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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

News from ISA's Membership Coordinator

Over the past year, ISA has been transitioning to a calendar year (January – December) membership renewal cycle for all members. This change will help members know when their membership needs to be renewed, as everyone will have the same membership renewal date.

Throughout 2011members have been receiving pro-rated renewal forms, so that their membership will expire in December of 2011. Those who have a membership expiring in September were given a renewal form for 15 months (October 2011 – December 2012). This will also occur for those who expire in October and November and account for any changes you may notice in the total amount due. Membership dues are remaining the same for 2012.

As ISA transitions its members to a calendar year schedule, we greatly appreciate your patience. If there are any concerns regarding your membership dues payment, please contact Sara Porter, ISA Membership & Operations Coordinator, at 312.981.6782 or

Sara Porter
Membership & Operations Coordinator

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

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Certification Process is Nothing to Fear

“Be all you can be! Join the army!” We are inundated with this commercial for the U.S. Army at the movie theaters as well as on television. But, have you ever thought that this slogan also applies to ISA?

A certified appraiser is the highest designation that our society gives to an appraiser, denoting the pinnacle of achievement in the appraisal field. In order to earn the right to have “ISA CAPP” after their name, certified appraisers have worked many hours in their chosen profession, have been tested on their knowledge of methodology, and their appraisals have passed peer review. So why do so few of our accredited members actually seek to achieve this level of professionalism?

“I am too busy, or “I don’t need it where I live” are commonly heard reasons for not pursuing certification. It does take time to complete the paperwork, document the hours, ask for references, but not much more time than when putting together the paperwork for requalification.

“I always do poorly on tests” or “I don’t like to be tested” are also common reasons for staying at the accredited level. No one likes to be tested. It is anxiety-producing for everyone and even terrifying for some. As appraisers, we probably know the information that we are tested on because we use it every day. However, ISA’s Requalification Course or the Core Course are good reviews of what we must know and attending one of these classes, can help you overcome your testing anxiety. The purpose of the certification test is not to trick you, but to make sure you know what is necessary. Remember, there are NO trick questions. Review in preparation, then take a deep breath and go for it.

So, you’ve turned in your hours and referrals and passed your test. Now, only the peer reviews of your reports stands between you and your certification. Yikes! “I’m afraid of what others may say about my reports.” Or, “I have been doing this for so long that I know how to write good reports. I don’t need to pass a review.” As appraisers, we should be rightfully proud of our reports because they are the culmination of our research and experience. But, hearing what others have to say is ALWAYS beneficial. We are often too close to our reports, so that although we understand what we are saying, others may not. The peer review process is anomymous and provides an objective, third party perspective on the reports. Reviewers offer helpful suggestions and point out valid errors that will improve the accuracy, readability, and usefulness of the reports. In fact, the comment I hear most often after a candidate receives their CAPP is “Thank you. I’ve learned so much.”

In the past few years, we have seen an increase in demand for professionalism in the practice of personal property appraisal. For example, USPAP will be demanding an increase in general and specialized education. The Internal Revenue Service is requiring a declaration that IRS appraisals contain a statement of qualifications of the appraiser. Certification is ISA’s highest designation. Consumers and peers alike recognize that those who reach that level of achievement are considered at the top of their profession. While the process may be time-consuming and at times frustrating, receiving ISA’s CAPP designation is well-worth the effort. Consider being “all that you can be.”

Cathy Peters ISA CAPP
Chair, Designation and Review Committee

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Happy Summer to all our members

It has been a very busy time for ISA since I last wrote. The 2012 Conference Committee has been hard at work getting the Tempe based conference ready to present. The speakers are chosen, the tours are scheduled and the publication of the conference will be ready soon. Make your plans to join us in Tempe Arizona, April 21st through April 23rd 2012 for a fabulous conference line-up.

The BOD has had the opportunity to work with our newest member, Steven Roach who joined the BOD after the resignation of Francine Proulx. Steve has terrific business experience and has had some great input on the issues facing ISA and its members.

I had the privilege of meeting the latest CORE course attendees two weeks ago. We enjoyed a social evening getting to know each other. What a fantastic group of professionals joining ISA and we are very fortunate to have more and more professionals finding their way to ISA.

One terrific forward movement was the presentation of the new CORE manual. The new manual has been published and is now ready for purchase. If a member has taken the CORE course or Requalification course in the past 12 months they can order the manual at cost plus shipping from ISA. If a member wants a copy of the new manual and has not taken these courses within the past 12 months, the cost is $75.00 plus shipping. You can order the manual on the web site,

ISA has initiated the seven hour Personal Property USPAP course for our members. For those who have taken the 15 hour USPAP Personal Property course as required to be a member, you are now able to take the 7 hour personal property update to keep your credential. You will need to take this 7 hour class every two years to be compliant with the AQB and ISA. You can take this course through any organization offering the personal property version. Members must have taken the 15 hour USPAP Personal Property version prior to being eligible to take the 7 hour PP USPAP.

I know many of our members will be thrilled to know that we have begun the revamping of our website. ISA has chosen the web designer and they are now in the process of gathering information from a task force regarding what is needed to update and make our website more user friendly and professional. Our members will have an opportunity to vote on the front page look when the time is right. Please let the web designers know what you prefer when the time comes.

Please visit the website regularly to see class updates, blog entries, and happenings in our society. Some of the information found on the website includes the names of new CORE attendees, recent CAPP recipients, member news, and webinar schedules plus more.

The Nominations Committee is almost finished with their task of forming a roster of candidates for the upcoming elections. This year there will be three open spots on the Board of Directors. Fred Winer, Christine Corbin and James Poag are stepping down from their positions on the BOD. ISA can never reward them enough for their hard work these past years and we will certainly miss their wise input. But, I am assured that whoever joins the BOD this October will come with their ideas and commitment to moving ISA forward for the benefit of the membership at large.

I want to thank all of you who have reached out to me with your comments, concerns and ideas. Your input is always important to all of the members of the BOD so that we can make sure we are working for the society as a whole.

I wish you all a wonderful summer season. Take the time to watch a sunset, enjoy the good weather when you can, and share a picnic with a loved one.

All the best,

Judith Martin, ISA CAPP

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Educational Opportunities Calendar

Personal property appraisers are always looking for opportunities to enhance their appraisal knowledge and earn professional development points. As part of the Education Committee for the ISA Antiques & Residential Contents Division, I created the Educational Opportunities Calendar ( in 2004 and am currently the manager.

Included in the calendar are classes, symposiums and seminars from major appraisal societies, auction houses, museums, historical societies and colleges. Offerings include antiques, collectibles, decorative art, fine art, jewelry, furniture, historical events, regional studies, USPAP classes and more. In addition to the classes hosted in various locations, many on-line events are listed and highlighted in yellow.

Check the calendar for events up to a year in advance. For calendar submissions, please e-mail event information to me at

Kathi Jablonsky, ISA CAPP