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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

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