Tuesday, July 19, 2011

With a Little Help From a Friend…

I’m a CAPP, up to date on my USPAP classes and serve on the board of directors and a few committees. I’ve been a mentor to three appraisers who are now successfully on their own. I’ve helped write sections of the ARC manual and taken just about every class on American decorative arts my budget will allow. I’ve even taught a few classes. It seems like I would be pretty confident as an appraiser. Guess what; sometimes I’m just not sure I’m approaching an appraisal in the right way.

I chose to join ISA years ago because a helpful appraiser in my town encouraged me to. She said the courses were great and the people were helpful. Most importantly, she said she’d be there to answer questions while I got started. Back in those days the only option for the core course was onsite, including a long hotel stay. We trimmed our family budget for months and my mother in-law offered to stay with my babies while I took a week out of my life to attend the course. Despite the sacrifices, I have never regretted that decision. Not only do I have a career that I love but I made friends who I still rely on. Many of those friends are now teaching classes and writing manuals themselves.

Doing business in a resort area that attracts lots of retirees means that I am seldom bored. I have clients who have lived all over the world collecting as they went. Because people here are from a variety of cultures and economic groups I see a huge variety of personal property. I like to pretend I know everything but the truth is I get stumped. I count on ISA’s network of appraisers to find an expert on anything. One of my first “out of the box” appraisals involved a large collection of taxidermy trophies from safaris and local hunting trips (by the way, they lived in a nature preserve...go figure). I was able to call on a classmate from the ARC courses who steered me in the right direction for finding comps. The next year I met someone at conference who had heard that I was an expert in taxidermy and hoped I would help her. I’m no expert but I could share my sources and make her job much easier. I get to do some pretty challenging jobs at this point in my career but still reach out to appraisers who have done similar reports. I wouldn’t know what to do without them! I’m so glad I learned to swallow my pride, admit I wasn’t sure about something, and ask for help.

I encourage each of you, no matter how new or experienced, to reach out to other members or our wonderful staff. Use the forum or one of our social network options to ask questions. I also encourage you to go to conference, join a chapter and take as many onsite courses as you can. You learn so much and meet the most interesting people. Help other appraisers; yes even your competition across town, when you know the answer. Remember, that when we work together we all grow as appraisers.

Libby Holloway, ISA CAPP


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