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Monday, August 30, 2010


a.k.a. How to Become Designated in 3 Easy Steps

So how does one become certified within the appraisal community? Is it a matter of time, effort, or endurance? This article will provide you a simple roadmap to explain how to arrive at that seemingly elusive destination.

The Certified Appraiser of Personal Property designation was introduced in the appraisal community in the 1980’s through the efforts of ISA and Indiana University. It was designed to provide skills and training in personal property valuation to advance those within the profession. It was also meant to convey a standard of competence to the public by quickly recognizing the four letter designation. This standard, the CAPP, was the pinnacle of all we stood for in our society.

Although times and small details have changed, the program is basically the same as when it was instituted. It is based on three things: education, experience, and expertise.

ISA membership is tiered at three major levels*. The first full level, general membership, is the basic membership. It requires the passing of a general studies course in appraisal methodology and principles (The Core Course in Appraisal Studies) and a completion of the 15 hour USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice). The core course is presented and taught by ISA two or three times a year or is available through distance education (DE). The USPAP two day class is available throughout the country at many venues, including those given by ISA. You do not have to take the ISA version.

In addition to these educational requirements, we insist upon a three year documentation of appraisal or market experience. This can be working in the auction field, interning in a museum, being a dealer in antiques, collectibles, or a certain product, or a host of other related possibilities.

Once one has become a full member (as stated above), they may demonstrate their experience and knowledge in a select specialty area of their own choosing. ISA has a couple of broad categories that are available through completion of our own classes, like Fine Art or Antiques and Residential Contents. Both is slightly less than a week long and taught once or twice a year. (These two areas form the current bulk of our membership.) The jewelry division accepts certain GIA designations in lieu of a specific ISA course. We currently do not have a Machinery & Equipment class.

For those wishing acceptance of another specialty, proof and demonstration of their expertise is required. This is handled by the Special Studies Committee of ISA (SSC). They will review credentials and may ask for a brief thesis or paper of 8-10 pages that verifies expertise in that area. This allows for unique and narrow specialties that exist within our product fields. In addition, they will want to examine an actual appraisal in that product which supports the claimed mastery. Other courses may be approved without the rendering of a thesis, i.e. NAWCC Clock Course, since their programs have been pre-approved by ISA.

As you can see, the accredited level is about product knowledge. Since most, if not all, appraisers work in certain categories, this requirement of education or expertise is not burdensome or unreasonable. It is easily attainable by anyone working in this profession on a regular basis. For those young in the profession, it is most quickly and efficiently done through attendance at our approved FA or ARC class.

One the main changes in the CAPP program since its inception is the concept of certification. Originally ISA would award a designation in a certain area, like Fine Art. The designation would indicate a level of proficiency within the fine art field. This became confusing since it implied that the member was an expert in a category. Since “fine art” can be extremely broad-based and far reaching, to indicate a person was an expert in this entire field was misleading. At the same time, to indicate a member might be an expert in netsuke was extremely difficult to verify. The endless possibilities made it unworkable.

Therefore, ISA decided to award their highest designation, the CAPP, to those who have already achieved both a level of expertise in their specialty field, as proven in their AM designation, and in appraisal methodology and experience. The CAPP is now a general designation and specialty areas are declared by the member.

The process for achieving this highest level of membership is not elaborate, although not quite as simple as the AM. Once registered for the process through an application and fee, the applicant must prove their merit through the three avenues: education, experience, and expertise.

An applicant must pass a comprehensive examination on appraisal methodology and principles, similar to the Core Course exam take previously for general membership. Although not a “bar exam,” it does test the applicant in a very thorough manner.

The applicant must submit documentation proving 500 hours of appraisal experience (1/4 of a year full time) and 50 PDCs (Professional Development Credits). These are easily obtained through attendance at seminars, conference, and professional meetings and activities.

Finally, the applicant must submit two appraisal reports for peer review. These “products” of our knowledge are what we do on a regular basis and the submissions should be examples of our daily work. One is a self-contained report and the other a summary. Only a few items are necessary for these appraisals. The submission is not onerous.

The entire process from entrance as a new member to certified member can take as little as a year. Most full time appraisers can achieve the designation within five. It is not unattainable. In fact, the certified designation is what our society is all about. We strive for excellence in valuation theory and practice. We want our clients to be satisfied and comfortable knowing that our work is the very best and stands up to public scrutiny. Our CAPP is the declaration that our member is trained, tested, and qualified to do solve the valuation problem at hand.

*Other levels of membership, i.e. life member, associate, etc. may still exist due to previous credentialing processes, but are not considered the main three on the road to designation.

Leon Castner, ISA CAPP
Director of Education

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How to sign up for Forum email and Profile Changes

This is the fourth and final ISA Now installment on using the ISA Forum. This post is on how to sign up for email delivery of posts and how to change your profile.

First navigate to the ISA homepage at and click on the ISA Forum tab. The navigation tabs are located on the left side of the screen, with the forum tab being third from the bottom. Click on ISA Forum and the Welcome to the ISA Forum page loads. Click on the Proceed to ISA forum link (agreeing to terms of use) and the Forum sign in page appears.

On the left side of the screen is a group of navigation links. The second from the bottom is to edit your Forum profile. Click on that link. The sign in page for the Profile Editor will load. Sign in using your Forum username and password. Click Log in.

The profile editor page should now appear. At the top of the screen are some hotlinks and just below those links is information about you, including username, name and email. Check and make sure the information is correct, especially your email address.

The next step is to sign up for automatic email notifications and delivery. Click on Email Notification and the page will drop down to the correct settings section for adding email delivery. You will see the forums listed which are available to have new posts emailed to you. Click on the desired boxes, typically both Members and Education forums should be checked for member, staff and educational information. Below the email setting for Forums are some additional settings for your own posts and replies to your post. Check as you see fit and desire. Now click on save Profile Changes and the profile editor page reloads, stating changes successfully saved. That is all that is necessary for adding email delivery to your ISA Forum profile.

Within the Profile Editor are additional areas for listing information and settings about your forum account. You can add a picture of yourself, change preferences, change your password etc. Some of these ask you to fill in text areas, others will ask you to upload information and others to just check or uncheck a box to activate or deactivate. It is rather simple to follow. After you make your changes, click the Save Profile Changes and the changes will be saved.

Remember, if you do not click on Save Profile Changes, your changes will not become effective.

If you have any questions, please contact me at

Todd Sigety, ISA CAPP
ISA Treasurer

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How to Post a Photo on the ISA Forum

This post and screen cast is the third in a series of four ISA Now posts about using the ISA Forum. This ISA Now post will detail how to upload an image to the ISA Forum. In the not to recent past, image uploading was very difficult and confusing process with the need for HTML code to be placed into the post. I originally thought ISA was going to have to wait for an update of the forum software for this to change. Luckily I was able to find a work around and the process has now become much easier with no HTML code necessary and a simple upload and browse button.

The first step to uploading an image to the ISA Forum is to navigate to the ISA Home Page at The next step is to click on the ISA Forum navigation tab. This is located in the left hand column of the ISA Home page. The Forum tab is the third from the bottom.

When you click on the navigation tab to the ISA Forum, the welcome page will load. By clicking on the Proceed to ISA Forum link you are also agreeing to the terms of use. Please read and become familiar with the ISA Forum terms of use.

Click on the Proceed to ISA Forum link and the forum log in page will load. Fill in the text boxes for your username and password, then click on the Log In button. The ISA Forum page will load. Then click on the desired forum for your message and image. In the screen cast we will be using the Members Forum by clicking on Members. Then click on the thread topic. I will use the General Announcements category. When the new page loads there is a list of all of thread topics for the General Announcements category.

If you are commenting on an existing thread click on that topic. If you are starting a new thread, look for the start a new thread link between the thread topics and the posts that are not connected or related to any particular thread. To post in the uncategorized area scroll down to the bottom of the page for the Add a Message text box.

When you are at the Add Your Message Here portion of the page, type your message as described in an earlier ISA Now post, and to add an image click on the Upload an Attachment button. When you click on Upload an Attachment a new browser window will open asking for a description, for the screencast I will call it test image, and then click on the browse button to select the file from your computer. Click on the file you wish to upload to the forum and the program will automatically insert the proper directory and file for the upload. Next, click on the upload button. The window will state file uploaded. Click on the close box in the new window.

The forum now has the directory for where the image is located on your hard drive. Click on preview/post this message button. Your post will not be in the preview window and the image should load. Next click on Post this Message and message with image will be uploaded to the ISA Forum.

Remember your images need to be either in GIF or jpeg format. Try to use smaller thumbnail size images otherwise the file may not upload. Also, remember that images are not delivered in the forum email distribution list. Users have to be on the forum to see the images.

I hope this short tutorial with screen cast will be helpful the next time you need to upload an image to the ISA Forum. For questions or help please contact me at

Todd Sigety, ISA CAPP
ISA Treasurer