smrekar once found a lamp worth $5,500, whose owner otherwise would have trashed it. He found a ring whose owner thought the diamond in it was fake. It wasn't; it was worth $20,000.

Smrekar charges a $100 flat fee for walk-through appraisals, during which he orally identifies items of value. He charges $100 per hour for written appraisals.

He works throughout and beyond Pasco County, from Crystal River to Orlando to Fort Myers. His appraisals generally are for market value — "how much an item is worth in its current condition in its local market," he said. "What you can sell it for."

Having that information is important, he said. People who don't know an item's value risk accepting less money for it than they should, if they choose to sell it.

Clients who choose to sell their valuables can hire Smrekar to help. For a commission and fees for packing and shipping, Downsizing Advisory Service can broker the sale of clients' items.

"We get it in the right place, where it will generate the most amount of money for somebody," Smrekar said.

The right place could be an auction house or a website that caters to collectors of the item a client is selling.

Smrekar says his goal when he sells on behalf of clients is to get them the best return possible.

He added: "I love what I do."


  1. Ken Jones, CEO of Third Lake Capital, has sold WingHouse for $18 million to a Jacksonville restaurant company. [Times 2016]
    Tampa’s Third Like Capital now major shareholder in restaurant’s new owners.
  2. The Don CeSar Hotel is caught up in a lawsuit over liquid nitrogen being served and causing injuries at its restaurant. [Times (2011)]
    They say the other side has made inflammatory and misleading statements to the media.
  3. This Mobil Coast gas station at 16055 State Road 52 in Land O Lakes is one of 10 cited in a Florida Department of Environmental Protection lawsuit where inspectors said they found lapses in regularly required tests, maintenance, documentation or other oversight by Brandon-based Automated Petroleum and Energy or its related companies. On Wednesday, the company said the station had already been put back in compliance with state regulations. (Photo via Google street view) Google street view
    The Florida Department of Environmental Protection contends Automated Petroleum and Energy Company failed to do required maintenance or testing at 10 gas stations in the Tampa Bay area and beyond.
  4. FILE - In this July 31, 2019, file photo workers clean the outside facade of State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. On Wednesday, Oct. 16, the Federal Reserve releases its latest ‘Beige Book’ survey of economic conditions. ROSS D. FRANKLIN  |  AP
    “Persistent trade tensions and slower global growth” were weighing on the economy, the Federal Reserve reported.
  5. A South Florida developer plans a condo tower on the parking lot between the Northern Trust building, left, and the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront. SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN  |  Susan Taylor Martin
    South Florida company plans a 35-story tower next to a Hilton hotel.
  6. Tech Data's headquarters in Clearwater. The company is one of the largest in the Tampa Bay area. TD AGENCY  |  Courtesy of Tech Data
    The Largo company’s stock price soared Wednesday following the report, which the news service based on information from “people familiar with the matter.”
  7. Yesterday• Business
    Col. Jennifer Crossman smiles as Boomer, a 5-year-old dog, sits in the passenger seat of her car during the firefighter challenge at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. [Times (2016)] Tampa Bay Times
    Uber customers can now be connected with willing animal chauffeurs — for a fee.
  8. An image from the web site of Realtor Michael Schaffer's real estate company. [Realty Resources] WWW.TAMPABAYHOMEREALTOR.COM/TEAM  |  Screen grab
    Michael Schaffer still has active listings
  9. Duke Energy Co. workers are competing in a line worker competition in Kansas this week. | [Courtesy of Duke Energy Florida] Duke Energy Florida
    Four Duke Energy Florida competitors are from Tampa Bay, as well as two coaches.
  10. Alexandra Toigo, 32 and Sabrina Pourghassem, 23, pose for a photo at Hofbrauhaus St. Petersburg holding their signature beer mugs during Oktoberfest 2018. "LUIS SANTANA  |  TIMES"  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The beer hall’s property owners filed a lawsuit saying the restaurant missed its rent starting in August.