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Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Holidays

Due to the upcoming Holidays, the ISA office will be closed on the following dates:

Monday, December 24, 2012
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Monday, December 31, 2012
Tuesday, January 1, 2013

As a result of holiday office closures, we will not be posting on the blog until Tuesday, January 8th.

Warm wishes for the happiest of holidays and a prosperous new year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Are You Interested in Being a Guest Blogger?

Have you had an interesting or unique appraisal experience that you want to share with the readers of ISA Now?  To share your experience, just send it to ISA and we will post it.  Did you learn something interesting or new on a recent appraisal? Have you come across something unique or rare?  All of these experiences make for a great blog post.  Contact Tom Radde at, to submit your story or experience for the ISA Now blog.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Announcing the 2013 ISA Board of Directors

Each year, three board members retire and three new board members are seated. This year, because a current Board Member was re-elected for another term, only two Board Members retired from their service to ISA.  We would like to recognize the hard work and dedication of the two outgoing board members, both of whom played a significant role in the growth and direction of the ISA: Terri Ellis, ISA CAPP and Steve Roach, ISA AM. During the annual October Board Meeting in Chicago, the newly elected Board Members were seated and we said good-bye to the two outgoing Board Members.

Please join us in welcoming our newest board members, who are beginning their 3-year terms:

Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP
Libby Holloway, ISA CAPP (re-elected)
Karen Rabe, ISA CAPP

At the close of the meeting, the election of new officers took place. Congratulations to the following:

Todd Sigety, ISA CAPP (second year of 2-year term)

Vice President:    
Cindy Charleston-Rosenberg, ISA CAPP (1-year Term)

Sally Ambrose, ISA CAPP (1-year Term)

Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP (1-year Term)

Continuing their terms are returning board members:  Aloysia “Nini” Hamalainen, ISA CAPP, Judith Martin, ISA CAPP, and Selma Paul, ISA CAPP.

The Board of Directors continues to work hard on your behalf to ensure that ISA remains the leading international organization for personal property appraisers!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dangers in Appraising

Appraising personal property is not fraught with danger like coal mining or sky diving, but it does present some unusual circumstances that are often ripe with potential hazards like sickness, physical injury, and unwanted stress.

For example, many appraisers are called into houses after damaged by fire or flood to estimate replacement or salvage costs for insurance.  The exposure to black mold, toxic fumes, and/or unsafe footing is very real.  The use of protective clothing, face masks, and breathing apparatus often isn’t available or doesn’t work.  Some appraisers report long term allergies or auto immune disorders.  Others deal with minor scrapes, cuts, and wet or dirty clothing.  (I’ve had more than my fair share of ruined clothes and shoes.)

Even everyday “normal” appointments in the best of neighborhoods can bear unwanted fruit—everything from bed bugs to hairy cats or dogs.  (Always check your attaché cases when you arrive back at the office.  You may be carrying guests!)  Speaking of cats and dogs—they’re not all lovable creatures that sit quietly on the floor and look up at you with big, loveable eyes as you inventory the domiciles of their owners.

Not all smells are pleasant either.  Smoke filled rooms to those unaccustomed can be real eye burners.  In fact I’ve been forced to strip (in my own house) after returning home from an assignment where the chain smoker loved to blow smoke in my direction.  (Their home is their castle.)  I think it’s done out of spite!  Other smells can be far worse, particularly where death has been incurred.  (I won’t even tell you how horrendous it can be, even though it has been seared in my sense memory forever.)

Often we are not the welcomed party seeking to assist the needy client in solving a minor problem.  We may be seen as the undesired but necessary “evil” inspector and valuator, part of a larger and more devious plot, like in a divorce settlement that has obvious opposing spheres.  Or we may be a reminder of an unpleasant experience like the passing of a loved one, the horrendous event of a calamity, or the need to raise money in a bankruptcy or for unforeseen expenses.

The personal property appraiser’s lot is not always congenial.  Hazards may be present and overwhelming.  They may be physical, mental, or logistic.  Many things are avoidable, but others are not. When all is said and done, however, I would much rather have done this for a living than almost anything else.

For the rest of the story…go to the November ISA Education Newsletter

Leon Castner, ISA CAPP
Director of Education