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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

2014 ISA Education Round-Up and Dec. 15 Webinar

From a webinar on writing Broad Evidence Report appraisals to an on-site course on oriental rugs, ISA 2014 education covered the spectrum for personal property appraisers looking to advance their career. With over 511 students participating in ISA’s online or on-site courses in 2014 (an increase of 35% over 2013), we’re seeing how expanding our course offerings and adapting our course formats have made it easier than ever to progress in the personal property appraisal profession. 

Here’s a look at the 2014 numbers:
  • Total Number of Students (both online and on-site): 511 
  • Total Number of Distance Education Students: 23
  • Total Number of Online Core Course Students: 68
  • ISA Members going through CAPP Process: 19
  • Newest Members Who Earned CAPP Designation in 2014:
    • Laura Wallace, ISA CAPP
    •  Perri Guthrie, ISA CAPP
    • Ruthie Winston, ISA CAPP
    • Meredith Meuwly, ISA CAPP
    • Miller Gaffney, ISA CAPP
  • Members Going Through the AM Process: 24
  • Members Who Earned AM Designation in 2014: 22
Looking to advance your career in 2015? View the upcoming ISA course schedule.

But before we close out 2014, ISA has a special educational opportunity for you…

Reclaiming a Masterpiece: Recreating the Original Frame for Washington Crossing the Delaware
Date: Dec. 15
Time: 12:00pm (noon) CST
Price: $50
Register Now

“Reclaiming a Masterpiece: Recreating the Original Frame for Washington Crossing the Delaware” is the first in a series of collaborative continuing education programs in development with our industry allies. Eli Wilner & Company have constructed this webinar specifically for ISA members. In keeping with ISA's unique educational approach, this webinar will marry scholarship to appraisal methodology, and values will be specifically covered.

Eli Wilner & Company is known today as the foremost American authority on period framing, and will be represented in this webinar by frame historian, Suzanne E. Smeaton. Founded by Eli Wilner in 1983, the gallery specializes in European and American frames from the 15th century to the present. Suzanne Smeaton is a pioneer of period frame study and scholarship through her more than 27 years with Eli Wilner & Company. She has worked extensively in the field of American period frames, written articles for publications such as The Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Magazine Antiques, Picture Framing Magazine and American Art, and has curated numerous museum frame exhibitions both individually and in concert with curators at many museums.

The webinar will discuss frame values by focusing on one of the company's largest and most recent projects, the stunning hand-carved and gilded replica of the lost original frame for Washington Crossing the Delaware at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Issues that impact on value such as restoration and rarity will be included. Members will have the opportunity to engage Suzanne in Q&A following the live presentation. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

ISA's Mentor Program

Karen S. Rabe, ISA CAPP
It has been over a year since ISA initiated our mentor program. This program enables our newest members and any member who is struggling through the CAPP process to reach out to an assigned, seasoned member for help.

ISA has close to 800 members. The word is out and we are growing. We have added 99 new members as of November. If you are one of those new members and are struggling to move through the accreditation process in ISA, please be aware that we are here to help you. Your assigned mentor can give you insight on their experience in dealing with questions you may have. Mentees are expected to initiate the communication with mentors they are assigned, as well as maintain the relationship for the length of time they wish. Both parties should make themselves available in a timely manner through a mutually agreed on method of communication. If you no longer require your mentor, please contact them and ISA HQ to let them know so we can reassign the mentor to a new individual.

Only appraisal-related questions should be asked. Here are some examples of questions which were asked of our mentors since inception of the program.

1.    How do I find comparable sales for a unique item?
2.    How do I deal with a difficult client?
3.    How do I market my appraisal business?
4.    How do I deal with a client who ignores my invoices and phone calls concerning them?

Being credentialed by ISA and having a CAPP can significantly boost your appraisal business. Let us help you achieve this goal. The IRS recommends using an appraiser who “has earned an appraisal designation from a recognized professional appraiser organization for demonstrated competency in valuing the type of property being appraised.” This is stated in Publication 561, page 10. ISA is one of these organizations. Consequently, tax advisors, attorneys, trust officers and clients are actively seeking only “qualified” appraisers.

We currently have 105 certified members. We are asking all willing certified members to become mentors to a CAPP candidate. This is a short term, fulfilling commitment. CAPP mentors can review reports prior to submission and point out errors, which if not found, would result in resubmission. We want you to succeed!

Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP, summed up her experience as a mentor very well. “I found participating in the mentoring program extremely rewarding. Not only was I able to share knowledge I'd gained through the years from other senior and very generous appraisers, but I felt like I made a new friend and colleague through the process. I will definitely continue to participate in the program.”

I have personally helped many new members over the years and it has always been a very rewarding experience for me as well. Become a mentor or mentee by contacting our new ISA Membership Coordinator, Michelle VanAlstyne, at (312) 265-3750 or

Thank you to all who are currently volunteering to make this program successful. If you have any questions feel free to contact me by email or phone.


Karen S. Rabe, ISA CAPP

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Ask Leon: What is correct in determining fair market value?

ISA members are invited to send in their questions on all things appraising and education to Leon Castner, ISA CAPP. Leon will share his answers on the ISA Now Blog. Please send questions to

Question: The past three reports graded for D&R all used solely auction results for determining fair market value. The existence of a valid retail market was totally ignored. What is the current teaching of the concept in the core course?

Answer: The IRS definition of fair market value for an estate (Section 20.2031-1(b) adds the clarification that the determination should not be based on forced sales, markets other than that which such items are most commonly sold to the public, and takes into consideration the location of the item when appropriate. If items are most commonly sold to the public at auction then that would be the appropriate market. Many items, however, are sold in various markets. It is the appraiser’s responsibility to select the correct market and substantiate the value. Auctions are often used not because they are the most common market but because they are easy to locate and have published transactions. A dependence solely on auction sales is not correct. Where the most common market is retail every effort should be made to use those sales in the final determination. This is probably more likely in the fields of art and/or jewelry/gemstones than in normal used furniture and decorative art. Be aware that the IRS has written that even sales resulting from classified ads are acceptable.