Wednesday, June 22, 2016

New ISA Members

The ISA is proud to introduce you to the newest appraisers to obtain a 2016 ISA membership. Please join us in publicly welcoming them to the Society!
William Bales
Santa Fe, NM
Janel Bedor-Griffiths
Appleton, WI
Keven Belt
Montgomery, AL
Jessica Berger
Streamwood, IL
Susan Conway
Houston, TX
George Cunningham
Phoenix, AZ
Linda Dembek
Naperville, IL
Sophia du Brul
Wilmette, IL
Philip Elia
Davie, FL
Robert Farner
Liberty Lake, WA
Mary Catherine Godvin
Ferndale, MI
Myrna Hayutin
Denver, CO
Faith Hensley
Odessa, MO
Donita Hood
Gwynn Oak, MD
Patrick Houlihan
Sedona, AX
Eric Jenior
Canton, OH
David Kwiat
Encino, CA
Hannah Laws
Plano, TX
Karl LeClair
Boise, ID
James Mabry
Huntsville, AL
Patrick Marlowe
San Antonio, TX
Suzanne McKenzie-Hawtrey
Santa Barbara, CA
Andria Minicucci
Toronto, ON
Adam Muhlig
San Antonio, TX
Karen Murray
Schwenksville, PA
Rebecca Neat
Vancouver, BC
Olga Nodarse Chao
Lakeland, FL
Kimberly Permenter
Austin, TX
Anna Rodgers
Mars, PA
Tamara Stangeby
Seattle, WA
Jannie Stoodley
Calgary, AB
Jessica Strongin
Austin, TX
William Taylor
Burlington, IA
Marcy Wall
Bella Vista, AR
Jonathan Warren
Chattanooga, TN
Yakov Wiessmandl
Lakewood, NJ
Tamara White
New Port Richey, FL
Lelia Williamson
New York, NY
Ethan Yang
Houston, TX
Colleen Zapata
San Antonio, TX

Thursday, June 16, 2016

ISA Means Business!

By Marian R. Aubry, ISA CAPP

Ever wonder what “WWW” really means? It stands for Wow Whata Week – an accurate description of the spectacular ISA Annual Conference in Fort Worth that took place in April, which featured a stellar program chockful of great speakers, timely topics, and networking opportunities that often included wine. Surprises for both ISA members and friends in attendance included a chance to use the research/report writing platform known as Collectrium for free (yes, as in FREE!) – the fact that it incorporates ISA writing standards was certainly an added bonus. It was an exciting gift, to say the least; several appraisers even gave the announcement a standing ovation. Naturally, we were all anxious to try it, even those of us who are normally skeptical of free offers. As industry professionals, we are increasingly reliant on software to help make our businesses more efficient, and with so many options on the market, it can be difficult to determine which platforms are the best to utilize.

In a recent ISA survey, responses showed that ‘business concerns’ was among the top issues that our members would like the organization to address. In the increasingly complex landscape of appraising, aspects like marketing are often bewildering, not to mention expensive. Knowing the best way to operate an appraisal business can leave many scratching their heads. We don’t often have the time or money it takes to hire an outside party to help us wade through those waters. So... where do we begin?

In response to these concerns, the ISA Membership Retention Committee is launching a new feature: ISA Means Business! This program will focus on helping our members operate efficient, effective businesses, whether they are just starting out or making certain that their existing business is up-to-date and thriving. We will begin the launch with blogs, tips and techniques garnered from our member professionals and others; software and office practice recommendations; and entries that address some 'real-life' business concerns, including how to deal with competition and reach the gatekeepers. We are currently at work compiling the ISA Business Start-up Tool Kit, which will assist fledgling and seasoned appraisers alike.

Getting started as an appraiser, opening your first office, deciding on a business strategy, meeting the necessary government requirements, getting the word out, hoping the public will hire you, calming your 'first-timer' jitters – none of this is what you’d call an easy road. It is our hope that ISA Means Business! will at the very least help to ensure that that road is paved.

Happily, one of our most treasured resources as ISA members resides in our very own membership. Years of experience, focused expertise, networking opportunities, mentoring and a host of other ways to connect to each other – these make up the best part of ISA. This new program is not only free, but it is also entirely accessible. You need only ask to be put in contact with someone, and a fellow member will be there to help. And that, friends, is your business tip of the day: Contact Headquarters about getting connected to a mentor.

But hey, don’t just take my word for it. In a recent Forbes article highlighting the best advice ever received by successful business owners, one of the top recommendations for start-ups was… you guessed it…taking advantage of the mentorships available to you.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Take Advice and Make Opportunities

By Helen (Len) D. de Rohan, ISA AM, Membership Retention Committee

You may have seen the new motto spreading amongst ISA members—“ISA means business!”— particularly when fellow members are sharing the advice that they received when they were new appraisers looking to jumpstart their business.

Carol Matesic, ISA AM, is one of several to share her enthusiastic encouragement. “Never be afraid to admit what you don’t know,” she says. “I don’t think anyone has ever faulted me for saying, ‘I don’t know but I do know how to find out or who to call.’ I think that is the best part of ISA … the community of appraisers willing to assist each other in gaining knowledge.”

Cindy Charleston-Rosenberg, ISA CAPP and past ISA President, gives the same advice, which she credits as having been passed to her by the late Norman Hurst. “Never be afraid to admit what you don’t know. It doesn’t undermine your credibility. It actually builds confidence in your integrity when you admit that you have to explore a question further and/or consult with your network of specialists who have a more specific expertise.”

Along the same lines, when I took a Prints and Paintings course from Brenda Simonson-Mohle, ISA CAPP, at the Whitehall Antiques Summer Seminar, she encouraged the class to admit to a client whenever we hadn’t heard of a certain artist. With so many artists from so many periods, we should not expect ourselves to know all of them. 

Several ISA members recommend working with auction houses, galleries or antique businesses. Leila Dunbar, ISA AM, Roadshow sports authority and presenter of two Chubb webinars, says working at an auction house gave her a wide spectrum of expertise and exposure. Gay Gapser Pleasant, ISA AM, works as a phone bidder for Leland Little Auctions, where, despite not being a full-time staff member, she has made valuable contacts with the experts at the auction house. Sarah Campbell Drury, ISA AM, and I both work for Case Auctions, Inc. in Tennessee, a location that puts us in daily contact with a wide range of objects. In fact, many of my appraisal referrals come from the auction house.

Jan Durr, ISA CAPP, notes, “One of the best experiences for me was operating an antiques mall, with the day-to-day fielding of varying questions by dealers and the public. It required research for valuation, growth in product knowledge, and building relationships.”

When she first joined the society, Vanessa Elmore, ISA, another Chubb webinar presenter, worked for almost twenty years in two galleries of Native American art and artifacts. She says that those years gave her industry contacts that included collectors, dealers, museum people, and fellow appraisers. It also gave her an understanding and knowledge of the ‘dealer’ world, insight that can be especially valuable as an appraiser. Developing a relationship with an auction house or retail business can be very beneficial in growing your appraisal business.

Marian (Mo) Aubry, ISA CAPP, says that as a new business owner, “The best advice I ever got came from a business man who suggested not that I write a business plan, but instead, write an employee handbook for myself! It not only forced me to explain my tasks step-by-step, but it also caused me to consider what an employee might want to know about my business—its goals, overall attitude and conduct. The exercise helped me to be better organized and more professional.”

Mandy Sabbadini, ISA AM, believes that mentoring with an experienced appraiser—and working in the field with her mentor—was essential to her growth and knowledge. Maria Gianino, ISA, recommends attending as many continuing educational programs in your area of interest. She also volunteers to speak to local community groups on the subject of downsizing one’s possessions, after which she’ll regularly receive numerous follow-up appraisal inquiries.

These are only a few bits of advice that your fellow appraisers have to offer up. The overall message is clear: The possibilities for advancement in your profession are endless, and you are limited only by your own efforts and imagination. It’s like Dr. Seuss said… “Oh, the things you can think if only you try!”

Friday, June 3, 2016

ASK AN INSTRUCTOR: Can I legally group items by using the sales comparison approach based on experience without researching? And my client desires two values side by side. Is it okay to list the values of each item listing FMV first, followed by liquidation value?

ISA members are invited to send in their questions on all things appraising and education to ISA's instructors. One of ISA's instructors will share answers on the ISA Now Blog. Please send questions to

I'm appraising an estate now that's in probate. The problem is MANY things in the will were itemized that shouldn't have been, such as many basic household items. I want to group them because of little individual value, but using the sales comparison approach, can I do this legally based on experience without researching so many individual items? In other words, not having comparables and photos of each item?


My client desires two values side by side: Fair market value and wholesale value (or dealer value). Once the items are released back to her, she will probably sell them to a dealer. Is it okay to list the values of each item (or group of items) side by side, listing FMV first, followed by liquidation value?

Answer: Sure. Let me attempt both answers for you.

1. When things are itemized in a will, even though the values are minimal, you should value them separately. It provides information to the estate executor and/or heirs, even though it may not affect or have any tax consequences. You may have a very short description (I usually use what’s listed in the will) and then provide the valuation. It does not need elaborate description, photographs, or comparables. Just state in your cover letter that many values, particularly those of minimal value, were based on your own personal expertise in the market.

2. I would not use a probate or estate appraisal combined with a re-sale appraisal, especially wholesale. Instead, provide a separate appraisal with different numbers. It shouldn’t be too much of a problem. You are basically duplicating the other one but have a different intended use, objective, value definition, etc. The other option is to tell the client that wholesale values are probably 50% of those on the appraisal (or the appropriate percentage).