Tuesday, June 17, 2014

To be the best appraiser, you’ve got to do the work

Many years ago, a golf instructor said to me, "Practice doesn't make perfect, it makes permanent." Though stated in the context of a sport, this statement has a lot of validity for appraisers.

Recently, I completed my five year re-qualification course through the ISA in Kansas City, MO. While many appraisers bemoan this process, it is an important one to undertake. Are you perfecting your craft or simply defaulting to bad habits and making them permanent?

As professionals in the appraisal industry, we have a duty to stay abreast of and educated about the latest trends, methods, and the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice guidelines.

ISA is the only appraisal association in the industry that requires appraisers to re-qualify every five years through a required course (on site or online) and an appraisal review process. In addition to completing the re-qualification course, one must submit evidence of your commitment to professional development, through conference/course attendance and hours worked in the industry. This advanced attention to requalification standards distinguishes the ISA. We are the organization with the highest requalification standards, ensuring our appraisers remain relevant throughout their careers.

So what has this two-step process taught me?

There is nothing like a classroom setting where you can discuss the changing standards of the appraisal industry with your colleagues. Part of the classroom component involves an appraisal review, not only by your instructor, but with a number of your colleagues. This process can lead to fruitful discussions, clarification, and a refining of your skills and methodology. The focus is on developing a credible, well-justified report, and at the same time you are further developing your network of appraisal professionals.

While the notion of “good, better, best” was developed by Albert Sack in his book Fine Points of Furniture (1950), it should also apply to ISA appraisers. We should be aiming for the best, which starts with being dedicated to your craft and keeping on top of your field. If you are on the fence about continuing with ISA and think that the re-qualification process is arduous, it is. But it is worth it. As the athletic saying goes…just do it.

Hughene D. Acheson
B.A.(Hons.)/M.Litt. History of Art

Hughene Acheson, Principal
Fine Art Consulting
Acquisitions, Advisory & Appraisals

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