Friday, March 20, 2015

Where are YOU on the ISA Credentialing Pathway?

As we come to the end of our first day of ISA's premier educational event of the year, Assets 2015, it’s important to ask yourself: Where am I on the ISA Credential Pathway?

Open to members and nonmembers, ISA's professional development and certification courses come in an array of course formats that make it easy to advance your industry-related learning. On-site courses afford you the opportunity to receive instruction while collaborating with peers in group activities. The Online Learning Center provides members unable to travel with real-time online presentations and a self-paced Core Course option, while Distance Education allows you to complete coursework via email. And last but certainly not least, our incredibly convenient webinars give users access to a rich archive of recorded sessions (some of which are free!).

So whether you're starting the credentialing process (Stage 1) with the Core Course in Appraisal Studies and the 15-Hour USPAP Course; building your credentials (Stage 2) with more specific areas of expertise; maintaining your status (Stage 3) through requalification courses; or advancing your knowledge (Stage 4) in your area of focus, ISA education allows you to take part in courses led by some of the most accomplished, knowledgeable professionals in the appraisal industry.

Here are our upcoming courses in June. View the full 2015 course offering on the ISA website.

June 1–7
Core Course in Appraisal Studies
Instructors: Leon Castner, ISA CAPP & Kathryn Minard, ISA CAPP
Arts and Letters Club of Toronto

June 9–10
15 Hour Personal Property USPAP Course
Instructor: Leon Castner, ISA CAPP
Arts and Letters Club of Toronto

June 15–17
Asian Art I: Appraisal of Japanese Prints
Instructor: Daphne Rosenzweig, PhD, ISA CAPP
NIU – Naperville Campus in Naperville, IL

June 18–20
Asian Art III: Foundation Course in Asian Ceramics for Appraisers
Instructor: Susan Lahey, ISA
NIU – Naperville Campus in Naperville, IL

As we head into Assets 2015, we encourage you to seek out educational opportunities, share information and resources with your industry peers and fellow Assets attendees, and continue down that ever-rewarding Credentialing Pathway.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

ISA Mentor Program is Good Karma

Marian R. Aubry, ISA CAPP
By Marian Aubry, ISA CAPP

Have you heard of ISA’s Mentor Program? In this unique program, seasoned appraisers agree to help a newly minted appraiser fill in the skill gaps or get a leg up in the process of credentialing. And best of all, it’s free! Although congeniality and collegiality have always been the hallmarks of an ISA appraiser, the Mentor Program makes certain everyone feels the love. No other appraisal organization offers this type of program, and it's another instance of ISA leading the way in the industry.

Here’s how it works: A mentor is paired with a mentee who has similar interests. Simple as that. If you are Fine Art member, you will be linked with a Fine Art Mentor. Speaking the same language is not only helpful but is also a great way to make contacts in the field, which can prove to be a real benefit to a new appraiser. The mentor provides guidance and advice, helps the mentee navigate the tasks involved in moving through the credentialing process and can address any lingering questions that the mentee may have.

For the mentee, this is one-on-one support from an appraisal professional. For the mentor, it’s good karma (what goes around comes around). As every teacher knows, the rewards of mentoring are pretty satisfying, and it can serve as a great way in which to cement your own skills.

There are, of course, some expectations that must be spelled out for both parties. For example, the Mentor-Mentee Program isn’t about developing a business model for the new appraiser. For that, the mentee might need a business coach; the mentor may even have some recommendations for choosing one. The mentor’s job is to provide information and perspective, while suggesting ideas and strategies for accomplishing tasks that will allow the mentee to move to the next level on his or her credentialing path. Importantly, the connection between Mentor and Mentee is a limited offer. To be more specific, the program will last for three months, at which point an evaluation will take place, and the decision as to whether to move forward or move on can be made.

Our current list of mentors reads like a Who’s Who directory of ISA CAPPs and Accredited Members. We have over 32 ISA members serving in a mentorship capacity. Most are paired with mentees right now; many of them have even more than one mentee! Clearly, these members appreciate the help that was given to them in the past and are willing to pay it forward. Now that’s good karma!

I urge you: Consider becoming a Mentor. It’s a limited-time program, one with specific rules to ensure that your volunteered time as an appraisal professional is not abused. For anyone seeking mentorship, I urge you to take advantage of this program. After all, it's free - and there are plenty of prospective mentors who are eager to address your unanswered questions.

Visit the ISA Mentor Program page for more information and to enroll in the program.

Marian Aubry, ISA CAPP
Board Director

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Ask Leon: How can I appraise something that is reportedly non marketable?

ISA members are invited to send in their questions on all things appraising and education to Leon Castner, ISA CAPP. Leon will share his answers on the ISA Now Blog. Please send questions to

Question: How can I appraise something that is reportedly non marketable? I have been asked to appraise paintings owned by a government agency for insurance coverage.

Answer: The answer is found in the Core Course manual in lesson 3 (page 3-8). One normally uses the cost approach to value or estimate the cost of non-marketable property. As we know, the cost approach is based on the cost to reproduce (reproduction), produce an equal substitute (production), or the cost to purchase. In the event of a painting owned by a government agency that can’t be sold, here are a few guidelines:
  1. What would it cost to have a competent artist duplicate the painting? (This assumes the original artist is deceased and can’t paint another.)
  2. What would it cost to have an artist make a suitable equivalent? (The artist should have a similar standing within the art world as the original artist.)
  3. What would it cost to purchase the piece if it were available in the marketplace? (One can use the sales comparison approach to gather data and adjust for inflation, location, timing, or find similar paintings available in the marketplace at retail settings.)

Trivial Pursuit
Misconceptions taken from our Core Course Exam
These statements are ALL TRUE!
  1. The value to be determined for divorce cases is based on individual state or Provence laws.
  2. The IRS qualified appraiser definition does not include a requirement to be at least 25 and a resident of the US.
  3. Change in condition is not a type of obsolescence. It is physical depreciation.
  4. Auction company estimates are not values. They are used as marketing tools or a guide for buyers and sellers. They may have no relationship to the real value of an item.
  5. Authentication is not absolute. It is an informed and recognized opinion.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Call for Volunteers

Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP
By Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP

I have just reread President Cindy Charleston Rosenberg’s New Year’s Message. If you haven’t read it, click on the above link and prepare to be stunned by how far ISA has come in the last several years in terms of being an industry leader, guiding its members towards compliance with accreditations and industry qualifications, and helping its membership become (and stay) successful in an extremely competitive field. It is abundantly clear why ISA has become the premiere professional personal property appraisal organization of choice!

But just who is “ISA,” and how is it achieving so many amazing advancements for its members? “ISA” is not some omnipresent “wizard behind a curtain” or a large corporation complete with hundreds of individual staffers working 24/7 to make our members rich and successful. ISA is an organizational name. ISA is comprised of 800+ personal property appraisers, primarily throughout the United States and Canada. ISA is you. ISA is me. Together, we make ISA the organization that it is.

So how have all of these amazing accomplishments happened within the last few years? Because of the hundreds of volunteer hours that, currently, a small portion of ISA members have donated to the following projects and programs:
  • Creating new marketing concepts, which are benefiting all of our members.
  • Developing strategic partnerships with industry leading companies regarding the use of appraisal services, as well as who can refer business to our members.
  • Finding and nurturing sponsorship relationships and monies which fund educational programming for members.
  • Creating and teaching methodology and theory courses, pathways to accreditation courses, Requalification and USPAP courses, which members can take on site and online to keep their credentialing current, as required by The Appraisal Foundation. Our courses give members an edge on the competition that we all feel from the many other venues that provide “appraisal services”. Our courses are some of the best in the industry, and they help make our appraisers some of the best in the business.
  • Providing an annual conference every year, which extends an opportunity to members to learn, network, and expand their appraisal opportunities.
Can you imagine how much more ISA could accomplish if all 800+ of our members donated even 10 hours a year?

There are so many opportunities to get involved with ISA and help keep our organization strong, healthy and create better business opportunities for its members. We all have special skills of one kind or another, and we all have at least 10 hours a year that we can give back to an organization that is working hard for each and every member.

Here are just a few opportunities which have an immediate need:

Is increasing membership important to you?

Our Membership Committee needs current members from all across the United States and Canada to help spread the word about ISA. Do you know potential members, individuals thinking about getting into the appraisal business that you can approach with the message of our organization? As a current member, you are the perfect volunteer to reach out and give them the "insider's" view of the advantages of ISA membership. This is a committee worth joining, one that will not occupy a lot of your time but that gives you an additional avenue for networking with like-minded folks.

Some specific areas that need help are reaching out to young auction, art and antique professionals who may be interested in adding appraising to their skill sets. We also need volunteers to work on member satisfaction and benefits.  If you are interested in volunteering to increase membership and member satisfaction, contact Judith Martin directly at or call 630-665-5200.

Going to Assets 2015?

Mo Aubry, BOD Liaison to the Membership Committee, is looking for a few friendly faces to help meet and greet new members and first-timers to conference. Remember your first conference? Remember how nice it was to have someone reach out and make you feel welcome? We have so many new and interesting members from all kinds of venues and backgrounds joining us. Help “meet and greet,” and make some new valued colleagues in the process. Contact Mo Aubry at or call (941) 544-6806.

Know a lot about appraising or have product knowledge to share?

Karen Rabe is looking for mentors to help share their wealth of knowledge with new appraisers looking for advice in developing their appraisal skills. I have personally participated in this program and can say from experience that mentoring someone is extremely rewarding! I have made several new friendships with appraisers from different parts of the country. With all our new appraisers' varied backgrounds, the mentor ends up learning as many new valuable tricks as the appraiser being mentored. Contact Karen Rabe at

How are your marketing skills?

Our Marketing Committee could use some volunteers who are savvy with social media and have good writing skills. We need detail oriented volunteers who can help to prepare, write content, copy-edit and place ISA promotional material (ex. publicizing ISA’s LMS and educational webinars) on social media sites. We want to use as many online avenues as we can to get the word out about the conference, our sponsors, and why ISA is the premiere professional personal property appraisal organization of choice. If you know your way around the Internet, this committee is for you. Contact Todd Sigety at

Are you good at fundraising?

The Resource Development Committee can use a few good "money makers." We have sold out of our sponsorship opportunities for Assets 2015 (amazing!), but we need members with good ideas and relationship skills that can help us maintain our sponsor relationships on a year-long basis. Our sponsors are very important to us. In addition to helping cover the many costs of our annual conference, they also provide monies that help us create new educational opportunities for our members. They work with our members in providing referrals, product knowledge and appraisal related services. Want to join this team as it heads off in exciting new directions? Contact Fred Winer at or call 410-337-0085.

These are just a few of the volunteer opportunities in the immediate future. We would love to have you join the ranks of our valued volunteers. Your participation helps ISA continue to grow and provide valuable member benefits for all.