Thursday, January 12, 2017

President's Message 2017

Happy New Year!

May 2017 be the best year ever for all of your appraisal businesses!

Membership in ISA continues to get better every year, and 2017 will be no exception. ISA is the largest of the top three professional personal property appraisal organizations, with chapters and members across the United States, Canada and abroad. Being a member of ISA means increased opportunities for professional growth and business success through education and networking with affiliated professionals.

Our organization is a collegial one, filled with members who actively volunteer at all levels to help our organization continually improve its programming, educational offerings and business strategies for its membership. In addition, ISA has a strong Board of Directors. We are a group of nine of your colleagues, listening to your needs and creating programs that will help you become the most successful, competent and trusted appraisers in our industry.

Over the past couple of years, we have heard your desire for programs and products that bring you more assignments, grow your business and generate more public recognition of the ISA credential. To that end, ISA has improved our Find an ISA Member tool, increasing your exposure to the public by allowing site visitors to search for an appraiser by credentials, location, specialties, services and what they appraise. We have provided access to marketing templates and business forms and worked hard at raising public awareness of the characteristics and value of a qualified appraiser.

ISA is committed to supporting its members, from building their businesses to improving credentialing, methodology skills, and giving our members a distinct advantage over their competition. Last year we introduced the ISA Means Business Toolbox, designed to help members create and maintain thriving, up-to-date appraisal businesses. The Toolbox includes marketing tips, templates for promotional materials and business guides that offer practical recommendations on how to deal with competition and access the gatekeepers who can send the best appraisal assignments to you. Best of all, the ISA Toolbox is absolutely free to all of our members.

I am proud to say that ISA members, more than any other organization, excel in connecting and helping each other, even across great distances. To further increase those member-to-member connections, GoToWebinar is now available to all of our Chapters as a way to allow “distance-challenged” members a way to participate remotely in monthly Chapter meetings and keep in touch with other appraisers. Our Canadian and North Texas Chapters use this video-conferencing system successfully and highly recommend it to other Chapters. If you would like to incorporate this technology into your Chapter meetings, please contact Michelle VanAlstyne at our headquarters office to get set up.

Our newest members are as important to us as our longstanding members. We want all of our new members to feel welcomed, understand our credentialing procedures, and learn how they can become actively involved in ISA. Based on the success of ISA’s Mentor Program, we have expanded our outreach services to now include the Ambassador Program. Ambassadors (AM and CAPP members) volunteer to help new members navigate ISA and all the tools our organization provides for their success. Our Mentors (ISA instructors) are always available to answer methodology questions and give advice to anyone who is in the process of becoming accredited with ISA.

As part of ISA’s commitment to expanding networking opportunities for its members as well as enriching its credentialing process, we will be launching a new Job Board at Assets 2017. Through this Job Board, experienced appraisers can find temporary, contracted help from trained appraisers to assist with research, editing and writing for large projects. ISA appraisers working towards AM status will be able to count the hours worked on these assignments toward their credentialing-hour requirements.

Assets, ISA’s annual conference, is the most important opportunity our members have for advanced appraisal education and networking. I highly encourage all of you to join your fellow appraisers at The Architecture of Appraising, Assets 2017, March 31 – April 3 in Chicago. This year’s conference is shaping up to be our best yet!

Our Assets 2017 program includes several new aspects this year. A third Sunday breakout track has been added for Generalists, along with the current Fine Art and Antiques, Furnishings + Decorative Arts breakouts. This Generalists track was added to address the needs of those who want more specific product knowledge and to learn more about successfully running estate sales. Information on luxury and estate jewelry is included in the program to better meet the needs of our members who appraise jewelry. During the conference, we will also update members on the new credentialing requirements coming from The Appraisal Foundation which go into effect January 2018.

We have also added a new pre-conference class running from March 30 to March 31 at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago on the A-Zs of being an Expert Appraisal Witness. The class is presented by SEAK Inc., the expert witness training company. Class size is limited and it’s filling up fast, so register soon! ISA members will receive a special discount on the course fee.

The night of Thursday, March 30, will include a pre-conference cocktail hour with a panel of estate planners and attorneys as well as appraisers who work closely with The Appraisal Foundation and estate industry. They will discuss what new directions estate planners and attorneys are headed in 2017 and how best to work with these professionals.

Along with all the new conference upgrades, your favorite aspects of Assets will still be there as you mingle and catch up with friends and colleagues. Please visit the website for more details and contact this year’s Chair, Elise Olonia, with any questions you have about our program.

ISA’s goal is to have a membership full of successful, active and engaged members. It’s 2017 and there has never been a better time to be a member of ISA.

Wishing you all the best,

Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP
President, ISA Board of Directors

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Architecture of Appraising: Building on a Solid Foundation

By Elise Waters Olonia, ISA AM, Conference Chairperson

Chicago evokes images of towering, landmark skyscrapers, well-designed parks, savory international cuisine, a vast array of specialty museums, engaging night life and much more! In 1871, Chicago endured the challenge of its central business district burning to the ground. What followed was the cooperative effort of the people to re-build this resilient town into a greater renown. Hence, the "Second City."

As members and affiliates of an innovative, hardworking and curious community, we have the opportunity this year at Assets 2017 to look at our own practice with fresh eyes. Like the people of Chicago, we will build upon our roots, our core education, to deepen our understanding of all facets of the appraisal business. Utilizing experts both within and associated with our industry, growth and development of our practice will occur!

We are pleased to introduce several new educational and informative events. On Thursday, March 30 and Friday, March 31, a Pre-Conference Course will be offered, “How to Be an Effective and Successful Appraisal Witness.” This course will be led by James J. Mangraviti, Jr., Esq. who has trained thousands of expert witnesses. Additional regular onsite courses will be offered including a 7 hour USPAP Course on March 30 and a Requalification Course at the end of the week on April 4 and 5.

Also on Thursday evening, there will be a special gathering of estate lawyers in Chicago at the historic Palmer House, our host property. A panel featuring several estate lawyers and ISA appraisers will discuss new estate issues. This informative evening and opportunity for conversation will be most helpful for those actively working with estates.

Another exciting development will debut at this year's conference! In our Saturday breakout sessions, a third track of education is being offered to specifically address the Generalist. This new division was created to accommodate our group of professionals who may or may not be actively appraising and are perhaps, more centered in estate sales.

On Friday the 31st, specialty lectures and tours have been thoughtfully organized. Participants will enjoy lectures by highly trained experts at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, the Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Art Institute of Chicago. In addition to the lectures, select artifacts and objects will be available for closer examination. New this year is a special lecture at AIC by Dr. Alexis Culotta on Provenance.

Take time in preparing for this year’s conference so that you get the most out of each opportunity. Become familiar with the details of this engaging program on our website. Remember that all classes and lectures provide educational credits for your portfolio. Investigate what’s happening in the city in the event you decide to extend your stay. Give the gift of this conference to yourself and/or sponsor someone else who has interest.

Assets 2017 ignites the vision of warm embraces from colleagues, the discovery of art and antiques through expert eyes, answers to lingering appraisal questions, discovering new tools and pathways of obtaining information, forming relationships which opens doors to business opportunities and much more… 

Join us today! 

Elise Waters Olonia, ISA AM, Conference Chairperson

Friday, December 2, 2016

Worthwhile Attractions during Assets 2017

While we’re excited to bring attendees of Assets 2017 (March 31 – April 3) programming of the highest quality, we also understand that the conference’s Chicago location would mean nothing without the opportunity to get out and explore the city, home to the ISA Headquarters.

First, for those seeking to expand their Assets experience, March 31 is the day of our Fine Art Tour and Antiques, Furnishings + Decorative Arts Tour. Join your colleagues as they visit world-renowned locations like Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, the Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Art Institute of Chicago. Learn more on the Tours page.

Second, for those who find themselves with extra time on their hands, here’s just a few of the attractions worth visiting while in Chicago:

Millennium Park
From Jaume Plensa’s Crown Fountain, which projects an ever-changing lineup of locals’ faces on its walls, to the 110-ton Cloud Gate sculpture (known lovingly as “The Bean”) by Anish Kapoor, this nearly 25-acre park features wholly unique outdoor artwork, monthly garden walks and year-round flower displays. While it’s within walking distance of the Palmer House Hilton, it also has convenient parking.

360 Chicago
Located on the 94th floor of Chicago’s famous Hancock Center (and formerly known as the John Hancock Observatory), 360 Chicago allows you to see up to 55 miles out and a total of four states.  With an interactive tour, dining, and unbelievable sights, this attraction recently gained an addition known as “the Tilt,” an enclosed platform that extends from the building at a 30-degree angle.

Museum of Science and Industry
Those who love museums – but want a quick break from fine and decorative arts – should consider this terrific site nestled in Hyde Park. A winner at the 2016 Time Out Love Chicago Awards, the Museum of Science and Industry is known for its interactive exhibits and noteworthy pieces, including a simulated coal mine, a vintage diesel-electric train, and a restored U-505 German submarine.

Music Box Theatre
This two-screen cinema is well-regarded for its consistently top-notch programming of documentaries, art-house films and restored classics. Located in Wrigleyville, the main theater regularly hosts Q&A’s with directors, while cult classics are given midnight screenings, all of which tend to be packed with enthusiastic cinephiles. It’s a movie lover’s dream venue.

The Green Mill
In the 1980s, owner Dave Jemilo restored the club to the original luster it had in the Roaring Twenties, when it was a regular hang-out spot for Al Capone and other infamous gangsters. Since being refurbished, it’s been a music connoisseur’s delight, with affordable drinks, a fantastic vibe, and a stage that features an array of wonderful jazz musician or bebop musicians. One night, you may hear an award-winning pianist, while the night after that may feature an indie group destined to be “the next big thing.” Sit down and let the music wash over you. You will not be disappointed.

These are only five of the terrific attractions you can enjoy while in Chicago. Whether you’re enhancing your Assets experience or extending your stay a few nights after, there’s always another site to see in the Windy City.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Expanding Your Comparables Resources: A Fresh Look at Sources

By Suzanne Houck, ISA CAPP

If you’re like me, you often get stuck in a rut with your tried-and-true comparable research sites. Lately, I’ve been expanding my resources, and I wanted to take this opportunity to share a few of my finds with you. Some may be familiar yet forgotten. Others, hopefully, will be new and helpful additions to your bank of research sites.

Everything But the House (EBTH)
This is a full service online estate sale model for everything in the home but the house (hence the name!). It provides photos, and active and realized prices from estate sales around the country. It is searchable by region, category, and can be filtered/sorted by best match or prices high to low. And… it’s free!

If your appraisal services include consultations for selling items but not actual brokering (including estate sales), this might be a good resource to share with your client. They handle sorting, cataloging, photographing, payment, pickup and delivery.

An online auction platform similar to Live Auctioneers, Barnebys has realized prices. You can submit an item for what they call a “free appraisal,” which goes to participating auction houses (and consequently provides you with an auction estimate rather than an appraisal). Like EBTH, this is free.

An online auction site with live auctions and past auction prices, this free service includes a sortable search function.

Bidsquare was launched with six renowned auction houses (Brunk Auctions, Cowan’s, Leslie Hindman, Pook & Pook, Rago, Skinner) who joined forces to provide buyers, sellers and auction houses with a place to sell high quality items. Many of their specialists are Roadshow experts; perhaps you’ve even met a few of them. I have found sales on Bidsquare that were not on Live Auctioneers, even in the case of auction houses that are represented on both sites. I’d advise checking both sites for comparables.

the saleroom
An online auction site similar to Live Auctioneers, this site is entirely searchable, has realized prices and photos (particularly of Asian items) and has a nominal fee for use.

Applications (Apps) available through your smartphones, tablets, and iPads
There are plenty of Classified Ad-type apps that may prove helpful when determining regional and local asking prices for more depreciable items commonly found in the home (washers, golf clubs, dishes, etc.). For those of you who don’t have time or desire to frequent garage and estate sales and want to see more searchable classified ads, complete with photos and asking prices, consider the following apps:

Trove Marketplace: A place to buy and sell. For sellers it has a unique social feature, in which viewers can vote between two items that developers claim helps with future pricing.

Close 5: Great for reviewing asking prices for ordinary household items. Prices included on photos for easy viewing. No prices realized.

Offer Up: “Buy. Sell. Simple.” Requires clicking on the photos to see the asking price. No prices realized.

Letgo: “Buy and sell used stuff.” A Craig-classified sales (as in Craigslist). Not as easily searchable as the others, in my opinion.

I hope you find even a few of these resources useful. If you know of others, please share them in the comments. And if this subject interests, you be sure to attend the ISA Conference, “The Architecture of Appraising,” slated for March 31-April 3 in Chicago. Pip Deeley, author of How Data Will Keep Transforming the Art Business, will be presenting “Remodeling Business for the Future: Utilizing New Tools of Technology,” covering a range of topics from apps for image capture, collection management, the impact and potential of price data, and the latest developments in 3D scanning, virtual reality and visualization. We’ll see you there!