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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Value in Education

ISA held the final onsite Core Course in Appraisal Studies offering, earlier this month: October 8-14, in Naperville, IL.  We would like to acknowledge those who attended; for taking this important step in not only toward becoming a member of ISA, but for furthering their appraisal industry knowledge:

The updated Appraisal of Fine Art course was held October 15-20 and had the highest attendance, in more than three years.  The following individuals participated in this course offering:

Please join ISA in congratulating our recent course attendees.  Check back with ISA NOW later this week, as we announce the winner of the registration referral contents!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

An Insider's Perspective and Guide for the CAPP Program

Now is a great time to begin your application for certification.  It is especially important in light of the new qualification standards that are being developed by the Appraisal Foundation.   I know that many appraisers are reticent about submitting their appraisals for certification review.   As appraisers sometimes we are uncertain about our own appraisal work because we haven’t had the chance to see appraisals that have been completed by our fellow appraisers.    If you follow USPAP and use the manual to prepare your reports for certification, there is no need to fear the appraisal certification process.  You can be assured that we are all following the same procedures and using the same process to come up with our valuations.

At ISA we try to make the process as straight forward as possible.  After you contact Michelle at headquarters you will be sent a packet with all the information you need to prepare your appraisal reports.  You are required to send in two types of appraisals, one Self Contained Donation Appraisal consisting of five items in your specialty (one of those items must have a value over $5,000) and one Insurance Appraisal that contains two of the items that you used in your Donation Appraisal.

After the appraisals are submitted, they are reviewed by three CAPP Appraisers on the Designation and Review Committee.  The appraisals are sent to the review committee with an identification number instead of your name in order to keep your identity confidential.  The appraisals are reviewed by each of the three reviewers and then they are returned to me so that I can summarize the comments before sending them back to you.  If the appraisal follows the checklist required for all appraisal reports and the comparables and the value conclusions make sense, then I get to congratulate you on your certification.  If there are some areas that have to be addressed then we talk about those areas so that you can correct them and submit the appraisals again.  Once you have corrected those areas and resubmitted the appraisals that should complete the certification process.  From beginning to end it should take no more than two to three months to complete your certification.   In a relatively short period of time you will be able to refer to yourself as a certified appraiser with ISA.

Now that I have explained the process, I would like to give you a few tips on how to submit your reports.  We are all creative people and every report that we write reflects some of our personality.   However, when you are submitting appraisals for certification it is best to keep it simple.  We also recommend that you pick appraisal items that you are familiar with and that you see every day in your appraisal practice. The manual provides an example or format outlining the elements of a correctly prepared appraisal.   If you follow the example in the manual it will make it easy for you and the reviewer to identify all the items necessary for a correctly prepared appraisal.   Each report should include the cover document, body and addenda.

The reviewers are looking at three specific areas when they are reviewing your appraisals.  They want you to be able to identify and describe the item correctly.  They want you to be able to choose the appropriate comparables; that is comparables that relate to what you are evaluating.  Lastly, they want you to be able to explain why you used those comparables to determine the value of the item and how those comparables relate to the final value conclusions.   If you can include all of this information in your appraisal then the certification process should be quick and smooth.  

My last recommendation is to complete the reports and then put them aside.  Don’t look at them for a few days.  When you pick them up again to review the content it should be fresh so that any errors will jump out from the page.  Proofreading your document is one of the most important things an appraiser can do.  Errors in spelling and punctuation can encourage the client to question your professional capabilities, even if you have identified and valued the item correctly in your appraisal report.

Finally I want all the ISA members to know that the Membership and Designation and Review Committees are here to serve the members of ISA.   We will do everything we can to make this an easy process.  I am always available to answer your questions or provide you with assistance on a submission for certification.  I can be reached by phone at 203-438-9228 or email at    Now is a good time to submit your reports.  I look forward to hearing from all of you.

Kathy Yellen, ISA CAPP
Chair Designation and Review Committee

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fall Education and Course Attendees

October is a busy month of educational opportunities for ISA, with six courses being held in Naperville, IL.  We are pleased to announce and congratulate the attendees of two of these courses, the Antiques and Residential Contents (ARC) course as well as the Core Course in Appraisal Studies.

The newly revised Antiques & Residential Contents course was held October 1-6 and had record attendance.  Course participants included the following, with many earning their ISA AM designation with their completion of this course:

Following the ARC course was the Core Course in Appraisal Studies from October 8-14.  Attendees of this course have taken a very important initial step toward furthering their appraisal careers.  These individuals include:

Please join ISA in congratulating our recent course attendees.  Check back with ISA NOW later this month for more on our remaining courses and their attendees.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I know the following is not totally appraiser/appraisal related, but it does point out that sometimes an appraiser has to put aside business and personal feelings and just help the client.  This was one of those times.

When I arrived at my client’s condo, she stated that she wanted me to help her dispose of her quilts.  She did not think her children wanted any of them and was sad about that.  As we talked, I learned that her family homesteaded in the Omak-Okanogan area near the Canadian border of eastern Washington.  She thought that the quilts were made by her grandmother Ellie, and her aunts.  The client was not sure about this, as none of the quilts were marked with initials, name or a date.  She did not want to sell the quilts unless she sold to someone who loved quilts and would care for them.  The client had photographs of the quilts that were good and showed professional attention to detail.  She had grandchildren that were young and liked the quilts but did not appreciate the history of the quilts.  The quilts were in good condition, and most were made in the early 1920’s.  One was a whitework quilt that had outstanding workmanship and design sense.  It also had an inset border of hand-made lace about one inch wide placed on all four sides of the quilt.  A knock out!

I asked about the time frame for moving the quilts out of her possession.  She replied that she felt pressured because she was rapidly going blind.  The condition is an unusual, but not rare, a disorder of cone-rod dystrophy.  It started about 10 years ago and has become progressively worse.  She has reached a stage where one eye has almost no peripheral vision.  She does as much as she is able to do and planned to go over to Seattle to see her grandchildren and children.  My obvious question was, “How will you get there?  Do you have a driver?”  She replied, “Oh no, I can walk.  I take the intercity bus to Monroe.  The driver knows me well.  My children pick me up and bring me back to Leavenworth”.

We talked a little more.  I suggested some alternatives, such as a local charity auction, American Quilt Study Group and others.  I knew that any buyer from AQSG would care for and appreciate the quilts.  I also suggested that I try to find a dealer that would buy the quilts or take them on consignment.  We discussed several options.  Basically, she really wanted her family to have the quilts.  I suggested she take the photos she had of the quilts with her to Seattle and talk about the quilts with her family.  She will contact me when she returns, hopefully with a solution.

Her directness and making plans for her property were an inspiration.  This 60+ year old woman is courageous and an example of true grit.  Must be that pioneer spirit coming through.

Sally Ambrose, ISA CAPP

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Welcome to ISA

ISA would like to introduce, 26 new membership applicants for this quarter.  Please join us in welcoming these applicants to the Society.

Lydia Abbott – Toronto, ON
Christopher Arbutine – Largo, FL
Anthony Bradfield – Houston, TX
Peggy Calhoun – San Antonio, TX
Belinda Chun – Toronto, ON
Jeremy Crickenberger – Rockport, TX
Donald Cummings – Tulsa, OK
Rochelle Dugan – West Palm Beach, FL
Stephen Frazier – Ashland, OR
Denise Gerson – Coconut Grove, FL
Jane Karotkin – Austin, TX
Michele Kelley – Monmouth Beach, NJ
Brianna McGettigan – Hatboro, PA
Lynette Michel – Mercer Island, WA
Rachel Monckton – Toronto, ON
August Monteleone – Cicero, IL
Paula Necula – Vaterstetten, BY
John Paynter – Winchester, KY
Dena Rigby – Seattle, WA
Kevin Segall – Los Angeles, CA
Catherine Solomon – Austin, TX
Peter Spooner – Duluth, MN
Lauren Stump – Orlando, FL
Michelle (Shel) Trost – McHenry, IL
Roseanne Ullman – Lewis Center, OH
Alicia Weaver – Lakewood, CO

Congratulations on taking this important step in furthering your professional career and welcome to ISA!

If you would like to recommend someone for membership, please forward their contact information to Sara Porter: