Tuesday, September 13, 2011

So, why did YOU choose ISA?

I will always remember the job I lost because I did not have any credentials.  The job was an estate sale for a man who owned a house full of marketable high end “stuff”.  I wanted that job, and I knew that I would be his best choice, but aside from providing my great references, I could not say that I belonged to a professional organization.  In fact there were no organizations for estate sellers to which I could apply for membership. On that day, ten years ago, my search began and another world opened to me. 
Researching organizations pertinent to estate sales led me to the appraisal organizations. Not knowing any appraisers I could not ask for advice, I endeavored to find the right group for me. I considered AAA, ASA and ISA carefully and came to the conclusion that ISA would be most suitable for my geographical location and my background in sales of jewelry, art, and antiques. 
We all have stories about how we came to be appraisers.  Our backgrounds are varied, the stories diverse, but one thing we all have in common: we seek to be professional.  Every day we have a choice in which jobs we take, what clients we accept, what assignments will be our focus.  To quote my favorite economist, Milton Friedman, we are “Free to Choose” as we vote with our dollars. The fact that you have chosen ISA demonstrates this clearly as you vote for ISA each year you submit your membership dues.
Allow me to share the recent informal research I have compiled with regard to the three major appraisal organizations.  In the searchable Internet databases provided by the organizations, there are more than 1300 appraisers of personal property in the USA.  Taken by state, ISA membership dominates in 30, equals others in four, does not exist in two where others have a presence, and shares an absence in three.  Of the 30 states where ISA is the strongest, there are 15 states where ISA membership significantly dominates. Of the 1300+ total appraisers listed in the searchable databases, ASA has 19.6%, AAA has 28.7%, and ISA has 51.7%. That is a strong membership base.
Of the total membership in all three organizations, the following percentages of highest membership designations were noted: AAA Certified members 83%; ASA Accredited Senior Appraisers 61%; and ISA CAPPS 18.6%.  Specialty by category based on those who responded to the latest ISA membership survey revealed that 63% are ARC, 24% are Fine Art, and 7% are GJ.
What all this means will be different to each of us.  We can be proud of the fact that ISA enjoys a strong presence in the appraisal community.  As an organization we can strive to increase the percentage of certified members. Individually you are free to choose your organizational affiliations and your level of membership within those groups.  As you endeavor to be the best appraiser you can be I encourage you to extend that energy to the association you have chosen as your own.  
I appreciate the generous support ARC members have provided over the past four years.  Please consider how you could contribute in any way, large or small, to make ISA the best it can be.
Selma Paul, ISA CAPP
Chair Antiques & Residential Contents

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